First blocking orders issued in Greece ... but how effective are they?

Access blocked ... or not?
Fifteen months after the law introducing the Greek “Commission for the notification of online copyright and related rights infringement” was passed and eight months after the start of its operations, the Commission has finally issued its first blocking orders. Katfriend Yannos Paramythiotis (Paramythiotis & Partners Law Firm) explains what happened.

Here’s what Yannos writes:

The blocking order application was filed by EPOE, an organization for the collective protection of audiovisual works representing Greek film production and distribution companies Odeon, Seven, Feelgood Entairtainment, Tanweer Alliances and the Greek Film Centre. These entities are the licensees of rights in films produced Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Walt Disney Pictures, Universal and Sony Pictures for the Greek territory. EPOE requested the blocking of several torrent, streaming and subtitle websites providing access to infringing content.

Following this application and the notification of a blocking request to all Greek internet access providers, the Commission issued three separate decisions. The first two verify the compliance of two specific access provider with the blocking request sent via email, the content of which is however omitted from the text of the decisions. This means that it is unknown to the public which websites were blocked by the providers in compliance with the Commission’s request. Furthermore, the names of the providers have been also erased from the published documents, so it is also unknown which two ISPs complied voluntarily with the blocking request.

The third decision orders all internet access providers, which are registered with the Greek Telecommunications and Post Commision [EETT] as internet access providers and failed to comply with the blocking request (that is over than 200 entities), to block 38 infringing websites, including piratebay.org and popular Greek pirate website gamatotv.me, xrysoi.online, tenies-online.com and liomenoi.com, within 48 hours.

Failure to comply with the order would result in fines of EUR 850/day. The decision does not order any hosting or content providers to remove infringing content, even though in its preamble the decision expressively states that the Commission sent the blocking request to “the hosting providers and to the administrators or owners of the infringing websites, the contact details of which were accessible to the Commission” again without clarifying which specific hosting providers, administrators or website owners received the blocking request.

The Committee rejected EPOE’s request to order the blocking of all future alternate URLs of these websites on the grounds of lack of precision. As a result, most of the blocked websites just changed their top-level domain and can be accessed easily again with a simple online search. Moreover, several websites published walkthroughs for by-passing the blocking measures with the use of VPN and DNS change. As a result, the blocking orders might prevent some traffic to the blocked pirate sites, but tech-savvy users are still able to watch illegal content without any problem.
First blocking orders issued in Greece ... but how effective are they? First blocking orders issued in Greece ... but how effective are they? Reviewed by Eleonora Rosati on Sunday, December 09, 2018 Rating: 5

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