On Thursday a new round of website blocks was put in place by UK Internet providers.
The blockades were ordered by the High Court last month and require BT, Sky, Virgin Media, O2, EE and TalkTalk to block subscriber access to KickassTorrents, Fenopy and H33T. Previously a similar order took down The Pirate Bay in most of the UK.
The music industry had asked for these blockades hoping to make it harder for people to access pirated music. To a certain degree this may be working, but large groups of people are bypassing the court orders by switching to proxy sites.
As soon as the ISPs put up their filters people searched for alternative ways to access their beloved torrent sites. The graph below shows the Google search trend for the term “KickassTorrents proxy,” which surged on Thursday.
This increased demand led to a huge surge in traffic to several dedicated proxy sites, some of which had barely launched. Sites such as Kickassunblock.com, Kickassproxy and Katproxy have welcomed many new visitors over the past few days.
Most interest goes out to KickassTorrents proxies, which is not surprising. After the Pirate Bay was blocked last year Kat.ph became the most popular torrent site in the UK, earning a spot among the 50 most-visited websites in the region.
H33T and Fenopy have a smaller audience but are also catered for by dedicated proxy sites. H33T remains accessible in the UK through H33tunblock and H33t.uk.to among others, and Fenopy also has several dedicated proxies including Fenopyproxy and Unblockfenopy.
The above shows that for every website that’s blocked, many new ones are likely to appear. Those who really want to download torrents will find a way to access KickassTorrents, H33T, Fenopy, or one of the many alternative torrent sites still available.
The notion that the blockades may do little to prevent existing users from using BitTorrent was previously highlighted by several Dutch and UK Internet providers. These ISPs claimed that BitTorrent traffic didn’t decline after the blockades against The Pirate Bay were implemented.
That said, the blockades may put off people who are new to BitTorrent, or those who stumble upon the blocked sites through search engines.
And so the Whac-A-Mole game continues…