During the past couple of years the UK has become the easiest country in the world to have a website blocked on copyright grounds.
Against a background of initial pessimism, Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act has proven more than capable of enabling the filtering dreams of the entertainment industries after blocking provisions in the Digital Economy Act were deemed too controversial.
While more recent blocks were actioned by the UK recording industry under the watchful eye of the BPI, it was the MPAA who pioneered site censorship in the UK. Their success against Usenet indexing site Newzbin2 has become the model through which ISPs can be forced to black out sites based on the order of a judge.
Last week we reported that the music industry are considering future action against a wide range of sites but there is a more immediate situation developing courtesy of their movie-making counterparts.
Sometime in the past two months the MPAA went to court with a copyright complaint against two sites – Movie2K and another called Download4All (DL4All). The precise details are unclear, but it seems likely that they presented similar arguments to those offered in earlier cases.
Broadly speaking the studios will explain that these sites breach their copyrights and cost them money and, since ISPs are now aware that they’re facilitating their users’ infringements, they must now block the sites to avoid becoming liable themselves.
TorrentFreak can confirm that in the last week of April several of the UK’s leading ISPs including BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk, and almost certainly O2, EE and Sky, received a copy of a High Court order compelling them to block the sites.
BT have already begun blocking the site in the UK and Virgin Media inform us that they too will initiate a blockade today.
“Virgin Media has received an order from the Courts requiring it to prevent access to Download4All and Movie2K in order to help protect against copyright infringement,” a spokesperson told TorrentFreak.
“As a responsible ISP, Virgin Media complies with court orders addressed to the company, but strongly believes that changing consumer behaviour to tackle copyright infringement also needs compelling legal alternatives to give consumers access to great content at the right price.”
And in a final and somewhat amazing note, the operators of PirateReverse.info, one of the largest Pirate Bay proxy services, informs TorrentFreak that they have already deployed a proxy site to unblock Movie2K.
“We’ve just deployed movie2kproxy.com (in record time), still working on getting the images to load properly but should all be fixed shortly.”
The moles in this game now appear to be getting whacked even before they appear.
UPDATE: The operator of PirateProxy.net, the world’s largest Pirate Bay proxy, says that he too will unblock Movie2K for UK users.