Last week six major UK Internet providers began blocking access to the popular TV torrent site EZTV.
The blockade follows a High Court order obtained by the major movie studios, and blacks out the RSS service ezRSS as well.
The actions EZTV faces are not the first taken against a torrent site in the UK. The Pirate Bay, KickassTorrents, Fenopy and H33T have been blocked by previous court orders and remain inaccessible by conventional means. The TV-torrent site won’t be the last either, as both the movie and music industries have promised that more sites will be targeted in future.
What makes EZTV unique though, is that unlike many of the other site owners they have taken steps to circumvent the blockades. The EZTV crew told TorrentFreak that they re using Geo DNS to point UK visitors to a new IP-address which loads just fine on the ISPs we checked.
“You are seeing this site as you have been recently blocked in your country,” declares the message on the special UK landing page.
Although EZTV have successfully bypassed the ISP blockade they are not presenting UK visitors with torrent files or similar content. The EZTV crew informs TorrentFreak that they would rather inform visitors on how to bypass the blockade in the future. This is the best long term solution, as new IP-addresses may simply be added to the blocklist.
On the special landing page the TV-torrent site lists several reverse proxy sites through which users can still access EZTV. In addition, they inform visitors about VPNs as an effective tool to bypass Internet censorship.
“You can use these to get around silly things like court mandated ISP blocks,” EZTV writes.
On a more political note EZTV has slammed Hollywood’s efforts, suggesting to visitors that they should consider voting for a political party that takes a stand against censorship.
“Hollywood has convinced the courts in the United Kingdom that they can control the internet and that censorship works. They are, of course, wrong. You might want to vote in some people who understand this – the Pirate Party UK (PPUK) would be a good choice. They believe in making culture sharing a legal activity.”
But even without political change, it’s doubtful that the blockade will be very effective. As we’ve seen in the past with The Pirate Bay, many visitors simply move to proxy sites, which can become quite large on their own. And with EZTV pointing visitors to these alternatives it’s all the more likely that many will circumvent the blockade.
It will be interesting to see how the movie studios will respond to the special landing page. EZTV is certainly putting the movie studios in a difficult position, as the new page doesn’t link to infringing content and is purely an informational resource.
The studios could probably argue that site revealing how a blockade can be circumvented are obstructing the court order, but that’s bound to stir up the censorship debate even further. Secretly blocking proxies is one thing, but blocking sites that discuss them is a few more feet down the slippery slope.