Pirate Site Not Impressed by Global DNS Blocking Order

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Sony Music's legal efforts have produced a major breakthrough. As the result of a German blocking order, DNS provider Quad9 now blocks global access to music piracy site CannaPower. The operator of the site doesn't appear to be impressed so far, noting that it doesn't really hurt traffic. "They will never get us down," the operator says, adding that moving to the Tor network remains an option as well.

cannapowerFounded in the last millennium, CannaPower must be one of the oldest pirate sites still around today.

The site currently indexes more than 50,000 audio releases, which are shared through external hosting platforms.

CannaPower Blocking Efforts

With roughly a million monthly visits, mostly from Germany, the download portal is large enough to appear on the music industry’s radar. In fact, it’s become one of the prime enforcement targets and an anti-piracy guinea pig of sorts.

When German Internet providers teamed up with copyright holders and agreed to voluntarily block blatant pirate sites, CannaPower was one of the first targets. At the time, the site operated from the Canna.to domain. Today, Canna-Power.to is its main home, but that domain is blocked too.

The blockades made it more difficult for Germans to visit the site, but certainly not impossible. By switching to a DNS resolver not controlled by local Internet providers, many people can regain access to the site.

Sony Targets DNS Resolver

Rightsholders are well aware of this. In fact, this was likely one of the main reasons that the German branch of Sony Music filed a lawsuit against DNS resolver Quad9 in 2021. The main goal of this court case was to block CannaPower at the third-party DNS resolver.

Sony Music’s lawsuit was successful. While Quad9 is determined to have the blocking order overturned, it initially complied with the blocking order in Germany only. However, after a follow-up complaint from Sony and a €10,000 fine, this blocking effort was rolled out globally.

The DNS blocking case in Germany will set an important precedent but, thus far, it hasn’t resulted in CannaPower throwing in the towel. Quad9 is a relatively small DNS resolver compared to Google, OpenDNS, and Cloudflare, so the effects are limited.

‘They’ll Never Get Us Down’

In an interview with the German site Tarnkappe, the site says that Quad9’s global DNS blocking efforts have no meaningful effect on its traffic numbers. And if more blocking orders should follow, the site doesn’t plan to stop either.

“The number of visitors has remained constant,” CannaPower says. “They will never get us down! And when the time comes, yes, then we’ll just move to the Tor network.”

On the Tor network, rightsholders can’t easily restrict access to a domain name, since ISPs and regular DNS resolvers can’t see this traffic.

canna power

CannaPower actually didn’t notice Quad9’s new global blocking effort and found out about it through the news. For now, the site will remain operational from the canna-power.to domain but it plans to switch to a new one in the near future, although that’s reportedly not related to the blocking efforts.

In addition to making it harder for users to access the site, blockades can also lower the revenue of pirate sites by reducing their traffic. While that may happen to CannaPower in the future, money doesn’t appear to be a weak spot either.

“I’m already getting hardly any donations or advertising revenue. The project is basically a hobby of mine. I finance almost everything out of my own pocket. And that will not change in the future,” CannaPower’s operator concludes.


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