Blocking websites with the assistance of Internet service providers has emerged as one of the preferred methods of rightsholders seeking to reduce online infringement.
The practice is endorsed by both the music industry and Hollywood, with MPAA chief Chris Dodd giving the practice his personal blessing.
In the summer of 2014, Singapore passed amendments to its Copyright Act and later that year they became law, allowing the country to join the growing list of countries prepared to block sites at the ISP level.
It was expected that sites would be blocked fairly quickly but progress has been slow, with no sites blocked in 2015. However, according to a report in local media, that will soon change.
Last Thursday, Singapore’s High Court ordered local ISPs including Singtel, StarHub and M1 to disable access to SolarMovie.ph, a website offering links to mainly pirate movies. According to Alexa, SolarMovie has a world traffic rank of 1,500.
The move was welcomed by Mike Ellis, the MPA’s Asia-Pacific president and managing director.
“It is important that the creative industries are able to work via Singapore’s High Court to take a reasonable step forward to limit content theft,” Ellis said.
“Piracy websites not only stifle the growth of legal online platforms for movies and television shows, they may also pose a risk of malware infection.”
It was originally believed that The Pirate Bay would be the first site to be blocked by Singapore but that site may be in a batch of domains being dealt with separately by IFPI.
In January 2015 the music group suggested it would collect evidence against The Pirate Bay with a view to getting it blocked, but at the time the site was still down following the December 2014 raid that took the site offline for two months.
IFPI previously said it would initially target three to five sites in Singapore, so expect developments on that front in the weeks and months to come.