Over the years, copyright holders have tried a multitude of measures to curb online piracy, with varying levels of success.
Site blocking has emerged as one of the preferred solutions. While blocking measures are not perfect, they can pose a large enough hurdle for casual pirates to choose legal options instead.
Argentinian Blocklist Expanded
Blocking measures have spread around the world in recent years and have now arrived in Argentina. After filing a complaint last year, local anti-piracy group Alianza is now celebrating a big win after local ISPs were instructed to block 30 pirate streaming sites.
The order was handed down by the National Court of First Instance in Federal Civil and Commercial Matters in Buenos Aires. The case was filed by the local offices of DirecTV and Spanish football league La Liga, among others, who received support from Alianza.
National telecommunications body ENACOM instructed local Internet providers to block the 30 domain names. These include TV streaming services such as televisionlibre.net and cablegratis.online, plus sports streaming sites such as futbollibre.net and pirlotv.uk.
Several of the targeted pirate streaming portals have (or had) millions of monthly visitors.
Alianza informs TorrentFreak that the order sets a dynamic blocking precedent in Argentina. This means that ISPs can also be required to block mirror sites and new domains these streaming portals may switch to in future.
Much-Needed Dynamic Blocking Order
Alianza executive director Víctor Roldán notes that dynamic blocking orders are more effective than simply seizing or blocking single domain names.
“According to our research, many of these sites continue to operate through mirrors. That is the reason why we prefer to obtain judicial and administrative measures that can be extended to other websites and URLs, instead of the methods that other associations use,” Roldán says.
The ability to update the blocklist is a much-needed feature since many of the domains targeted by the Argentinian order are already outdated. For example, ACE previously shut down USTVGO and seized the domains of futbollibre.net and televisionlibre.net.
The blocklist also features extremotvplay.com and rojadirectatv.tv, which were taken down by the U.S. Government last December, as well as several domain names that are no longer active at the time of writing.
Alianza says that it’s aware of these issues and will try to target mirror sites when they become available. The group is right to note that the dynamic nature of the order makes it more effective than a single-domain seizure. However, there are downsides to site blocking as well.
Unlike domain name seizures, which have a global effect, site blocking is relatively easy to bypass by switching DNS resolvers or using other circumvention tools.
That said, site-blocking orders are certainly better than doing nothing. According to Roldán, the first surveys from anti-piracy outfit NAGRA suggest that the measures are already having an effect.
“Judicial orders are always effective in our experience. We monitor the blocking effects through Nagra and the survey results we received thus far were very promising,” Alianza’s director tells us.
The list of blocked domain names that are included in the original court order (pdf) reads as follows.
9) telefullenvivo .com
17) tarjetarojatv online.sx
22) televisiongratisen vivo.com