Following complaints from Disney, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Sony, Universal and Warner, a court in Spain recently ordered local ISPs to block HDFull.tv and Repelis.tv, a pair of popular pirate sites.
Citing changes in local law which helped facilitate the action, the MPA welcomed the blockades as necessary to prevent further damage to the creative industries. Now, just a week later, it seems that Spain really has the bit between its teeth.
An announcement from the Guardia Civil (Civil Guard), the oldest law enforcement agency in the country, reveals that almost two dozen websites have just been blocked for infringing intellectual property rights.
“The Civil Guard, within the framework of the ‘Operation CASCADA’, has initiated a campaign to block websites that allow people to download content protected by copyright and disseminate them through links in P2P networks, that is, networks of computers that work without fixed servers,” the Civil Guard said in a statement.
“In this first phase, a total of 23 web domains have been blocked from which direct download links of all kinds of protected audiovisual material such as movies, series, music and video games were accessed, many of them of recent creation and without being released yet in our country.
“High-quality versions of films available on the cinema billboards of our country were offered, although they had not yet been sold in physical or digital format and dubbed with audio in several languages.”
A full list of websites and domains hasn’t yet been provided by the authorities but familiar names including divxtotal.com and gamestorrents.com are confirmed to be included in the first wave.
The Civil Guard, which is organized as a military force under the authority of the Ministry of the Interior and Ministry of Defense, said that the administrators of the sites operate their platforms from abroad, generating advertising revenue from Spanish visitors who are said to make up 80% of the sites’ traffic.
In common with similar sites, the authorities accuse their owners of taking evasive action to avoid being shut down, including hiding the true location of their servers while moving them from country to country and masking domain registration data.
“Cases have been detected in which previously judicially blocked domains were reactivated in a matter of hours, with practically identical domain names or even changing only the extension thereof. In this way, and even if several successive blocks were made, they were able to ‘resurrect’ the web pages again in a very short space of time,” the Civil Guard reports.
“For all these reasons, components of the Department of Telematic Crimes of the Central Operative Unit of the Civil Guard, responsible for the investigation, were forced to implement a series of measures tending to cause a total blockade of them that would be effective and definitive, being currently inaccessible web pages or lacking download links.”
According to the authorities, the sites are now being continuously monitored, with replacement domains being blocked in less than three hours. That doesn’t appear to have been the case yesterday, however.
It’s claimed that the blocked sites were created by “a person of Spanish origin” who subsequently sold them to a company in Argentina. On Thursday, Argentina-based site Dixv.com.ar fired back against the blockade with a new site called Yadivx.com, which is reportedly serving all of the former’s content to users in Spain.
The sites’ owners continue to administer the rogue sites from Argentina, Spanish authorities believe. Only time will tell who will emerge victorious but at least for now, the sites are remaining defiant.