Well over a decade ago copyright holders first went to court to block a pirate site. The target in this initial case, which took place in Denmark, was the Russian MP3 ‘store’ AllofMP3.
The court eventually ordered local ISPs to block the site and soon after similar requests were made in countries all around the world.
Earlier this year, the Motion Picture Association reported that 4,000 websites have been blocked in 31 countries over the past several years. As rightsholders see blocking as an effective means to hinder pirates the list continues to expand, with the South American country Ecuador as the latest addition.
Late last week Ecuador’s National Intellectual Property Service (SENADI) issued an administrative order requiring Internet providers to block subscribers from accessing several Rojadirecta websites.
As one of the oldest and most prominent live streaming sites, Rojadirecta is a thorn in the side of many international sports organizations. In this case, the blocking order was requested by Fox Latin America and Liga Nacional de Fútbol Profesional.
The blocking order requires local Internet providers to block a total of five domain names; Rojadiretahd.online, Rojadirectatv.football, Rojadirectatv.tv, Rojadirecta.online and Rojadirecta-tv.me.
This is the first blocking order of this kind in Ecuador that we’re aware of. According to reports, some ISPs are using DNS blockades, which are relatively easy to circumvent, but more evasive techniques are being utilized as well.
Opponents of the blocking measures complain that they violate freedom of expression. They fear that more blocking efforts will follow, without proper judicial oversight.
That said, SENADI’s order has a clear legal basis. The measure is permitted under the Organic Code on the Social Economy of Knowledge, Creativity and Innovation. In this case, ISPs were required to take action before June 6th, or face criminal liabilities.
Interestingly, the list of targeted “Rojadirecta” domains doesn’t include the official website, which operates from Rojadirecta.me. Instead, it appears to be targeted at third-party sites that use the same name.
At the time of writing Rojadirectatv.football is redirecting to Rojadirectaonline.biz, possibly in an attempt to circumvent the blocking efforts. Rojadiretahd.online and Rojadirecta.online have stopped working entirely, as these domains were suspended by the domain name registrar.
A copy of SENADI’s blocking order is available here (pdf).