OpenDNS Suspends Service in France Due to Canal+ Piracy Blocking Order

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This month, a French court went along with a demand from Canal+ to tighten up previously obtained anti-piracy measures. The court ordered Google, Cloudflare, and Cisco to poison their DNS records to prevent these third-party services acting as workarounds for existing pirate site blockades. Cisco's response became evident on Friday when it withdrew its OpenDNS service from the entire country.

football blockIn 2023, broadcaster Canal+ went to court in France with the goal of obtaining an order requiring local ISPs to block over 100 pirate sports streaming sites.

The French court complied with the request; ISPs including Orange, SFR, OutreMer Télécom, Free, and Bouygues Télécom, were ordered to implement technical measures to prevent access to,,,, and, among dozens of others.

Since the ISPs have their own DNS resolvers for use by their own customers, these were configured to provide non-authentic responses to deny access to the sites in question. Somewhat inevitably, some of the ISPs’ users reconfigured their machines to use third-party DNS servers, included those provided by Cloudflare, Google, and Cisco.

Canal+ Targets DNS Providers

To prevent these workarounds, last year Canal+ took legal action against three popular public DNS providers – Cloudflare (, Google (, and Cisco ( – demanding blocking measures similar to those already implemented by French ISPs under Article L333-10 of the French Sports Code.

The Paris judicial court responded this May by handing down two orders; one concerning Premier League matches and the other relating to matches played in the Champions League. The Court ordered Google, Cloudflare, and Cisco to implement measures to prevent French internet users from using their services to access around 117 pirate domains.

Google previously indicated it would comply and during the last 24 hours, OpenDNS complied too, although perhaps not in the manner Canal+ or the Court had anticipated.

OpenDNS Suspends Entire Service to the Whole of France

Reports of problems with the OpenDNS service seemed to begin on Friday, and it didn’t take long to discover the cause. The technical issues were isolated to France and apparently parts of Portugal too, with an explanation having appeared on the OpenDNS website, perhaps as early as Thursday evening.

“Effective June 28, 2024: Due to a court order in France issued under Article L.333-10 of the French Sport code and a court order in Portugal issued under Article 210-G(3) of the Portuguese Copyright Code, the OpenDNS service is not currently available to users in France and certain French territories and in Portugal. We apologize for the inconvenience,” the announcement reads.


OpenDNS doesn’t appear to have elaborated on its decision at the time of writing, but it’s certainly possible that the operators of this technical information service strongly oppose being ordered to undermine its accuracy.

The demands of Canal+, with full support of courts in both France and Portugal, effectively require OpenDNS to lie in response to DNS inquiries. It’s not difficult to see why that would be a problem for the operators of entirely neutral internet infrastructure, not least because this order is almost guaranteed not to be the last of its kind.

It’s a bold move that some will undoubtedly criticize. For others, the OpenDNS decision represents the type of dramatic pushback required to draw attention to anti-piracy measures that are increasingly encroaching on the vital mechanisms underpinning the internet itself.


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