From October 2016 to March 2017 the team is joined by Guest Kats Rosie Burbidge and Eibhlin Vardy, and by InternKats Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo, Tian Lu and Hayleigh Bosher.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

500 and counting: websites blocked by order of UK courts

People write about court orders that require internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to websites that contain or offer unlawful content; they praise them, they criticise the presence or absence of safeguards -- depending on their political preferences -- and they read the small print in the hope of finding loop-holes or inspiration. Not many people count them though. This is where our good friend, former guest Kat Darren Meale, comes in.  Darren, who currently sits as a Deputy District Judge and holds the title of Managing Associate with law firm Simmons & Simmons, has blown the dust of his abacus and actually totted up how many websites British browers aren't supposed to be able to reach any more.  This is what he writes:
Access blocked! 500 sites so far-- and more if you count all the mirrors and proxies
This note about blocking injunctions provides at the end what I hope is a very helpful link for those of you interested in this subject. I used to be able to count the number of websites blocked by UK ISPs by order of the High Court on one hand, but I couldn’t do that with all my digits nowadays unless I was an Illacme plenipes (warning, link contains bugs). 
By my count there have now been at least 121 websites blocked by ISPs in the UK as a result of s.97A of the Copyright, Designs and PatentsAct 1988 and s.37(1) of the Senior Courts Act 1981. The blocks cover BitTorrent trackers; streaming sites; websites selling counterfeit products; and Popcorn Time sites. Music, film, sports matches, luxury goods and eBooks are protected. The burden on the ISPs is ever growing. 
A complete list of the blocks, and the judgments and orders which granted them, is hard to find. The UK ISP Court Orders website, registered to internet service provider BT, has a good list. There are also lists on the websites of BT's competitors Sky and Virgin Media. I could not find one for EE.  TalkTalk, however, has what appears to be the most comprehensive. 
In addition to blocking the main sites which have been the subject of blocking injunction applications, ISPs are also required to block mirror and proxy versions of the sites, as and when they arise and are notified by rights holders. TalkTalk’s list, which includes at least some of these sites as well, has 500 different sites listed. For ebookee.net, one of the first eBook websites to be blocked, TalkTalk lists at least 13 domains, including ebookee.net.prx.proxyunblocker.org, ebookee.net.prx.proxywebsite.co.uk, ebookee.net.prx.torrentunblock.com, and ebookee.net.prx2.unblocksit.es.
The ultimate block?
As might be expected, all of these lists are consumer-, not lawyer-focused, so I have created my own more legal-friendly list, with links to all of the freely available law reports and a few words of commentary on each. You can access it here, on the Simmons & Simmons’ elexica website – and I will endeavour to keep it up to date as the jurisdiction continues to rise. 
Thanks, Darren, says this Kat. It's very public-spirited of you to do this.  Readers, please feel free to contact Darren if you find any blocked sites that aren't on his master list. Just email him here. Oh, and if you find that some of these sites have somehow become unblocked, you may as well tell him too. There might just be a spot of contempt of court for someone to be worrying about ...

5 comments:

Stravinsky said...

I find that the www.TorrentFreak.com website is very useful in providing updates on the list of blocked sites - there could be more addresses on there as well.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it obvious that this whole process should be streamlined, with the ISPs being responsible for the entire costs of maintaining the system and complying with requests? IP owners should be able to file a simple form with a central ISP system and have sites blocked within 24 hours. The site owners can then challenge that block, and sue the originator for substantial damages if the claim turns out to be false.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 10:46,

Guilty until proven innocent, eh?

Thanks but no thanks.

Charles said...

A small sample from the TalkTalk list showed all 12 I tried not to be blocked by my ISP (and I was not using a VPN, proxy, etc). Anybody like a screenshot of the IPTorrents site?

Mr Shine said...

@Charles

Yes, the site i was using to watch films has just been blocked...

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