Like many other countries throughout Europe, Ireland is no stranger when it comes to pirate site blocking efforts.
The Pirate Bay was first targeted in 2009, as part of a voluntary agreement between copyright holders and local ISP Eircom. A few years later the High Court ordered other major Internet providers to follow suit.
Next, the Motion Picture Association (MPA) set their eyes on other targets.
On behalf of several major Hollywood studios, the group obtained blocking orders against the most used torrent and streaming sites, including 1337x.io, EZTV.ag, Bmovies.is, 123movieshub.to, Putlocker.io, RARBG.to, and YTS.am.
This most recent order, issued earlier this year, triggered the usual response. Many users who have their favorite sites blocked, tried to find alternatives, such as the various proxy and mirror sites that are available.
This works well, but it’s usually not a permanent solution. A few weeks ago Irish ISPs expanded their blocklist covering several of the most used proxy sites for Rarbg, 1337x, and others. Again, users were confronted with a blocking notification, such as the one below from Virgin Media.
It is not uncommon for blocking injunctions to allow copyright holders to update the targeted domains. For example, when new domains or proxies appear. And indeed, this is what’s happening here, according to the MPA.
“In accordance with the orders issued by the Dublin High Court, the blocklist is regularly updated, including for alternative domains and proxies,” an MPA Europe spokesperson informed TorrentFreak.
The latest update was processed quietly earlier this month, which led to frustration among avid torrenters, many of whom had just settled with an alternative. It’s something they have to get used to though.
While the MPA can’t share the full list of blocked sites, it informed us that over 250 domains are on the most recent version of the blocklist. More domains will be added when needed.
This strategy may be effective, to a degree, but determined pirates who look hard enough can usually find a workaround, such as a new proxy, VPN, Tor, or other options.
The MPA knows all too well that site blocking is not a silver bullet. Still, the Hollywood-funded group believes that it’s effective enough to stop a significant number of people. Or perhaps frustrating pirates alone might already be worth it?