German Pirate Site Blocklist Gradually Expands with BS.to as Latest Target

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German Internet providers have started blocking access to the popular streaming portal BS.to. The anti-piracy measure is part of the country's voluntary blocking regime, which classified the site as structurally infringing. BS.to's operators, meanwhile, are showing users how to bypass the new restrictions.

bs.toA few months ago, German Internet providers agreed to voluntarily block the most blatant pirate sites.

The ISPs teamed up with copyright holders and launched the “Clearing Body for Copyright on the Internet” (CUII), which is in charge of handing down blocking ‘orders’.

While CUII doesn’t rely on court judgments, there is some form of oversight. When copyright holders report a pirate site, a review committee first checks whether the domain is indeed linked to a website that structurally infringes copyrights.

When the blocking scheme launched, streaming portal S.to was the only domain that had passed this verification process. However, the clearing body isn’t sitting still and several new domains have been added since.

BS.to Added to the Blocklist

This week, many users of the popular German-language streaming portal Burning Series – also known as BS.to – were locked out of the site.

“[A notice] says that GUII blocked bs.to for legal reasons,” one of the site’s users mentioned yesterday, noting that he had to use a darknet browser to bypass the blocking measures.

BS.to no stranger when it comes to to anti-piracy enforcement measures. The site has been targeted by Hollywood’s legal efforts, it was reported to the US Trade representative, and is already blocked in Australia.

The latest blockade was implemented this week, but CUII’s decision dates back to July. It is not clear who recommended BS.to as a blocking target, however. This information is redacted in the official paperwork, which mentions an unnamed rightsholder of an American film.

Structurally Infringing

After reviewing the complaint, the clearing body concluded that there are sufficient grounds to add the streaming portal to the blocklist.

“The request for a recommendation to block the BS.TO website is justified. The website is a structurally infringing website. There is a clear copyright violation. The blocking is reasonable and proportionate,” CUII writes.

According to CUII’s recommendation, evidence provided by the research company Incopro showed that more than 90% of all content on the site links to copyright-infringing material.

BS.to Points to Workarounds

The BS.to operators don’t seem overly impressed by the new blocking efforts. The streaming portal was previously blocked by Vodafone and T-mobile and the site is actively encouraging people to bypass the measures by changing their DNS settings.

“Some of you may have noticed that our domains are now being blocked by CUII. In order to bypass this blockade, we recommend that you change your DNS settings. Please keep yourself up to date at burningseries.domains,” a message posted a few hours ago reads.

Research has shown that site blocking measures are not perfect. However, rightsholders believe that they help to deter casual pirates from accessing these sites, which will have an effect in the long run.

BS.to is not the only site to be added to the German blocklist this week, the same happened to Streamkiste.tv. Previously, Newalbumreleases.net, NSW2U.com, and Canna.to were added as well.

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