Piracy Shield: IP Addresses and Server Locations Blocked Since Launch

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After dismissing concerns that overblocking needed to be taken more seriously, those behind Italy's Piracy Shield system pressed ahead regardless. After one major overblocking incident was branded 'fake news' and a bigger one wasn't addressed at all, promised transparency has also ground to a halt. Data obtained by TorrentFreak shows that the ten domains made available to the public, have led to domains and IP addresses being blocked in their thousands.

Logo piracy shieldThere’s rarely a shortage of conflict and controversy in the perpetual online piracy wars.

For some, the David versus Goliath imagery, of ordinary people fighting faceless corporations, will never get old. For others, the right of creators to receive fair compensation for their work is non-negotiable; it puts food on the table, literally.

Yet spend enough time digesting every possible detail presented by those shouting most loudly about piracy, and it becomes increasingly clear that piracy is already too big to fail.

Anti-piracy is now a multi-billion dollar industry in its own right, that means companies investing real money, long-term, into a fight where the ultimate reward for achieving the impossible is self-destruction via redundancy. Very obviously that isn’t going to happen because according to regular reminders, pirates never stop innovating and there’s nothing anyone can do about that in the absence of draconian tool (x)

AGCOM – Hold My Beer

If piracy is too big to fail, then the same also holds true for events playing out in Italy. After expending huge resources to obtain legislation to a precise specification, rightsholders have the legal basis to give pirates everything they’ve got, with little to fear, even when things go terribly wrong.

With full support from AGCOM, the whole of Italy has endured non-stop lectures on piracy, the capability of the Piracy Shield blocking platform, and how nothing will ever go wrong because this mission is too big to fail. When things did go wrong two weeks ago, AGCOM claimed that journalists made the whole thing up and when an even bigger blunder took out countless innocent sites last weekend, proponents of Piracy Shield disappeared and said nothing.

In parallel, information on which domains and IP address have been blocked, aren’t being published according to the rules. This means that when innocent sites are rendered inaccessible, those affected are denied any right to know what went wrong or who can be held responsible. That seems incompatible with even a basic level of responsibility towards innocent third parties.

Piracy Shield Blocking Data – Feb 2024 – Weeks 1-3

Since information apparently likes to be free and access to justice is a basic human right, here’s the first three weeks of IP addresses blocked by the Piracy Shield system. The list handed to TF over a week ago appears to cover the first two-and-a-half, possibly close to three weeks of February. It contains 1267 IP addresses but less than 10 domains names have been revealed to the public in official records.

Long lists of IP addresses tend to become a bit meaningless, so we’ve added relevant data (everything beyond the bare IP addresses) to help the numbers make sense. We used IPInfo to obtain approximate server locations and various other tools to compile the rest of the data.

IP addresses mapped to IPinfo location data (click to enlarge)piracy shield map

From a total of 1267 IP addresses, 558 geo-locate to the Netherlands, 433 to Romania, and the rest as follows: Austria (69), Germany (57), Italy (33), France (28), Ukraine (28), Nigeria (13), Ireland (8), Switzerland (6), Greece (6). All other countries were were linked to five IP addresses or less.

While the usual caveats apply in respect of geo-location data not necessarily being accurate, it seems reasonable to conclude that European server locations caused many issues in the first two or three weeks of February.

Focus on Europe (click to enlarge)piracy shield map2

However, dots on a map don’t always tell the full story. Server operator data (presuming that can be relied on) may offer a few more clues towards a more distant problem than ‘Frankfurt’ may first suggest. Indeed, GZ Remittance (China) Industry Ltd (specifically, Hong Kong) turns up no less than 350 times in the list (29% of all blocks) but appears to have almost 4,100 German IP addresses in total, so quite a few to go yet.

Germany Piracy Shield

For those interested in the data, a .csv file is available here. If anyone can make the data look really nice, please send us a copy here.

Note: An earlier version of this article referenced Superhub Limited in Hong Kong in connection with the IP addresses listed above, as reported by the database queried. There is more than one company with that name in Hong Kong but in this case the IP addresses are linked to Superhub Ltd in some online databases, which does not appear to be correct.

The full name listed in other databases is IPv4 Superhub Limited, which appears to be accurate. This is also a Hong Kong company but does not immediately appear to have connections to Superhub Limited, even though the two entities are very close geographically.


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