2012 is proving to be momentous year for those looking to censor the Internet on copyright grounds. With nationwide blockades of The Pirate Bay biting in many countries including both the Netherlands and the UK, it was only a question of time before the phenomenon spread further still.
Today we can report that Greece is the latest country to walk down the controversial path of web censorship for the protection of intellectual property. The Athens First Instance Court has just handed down a ruling which orders the country’s ISPs to begin censoring a pair of sites the music industry says are infringing their copyrights on a grand scale.
The ruling is based on Article 64A of law 2121/1993 which states that “Rightsholders may apply for an injunction against intermediaries whose services are used by a third party to infringe copyright or related rights.”
A similar provision in Section 97A of the UK’s Copyright, Designs and Patents Act led to The Pirate Bay being blocked there earlier this month.
Interestingly, neither of the sites to be blocked in Greece is The Pirate Bay, and the unusual features don’t stop there. The first site to be censored is Ellinadiko.com, a music sharing forum that was once very popular with locals. We’re referring to the site in the past tense since it appears to have shut down.
The second site to be blocked is Music-Bazaar.com, a Russian operated and hosted ‘AllofMP3’-style webstore selling MP3s at bargain basement prices. These sites are a thorn in the side of the recording industry but operate with both impunity and arguable legality in Russia.
The blocks will be initiated in two ways. ISPs will have to tamper with their DNS records so that subscribers trying to access the sites will be redirected elsewhere, probably to an ISP holding page.
Second, and to thwart people trying to visit the sites without the use of a domain name at all, the IP addresses for the sites will be filtered out. However, according to discussion on Greek file-sharing forums, the IP addresses listed in the court order are no longer in use by either site having been changed a while ago.
Following similar actions taken by the Dutch and UK Pirate parties, the Greek Pirate Party are indicating that they are “ready to implement any lawful technological measure to ensure freedom of communication, speech and exchange ideas online and in society.”