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    Canada Proposes New Regime to Block and Deindex Pirate Sites / TorrentFreak · Thursday, 15 April, 2021 - 09:41 · 3 minutes

canada flag The Canadian Government is exploring if and how current copyright law should be amended to better fit the present landscape.

To this end, Canada’s Innovation, Science and Economic Development department launched a consultation asking for feedback on a wide range of proposals.

The ultimate goal is to deter piracy by helping copyright holders better protect their content. At the same time, the Government wants to safeguard the rights and freedoms of individual citizens.

This isn’t a new topic in Canada where there have been similar consultations in the past. Just two years ago, this resulted in a thorough review of the Copyright Act , which advised against implementing a broad site-blocking scheme.

Today, however, the site-blocking proposal is again being considered, albeit in a different form.

New Plan to Block and Deindex Pirate Sites

The proposal notes that any new blocking legislation would be primarily focused on commercial-scale infringement. It shouldn’t target individuals directly, although they ultimately are the ones whose access is blocked.

The general idea would be to change the law to ‘expressly’ allow courts to require ISPs to block sites and services. Similarly, courts should also be able to order search engines such as Google to remove these pirate sources from search results.

These orders can be issued without assuming any liability on the part of Internet providers or search engines, who can keep their roles as neutral service providers.

“The Act could be amended to provide expressly for injunctions against intermediaries to prevent or stop online copyright infringement facilitated by their services even where they are not themselves liable for it, such as where they may be protected by the safe harbors,” the proposal reads.

The Government adds that these injunctions should be issued by courts that are expected to guarantee the highest standards of procedural fairness.

Staydown and Termination Injunctions

In addition to site-blocking and search engine de-indexing, courts should also be able to order online service providers to prevent infringing content from being re-uploaded, or to suspend or terminate access to infringing customers.

Cementing these options into law is warranted, according to the Government, as courts have already issued site blocking and de-indexing injunctions in the past. This includes the GoldTV case, which is currently being appealed by Internet provider TekSavvy .

This begs the question; if these injunctions are already an option under current law, why would anything need to change?

Fewer Court Cases?

According to the proposal, clearer legal guidelines could help to bring copyright holders and intermediaries together, which may ultimately lead to fewer court cases.

“This legislative scheme could moreover deter litigation by encouraging intermediaries, rights holders and others to work together to establish a suitable framework for dealing with alleged infringements facilitated by the intermediaries’ services,” the proposal reads.

This indirectly suggests that the Government hopes that the end result will be more voluntary agreements. While some ISPs may be open to the idea of blocking pirate sites without a court order, we doubt that all are.

What About the Copyright Act Review?

To some people, it may come as a surprise that the Government is proposing a site-blocking scheme now as an earlier review of the Copyright Act dismissed this idea . However, the wording of the proposal appears to be carefully crafted to fit the outcome of the earlier review.

For example, the review dismissed the idea of a “non-judicial” site-blocking scheme or “narrowing the safe harbor” of online service providers. Instead, it argued that new legislation should be focused on “commercial-scale infringers.”

The new proposal suggests a “judicial” site-blocking scheme that keeps safe harbors intact and is primarily aimed at commercial-scale infringers. This ticks all the right boxes, although that will undoubtedly be contested.

A full overview of all the proposals, which also includes new measures against repeat infringers and plans for compulsory licensing agreements, is available on the public consultation page published by the Innovation, Science and Economic Development department.

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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    Philippines Government & ISPs Reach Agreement to Rapidly Block Pirate Sites / TorrentFreak · Wednesday, 14 April, 2021 - 09:25 · 4 minutes

block Alongside various initiatives to discourage Internet users from visiting pirate sites, including improved legitimate offerings, governments, rights holders and service providers are pressing ahead with their site blocking plans.

Broadly speaking, site blocking takes place under two regimes – court-ordered injunctions and voluntary arrangements between stakeholders. The former can prove effective but there are considerable costs involved and blocking doesn’t always happen as swiftly as rightsholders would like. Voluntary arrangements, on the other hand, are less formal and have the advantage of being less adversarial, not to mention less expensive.

Philippines’ Authorities and ISPs Reach Agreement

In common with most regions of the world, the Philippines has a problem with piracy but a new agreement announced this morning hopes to reduce the number of citizens being able to directly access pirate sites for their fix.

A joint announcement by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines ( IPOPHL ), the National Telecommunications Commission ( NTC ) and the country’s internet service providers reveals that a voluntary agreement has been reached to block pirate sites in a streamlined and swift manner.

The proposal was tabled last week by IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba during a focus group discussion attended by around 50 representatives from government agencies and ISPs, including Globe Telecom, Inc., Smart Communications, Inc., PLDT, Inc., Sky Cable Corp., Converge ICT Solutions Inc., and DITO Telecommunity Corp.

How the System Will Work

Via a memorandum of understanding, the parties have agreed to form an alliance that will define coordination protocols that will enable pirate sites to be quickly blocked following an official complaint of infringing activity. The system will work as follows:

In the first instance, rightsholders will present a complaint to IPOPHL which will work to assess the evidence and the need for action.

“The duration of IPOPHL’s investigations will depend on the merits of the case and evidence submitted, but we always ensure a speedy and thoroughly validated decision,” says IPOPHL’s IP Rights Enforcement Office (IEO) Officer-in-Charge Director Ann N. Edillon.

Edillon says that the complaints validation process is a “fine-toothed comb” that aims to ensure that all evidence points to infringing activity before a blocking order is handed down. The requirements for blocking are yet to be published so at this stage the relevant thresholds are unclear.

When IPOPHL is satisfied that blocking is warranted it will hand down an order to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), the government body responsible for the supervision and control of all telecoms services, television and radio networks in the country, including ISPs.

Once received and validated by NTC, the blocking order will be distributed among the participating ISPs listed above, which will then go about the practicalities of blocking. At this point, the ISPs believe that blocking can be put in place within two hours but according to the government, further streamlining is not out of the question.

Reducing the Steps Before Blocking

The validation process carried out by NTC after receiving a blocking order from IPOPHL can reportedly take a few days, a delay that rightsholders would like to reduce.

The government says that some of the ISPs are willing to cut out the ‘middle man’ and take their blocking orders directly from IPOPHL. Others, on the other hand, say that this would require a new law that would formalize IPOPHL’s authority to directly block pirate sites, without the involvement of NTC. Another scenario would see IPOPHL hand down a blocking order to NTC, which would immediately forward it to ISPs.

IPOPHL Signs MoU With Anti-Piracy Group AVIA

Earlier this week the IPOPHL announced the signing a memorandum of understanding with the Asia Video Industry Association ( AVIA ), an anti-piracy group responsible for protecting the interests of video and TV rightsholders in the region.

The MoU envisions cooperation on several fronts including the sharing of information to help prevent and reduce piracy in the Philippines, the development of piracy monitoring and site-blocking processes and their implementation, and assisting local authorities to build their anti-piracy expertise.

“I eagerly look forward to the work with AVIA in the months ahead,” said IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba during a virtual signing ceremony.

“Together, may IPOPHL and AVIA successfully stamp out the infringers and enable Filipino film and video producers, artists and contributors to wholly enjoy the rewards they deserve and to continue creating fresh original works for the benefit of society, culture and economy.”

AVIA CEO Louis Boswell said that piracy is on the increase in the region and since hosts of pirated content are often outside the country, site blocking is the obvious solution.

“Site blocking is a responsible means of not allowing access to pirated sites. We have experience now in multiple markets all around the region that site blocking, where it is done properly, can be incredibly effective at reducing the levels of piracy in a market,” Boswell said.

As part of the agreement, the IPOPHL has agreed to take action against pirates based on information provided by AVIA.

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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    Is Site-Blocking Reducing Piracy or Helping to Disperse it Elsewhere? / TorrentFreak · Saturday, 10 April, 2021 - 20:51 · 2 minutes

Page Blocked As one of the most popular anti-piracy tools, site-blocking attracts plenty of attention.

Originally a mechanism to prevent static torrent and streaming sites from reaching their audiences, site-blocking is now just as likely to encompass relatively nimble live TV and sports streaming platforms too.

Over the past several years, Danish anti-piracy group Rights Alliance has invested considerable resources into blocking all kinds of pirate sites, with interesting results.

Rights Alliance Annual Report Covering 2020

Last year, Rights Alliance revealed that in 2019 its work had resulted in 141 sites being blocked by the majority of ISPs in the country. Citing a MediaVision survey covering the same period, the anti-piracy group concluded that around 450,000 Danes were using illegal sites, between them chalking up around 146 million visits annually.

In its latest annual report made available this week, Rights Alliance (RA) reveals that it had 196 “illegal domains” blocked in 2020, up 55 on the previous year. The focus was on “mirror sites”, i.e sites that look identical to their previously blocked counterparts while attempting to circumvent blocking with automated redirection systems and new domain names.

RA says that mirrors have a “volatile nature” in that they have a shorter lifespan, are harder to find, and thus require special handling when it comes to blocking. In part, however, this can be dealt with via court-ordered dynamic blocking injunctions which are currently in place covering a wide range of content including movies, music, TV series, literature and live sports.

Pirate Visits Static But Pirate Users Down?

Overall, RA observed a decrease in ‘pirate’ site users last year, down from 450,000 in 2019 to around 370,000 users in 2020. Interestingly, however, the overall number of visits to pirate sites in 2020 remained stable at around 12 million visits per month, i.e very little change when compared to the 146 million reported overall in 2019.

RA believes that the decrease in identified users can be in part attributed to blocking but concedes that VPNs and third-party DNS services play a part, as does migration to other platforms where piracy is less easily monitored.

Using Legal Platforms to Consume Pirate Content

“Unfortunately, the decline in the number of users is probably also due to the fact that the users have moved to other platforms where consumption cannot be immediately measured in the data sets of MediaVision and SimilarWeb,” RA writes.

“A new challenge that has become clearer in recent years is the increasing decentralization of illegal content to legal services, such as YouTube and Facebook. Here it is not possible to measure illegal consumption and the users are not necessarily aware that they are consuming illegal content, as the service itself is legal.”

Rights Alliance and its rightsholder partners are not defenseless in this scenario, since legal ‘UGC’ platforms are more likely to respond to takedown requests than pirate sites. Additionally, both YouTube and Facebook have their own suites of anti-piracy tools and will be required to respond to important aspects of the new EU Copyright Directive. Rights Alliance says it has this under control.

“In 2020, we have therefore intensified the work with the platforms’ responsibility for copyright infringement – i.e through dialogue with the platforms and in the work of implementing Article 17 of the EU Copyright Directive in Danish law,” RA notes.

The Rights Alliance Annual Report 2020 can be found here (Danish, pdf)

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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    Sci-Hub: Elsevier and Springer Nature Obtain UK ISP Blocking Order / TorrentFreak · Thursday, 18 February, 2021 - 07:43 · 3 minutes

Sci-Hub Despite being branded ‘The Pirate Bay of Science’ for offering free access to millions of otherwise paywalled research papers, Sci-Hub is somewhat of an outlier in the piracy scene.

While sites like The Pirate Bay receive almost universal condemnation outside of piracy circles, Sci-Hub regularly receives praise from academics. Since the ultimate goal is to further knowledge and education, including among those who can least afford it, Sci-Hub is often considered to be doing valuable work.

Courts, on the other hand, have yet to rule in the site’s favor so publishers including Elsevier, Springer Nature and Wiley have been pursuing relentless legal action against Sci-Hub and founder Alexandra Elbakyan in an effort to bring the platform to its knees.

Site-Blocking Emerges As Major Strategy

Pioneered by the music and movies industries, site-blocking is seen by copyright holders as an effective tool to reduce traffic to pirate platforms of all types, Sci-Hub included.

The practice commonly involves heading off to a local court in an effort to persuade a judge that Sci-Hub’s behavior represents a breach of copyright law. When a consensus is reached, the court issues an injunction compelling local ISPs to block various domains and/or IP addresses so that subscribers cannot reach them by regular means.

Several publishers have been involved in numerous similar actions against Sci-Hub in a number of countries ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ), usually with quite a lot of fanfare before injunctions are handed down. However, it appears that another process in the UK has been flying under the radar.

UK ISP TalkTalk Quietly Announces New Injunction

TorrentFreak routinely monitors for new site-blocking activity in numerous countries but we were surprised to learn yesterday that Elsevier and Springer Nature have apparently teamed up to obtain an injunction in the UK, something that we believe is yet to become public knowledge.

At this stage, the news isn’t supported by lots of supporting detail but we have learned that UK ISP TalkTalk intends to block (or is perhaps already blocking) access to the Sci-Hub domain ‘’. Additional information indicates that this was the result of an injunction handed down by a UK court on February 15, 2021.

Three Most Recent UK Blocking Orders as Per TalkTalk TalkTalk Sci-Hub

The name of the court is not provided but if the pattern established over the past decade is maintained, the order will have been handed down by a judge at the High Court in London.

TorrentFreak contacted TalkTalk’s press office during Wednesday for additional information but, at the time of writing, we have yet to receive a response. Records on the UK’s BAILII system do not reveal a judgment either, so we are expecting that in due course.

TalkTalk Will Not Be The Only ISP Targeted

At the time of writing, TalkTalk’s rival ISPs including Virgin Media, BT, Sky, EE and O2 are not reporting the existence of a blocking order but it seems extremely unlikely that they won’t be required to act against Sci-Hub under the same order.

Again, the exact details of the injunction are not yet publicly available but if a similar format is maintained by the High Court, it seems probable that all of Sci-Hub’s current domains will be subjected to blocking, not just the one listed by TalkTalk.

Indeed, if the trend of so-called ‘dynamic injunctions’ is maintained in this case, any new domains deployed by Sci-Hub in an attempt to circumvent blocking will be targeted too.

When we have access to the full decision we’ll report the specifics in detail but in the meantime, Sci-Hub has its hands full elsewhere too.

Publishers Elsevier, Wiley, and American Chemical Society are currently trying to have Sci-Hub blocked by ISPs in India. In that matter, the judge has agreed to accept interventions from interested parties who believe that any blocking of Sci-Hub would not be in the public interest.

Finally, Sci-Hub was banned from Twitter last month, something Alexandra Elbakyan believes was related to the widespread support the site received from Indian users, including scientists. Twitter informed TorrentFreak that Sci-Hub’s account was suspended for violating the counterfeit policy and it had nothing else to add.

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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    Major Labels Ask UK High Court to Block Stream-Ripping Sites / TorrentFreak · Friday, 5 February, 2021 - 09:27 · 3 minutes

cassette tape After years of battling peer-to-peer sharing carried out on networks including BitTorrent, the major record labels now view stream-ripping as the major piracy threat.

Broadly speaking, stream-ripping is carried out in two ways – either by using tools such as youtube-dl (which allow users to rip content from YouTube directly to their machines) or via dedicated websites that simplify the process. Some of these sites have become extremely popular, attracting the attention of the labels on the way.

Application For Injunction – Stream-Ripping

For well over a decade, entertainment industry companies have appeared in the High Court of England and Wales demanding that the UK’s leading ISPs block access to torrent and streaming sites. If the major record labels have their way, the same will soon apply to stream-ripping sites too.

This week a group of record labels under the umbrella of the British Recorded Music Industry Ltd (BPI) and Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) appeared at the High Court demanding that six major Internet service providers (including BT, Virgin, Sky, TalkTalk, EE and Plusnet) should block access to eight stream-ripping sites.

“On 3 February 2021, the High Court in London held an online hearing for a new set of website blocking cases, brought by the BPI to help reduce music piracy in the UK,” BPI General Counsel, Kiaron Whitehead informs TorrentFreak.

“The judge, Mr Justice Miles, has reserved his judgment and so we await receiving his ruling, and his written reasons for it, in due course.”

As the Judge is yet to render his decision, the BPI doesn’t want to go into too much detail at this legally sensitive stage, including by naming the plaintiffs and the sites being targeted. Nevertheless, we have been able to independently confirm some of the action’s key details.

According to the labels – which include Warner, Sony, and Capitol Records –,,,,,, and are sites that help users to rip music from sites like YouTube, in breach of the labels’ copyrights.

2conv and are already being sued by major labels in the United States and H2Converter has appeared on the EU’s ‘Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List’.

Notably, several of the targeted ripping sites are already blocked by ISPs in Australia following successful legal action by Sony, Universal, and Warner, with assistance from Music Rights Australia and the Australasian Performing Right Association.

Stream-Rippers ‘Authorize’ Users’ Piracy

TorrentFreak understands that this week’s application was made under Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 . This allows the High Court to grant an injunction against a service provider, where that service provider has actual knowledge of another person using their service to infringe copyright.

The labels told the Court that since content uploaded to YouTube is generally licensed to be streamed via the site, people who download the labels’ tracks to their machines are making unlicensed (pirated) copies.

By extension, the labels argued that since the stream-ripping platforms authorize and facilitate the creation of those pirate copies contrary to the Copyright Act, they too can be held liable for users’ infringement.

While these arguments will be assessed on their merits in respect of the labels’ copyrights, the sites in question appear to be general tools that can be used to download content to which none of the labels hold the copyrights. Whether this aspect will be investigated by the Judge remains to be seen. It certainly didn’t prevent the sites from being blocked in Australia.

What we do know is that opposition won’t arrive in the form of objections by the ISPs. The service providers say they won’t oppose the application but do want to provide input should Justice Miles grant the application, presumably so they can protect their interests at the blocking stage.

Second Application For Injunction – Cyberlocker

In a second application for injunction reported by Law360 , the labels want the same ISPs to block access to cyberlocker site

Record company lawyer Edmund Cullen of Maitland Chambers told the Court that Nitroflare could potentially claim safe harbor under the UK’s electronic commerce regulations but in this case, protection from liability isn’t available.

“This is not a provision designed or available to a service like Nitroflare which is essentially structured for infringement and it can’t be a protection for pirates,” Cullen said, alleging that Nitroflare encourages its users to store and share copyrighted content.

At this stage it is not known when Justice Miles will render his decision.

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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    Dutch ISPs Must Block Pirate Bay Proxies and Mirrors Again, Court Rules / TorrentFreak · Thursday, 15 October, 2020 - 18:15 · 3 minutes

pirate bay Following court orders and site blocking regimes worldwide, The Pirate Bay is blocked in dozens of countries.

This is also the case in the Netherlands where the legal process took more than a decade to conclude.

In 2010, Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN first went to court demanding that local ISP Ziggo should block The Pirate Bay. The ISP, which was later joined by XS4ALL, fought tooth and nail and used all options at its disposal to prevent a blocking requirement.

After multiple rulings, appeals, and detours through the Supreme Court and the EU Court of Justice, the Amsterdam Court issued its final verdict this June. The outcome was clear – the ISPs must block subscribers from accessing The Pirate Bay .

While many people assumed that this would end the legal battle once and for all, it didn’t. Soon after the verdict was made public, Ziggo, KPN and XS4All unblocked all Pirate Bay proxies .

These proxies had been blocked for years as part of a preliminary ruling that also required the providers to block The Pirate Bay. However, the final verdict superseded that ruling and, unlike the preliminary injunction, didn’t cover proxies and mirrors.

BREIN initially hoped that the companies would call an end to the fight by simply blocking these additional domains voluntarily. Especially since a separate court order already requires other Dutch ISPs to do the same. However, Ziggo, KPN and XS4All dug their heels in.

The ISPs decided to unblock all Pirate Bay mirrors and proxies and argued that BREIN had to go to court again if they wanted these to be re-blocked. This is exactly what the anti-piracy group – who described the ISPs’ actions as “downright silly” – did a few weeks ago.

In an interim proceeding, the ISPs argued that instead of going after them, BREIN should target the operators directly. Or alternatively, it could go after their domain registries or Cloudflare, which provides services to many of the sites in question.

In a new verdict announced last week, the court doesn’t deny that these intermediaries play a role, but it notes that the same arguments were already considered in a previous case and haven’t changed. As such, it doesn’t have an impact on the request directed at the ISPs.

The court concluded that the proxies and mirrors are directly copying The Pirate Bay. They communicate copyright infringing works to the public and a blockade is therefore warranted.

The ISPs also argued that blocking proxies and mirrors is ineffective. People can easily bypass the blockades with VPNs, for example. In addition, pirate streaming sites have outgrown torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay in recent years, which means that the effect of a blockade will be limited.

Again, the court doesn’t see how that changes things here. Torrent sites still remain widely used. And while site blocking may not be perfect, it has some effect.

“Although it can be assumed that streaming has increased and that the blocks can be avoided using VPNs, this does not mean that it should be assumed, in these interim relief proceedings, that the proposed blockades are ineffective or not effective enough,” the court notes.

“For the normal internet user it can be assumed that a blockade of mirror and proxy sites results in these sites no longer being accessible, or at least harder to access, which makes copyright infringement more difficult. This type of blocking is considered to be effective.”

The court kept European jurisprudence in mind, which holds that blockades have to make it harder to block pirated material but shouldn’t needlessly block legitimate content. While The Pirate Bay does have legitimate content, this is believed to be minimal.

Ziggo also brought up that the high costs of the blocking efforts, which were €62,280 between September 2017 and October 2018, outweigh the potential benefits, especially when these can rise even higher with future blocks. Again, the court disagreed.

All in all, the Lelystad Court ruled that Ziggo, KPN, and XS4ALl must block the TPB proxy and mirror sites. It granted a so-called dynamic blockade, which means that BREIN can frequently request updates to add new domain names if they become available.

The ISPs must implement the blocking measures within 10 days and risk a €10,000 fine for every violation of the order, to a maximum of €100,000. In addition, the companies also have to pay the costs of the proceeding, which are put at €15,000 for each provider.

A copy of the court order, courtesy of IE-forum , is available here (pdf)

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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    Italian Court Orders Cloudflare to Block a Pirate IPTV Service / TorrentFreak · Wednesday, 14 October, 2020 - 19:30 · 4 minutes

In recent years, many copyright holders have complained that Cloudflare does little to nothing to stop pirate sites from using its services.

The US-based company receives numerous DMCA notices but aside from forwarding these to the affected customers, it takes no action.

Cloudflare sees itself as a neutral intermediary that simply passes on bits. This approach is not welcomed by everyone and, as a result, the company has been placed on the EU piracy watchlist alongside familiar pirate sites such as The Pirate Bay, Seasonvar and Rapidgator.

Despite this callout, Cloudflare maintains its position. The company doesn’t want to intervene based on allegations from copyright holders and requests a court order to take action. These orders are very rare, but a few days ago the Court of Milan, Italy, set a precedent.

Sky and Serie A Sued Cloudflare

The case in question was filed by the TV platform Sky Italy and Lega Serie A , Italy’s top football league. The organizations requested a court order to stop various third-party intermediaries from providing access to “IPTV THE BEST”, a popular IPTV service targeted at an Italian audience.

Since the IPTV service is a Cloudflare customer the US-based CDN provider was also sued. The copyright holders demanded Cloudflare and several other companies including hosting provider OVH, and ISPs such as Vodafone, TIM, Fastweb, Wind and Tiscali, to stop working with the pirate service.

Last September, the Court of Milan sided with Sky and Serie A. It issued a preliminary injunction ordering the companies to stop working with the IPTV provider, regardless of the domain name or IP-address it uses.

Cloudflare objected to the claim. In its defense, the company pointed out that it isn’t hosting any infringing content. As a CDN, it simply caches content and relays traffic, nothing more. In addition, the Italian court would lack jurisdiction as well, the company argued.

Cloudflare’s Defense Falls Flat

Despite the fierce defense from Cloudflare, which extended the case by more than a year, the court didn’t change its position. In a recent order, it explained that it’s irrelevant whether a company hosts files or merely caches the content. In both cases, it helps to facilitate copyright-infringing activity.

This is an important decision because services like Cloudflare are hard to classify under EU law, which makes a general distinction between hosting providers and mere conduit services. The Italian court clarified that such classification is irrelevant in this matter.

“The ruling is unique in its kind because it expressly addresses the issue of the provision of information society services that are difficult to classify in the types outlined by the European eCommerce Directive,” attorney Alessandro La Rosa informs TorrentFreak.

Together with Mr. Bruno Ghirardi, his colleague at the law firm Studio Previti , La Rosa represented the football league in this matter. They worked in tandem with attorney Simona Lavagnini , who represented Sky Italy.

‘Unique and Important Ruling’

Lavagnini tells us that the ruling is important because it’s the first blocking order to be issued against a CDN provider in Italy.

“The order is important because, at least to my knowledge, it is the first issued against a CDN, in which the CDN was ordered to cease the activities carried out in relation to illegal services, also including those activities which cannot qualify as hosting activities,” she says.

“The recent order clearly says that the services of the CDN shall be inhibited because they help to allow third parties to carry out the illegal action which is the subject matter of the urgent proceeding, even if there is no data storage by the CDN,” Lavagnini adds.

TorrentFreak also reached out to Cloudflare for a comment but at the time of writing the company has yet to respond.

Cloudflare Blocking Becomes More Common

While the attorneys we spoke with highlight the uniqueness of the ruling, Cloudflare previously noted in its transparency report that it has already blocked 22 domain names in Italy following a court order. It’s not known what case the company was referring to there, but it affects 15 separate accounts.

The blocking actions will only affect Italians but in theory, they could expand. There are grounds to apply them across Europe or even worldwide, Lavagnini tells us, but that will likely require further clarification from the court.

This isn’t the first time that Cloudflare has been ordered to block a copyright-infringing site in Europe. Earlier this year a German court ordered the company to block access to DDL-Music , or face fines and a potential prison sentence.

In Italy, the CDN provider was also required to terminate the accounts of several pirate sites last year. However, in that case, Cloudflare was seen as a hosting provider due to its “Always Online” feature. Also, that court order didn’t mention geo-blocking or blocking in general.

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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    Pirate Sites Flourish as UK Site Blocking Efforts Die Down, For Now / TorrentFreak · Saturday, 10 October, 2020 - 09:23 · 3 minutes

uk Website blocking is without a doubt one of the favorite anti-piracy tools of the entertainment industries.

The UK has been a leader on this front. Since 2011, the High Court has ordered ISPs to block access to many popular pirate sites.

While official numbers are lacking, it’s believed that thousands of URLs are currently blocked, targeting sites such as The Pirate Bay, RARBG, Fmovies, NewAlbumReleases, and Team-Xecuter.

UK Site Blocking Set an Example

The UK approach has set an example for many other countries and has been used to argue in favor of site blocking measures in other regions including Australia and Canada. More recently, the UK example was highlighted in a US Senate hearing, with Hollywood’s MPA praising its effectiveness .

“Studies in the UK and Australia have shown that this can lead to statistically significant and meaningful increases in legal online consumption. In that respect, the injunctive remedy in the European Union, the UK, Australia, and elsewhere has been decidedly more effective than the endless cycle of DMCA notice sending,” MPA’s Stan McCoy said.

The comment was made to support a new push for ‘no-fault’ site-blocking injunctions in the US. The MPA speaks from personal experience here, as it was the driving force behind several UK court orders. That said, McCoy’s testimony leaves out some important context.

Pirate Sites Flourish

While the MPA is pushing site blocking in the US, the UK efforts have completely died down. The last blocking request from Hollywood studios dates back roughly years ago. Similarly, there hasn’t been any request from record labels since 2013.

As a result, new pirate sites, and those that haven’t been blocked, were able to grow their audiences without much trouble. And indeed, if we take a look at the 500 most visited sites in the UK, names including Magnetdl, Filmix, Lookmovie, Rutor, and 9anime show up.

For a site such as Magnetdl, roughly a quarter of all traffic comes from the UK, where the site isn’t blocked.

Why No New Requests?

This begs the question; if site blocking is so extremely effective in curbing piracy, why aren’t there any new requests? We reached out to the MPA’s EMEA office, which was kind enough to comment on the matter but didn’t offer any answers.

“The MPA EMEA is continuing with site blocking across Europe. Site blocking is a legitimate and effective way of halting the spread of online piracy. Piracy affects everyone involved in the creative process – from the songwriters to authors and the makeup artists, a spokesperson informed us

“Site blocking builds on years of work, and forms just one pillar of the MPA EMEA’s overall enforcement strategy. Online infringement is complex, and there is no single answer to addressing it.”

Costs Play a Role

Reading between the lines it appears that the MPA prefers to focus on other anti-piracy efforts, at least in the UK. This is likely the result of a cost-benefit analysis. Although it wouldn’t be hard to apply for new pirate site blockades, these anti-piracy measures come at a cost.

Previously, it was estimated that an unopposed application for a section 97A blocking order costs roughly £14,000 per site, while maintaining it costs an additional £3,600 per year. With hundreds of blocked sites, the costs are quite significant, to say the least.

BPI Will Request Stream Ripper Blocks in 2021

The music industry may have similar reasons. In recent years they have complained repeatedly about the copyright-infringing nature of YouTube rippers, but there haven’t been any attempts to have these sites blocked. That will change though.

We reached out to the UK music group BPI which says that it still sees site blocking as a valuable tool. The group hasn’t requested any new blocks in years but it will soon request blocks against stream rippers.

“There are a range of tools that we use to reduce stream ripping and music piracy in all its forms in the UK. We also expect others who are in positions of responsibility within the digital economy to do more.”

“Website blocking is an important and very effective part of our tool kit and is used in a proportionate way. BPI intends to seek the High Court’s judgment in relation to stream rippers in 2021,” a BPI spokesperson added.

While the movie and music industries have other priorities, site-blocking powers are not completely unused. In recent years various sports organizations, including UEFA and the Premier League, have repeatedly requested and renewed IP-address blocks of illegal IPTV services .

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.