Italian authorities and the local entertainment industry are continuing their war on piracy with yet another round of broad website blockades.
This week Court of Rome Judge Constantino De Robbio ordered all local Internet providers to restrict access to 24 websites including Kim Dotcom’s Mega.co.nz. The list further includes several other cloud storage sites such as Firedrive (formerly known as Putlocker) and even Russia’s largest email provider Mail.ru.
The broad anti-piracy measures were requested by a small independent Italian movie distributor Eyemoon Pictures. The company complained that the sites in question distributed two films, “The Congress” and “Fruitvale Station,” before they were released in Italian cinemas.
It appears that the injunction was issued without a very careful investigation of the true nature of the sites. Kim Dotcom’s Mega.co.nz is known to be very responsive to takedown notices, and the targeting of Russia’s largest email providers is even more baffling.
In a comment Mega CEO Stephen Hall tells TorrentFreak that Mega views the blockade as disproportionate and illegal. The company operates an EU and DMCA compliant takedown process which allows copyright holder to remove infringing files swiftly.
“We believe that the blockade adopted by the Italian Prosecutor is illegal. The blocking order was placed on the basis of a complaint by a small distributor for two films and the effect of the total block is obviously disproportionate,” Hall says.
Hall further points out that the measures are easily circumvented by using Google DNS or any other non-ISP DNS provider. However, the company hopes that it can have the blockade reversed via soon-to-be-filed appeal.
“Mega is taking steps to ensure that our Italian customers regain access to their files without first having to fiddle with their nameserver settings by filing an appeal next week,” Hall adds.
TorrentFreak contacted Fulvio Sarzana, a lawyer specialized in Internet and copyright disputes, who told us that the scope of the preliminary injunction is rather broad.
“This is the second-largest website blocking order in Italy, but certainly the most important one considering the names involved,” Sarzana says.
The lawyer is opposed to the measures and welcomes site owners who want to appeal the blockades.
“I see website blocking through DNS and IP-address as a form of censorship. The block can not distinguish between licit and illicit files. It’s like using a bomb broad-spectrum to hit only one person, the collateral damage is very obvious,” Sarzana notes.
The sites affected in today’s actions have an option to appeal the Court’s decision, which has been done before with success.
Earlier this year Rome’s Court of Appeals recalled a blocking order against the video streaming site Filmakerz.org, arguing that it was too broad. In its order the Court specified that partial blocking of a specific URL is preferred over site-wide bans, and that copyright-infringing sites must have a for-profit angle.
The full list of blocked domain names is as follows:
cineblog01.net, cineblog01.tv, ddlstorage.com, divxstage.eu, easybytez.com, filminstreaming.eu, filmstream.info, firedrive.com, mail.ru, mega.co.nz, movshare.sx, nowdownload.ag, nowdownload.sx, nowvideo.sx, piratestreaming.net, primeshare.tv, putlocker.com, rapidvideo.tv, sockshare.com, uploadable.ch, uploadinc.com, video.tt , videopremium.me and youwatch.org