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More Websites Blocked in UK, While France Ponders Doing the Same

Posted by: , 16:46 AEDT, Sun March 3, 2013

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UK High Court orders more websites to be blocked, while France's HADOPI agency wants the power to do the same
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The UK High Court has ordered UK's top ISPs to block more websites that have been accused of offering pirated content.

Responding to legal action taken by 10 record labels, Mr Justice Arnold granted the request tonewz force UK ISPs to block Kickass Torrents, H33T and Fenopy. The ISPs, including BSkyB, BT, Virgin Media and three others that, combined, account for 94% of the UK broadband market, will only have 15 working days to comply the order.

This is the third time that the High Court has ordered ISPs to block suspected piracy hangouts, with the original Newzbin website (and it's resurrected version),and The Pirate Bay, already under orders to be blocked.

Since the block of these two websites, particularly the hugely popular The Pirate Bay, traffic to other less well known websites, including Kickass Torrents, have increased dramatically. It is for these reasons that the cabal of record labels decided to seek further legal sanctions against more websites.

Many opposed to the bans have set up proxies which still allow these websites to be accessed from within the UK, making the ban ineffective for all but the most casual downloaders.

Across the Channel in France, the agency tasked with stopping Internet piracy, HADOPI, has issued a new report to examine further ways to stop infringing content from being distributed in the country. Already with some of the toughest anti-piracy laws in the world, including a three-strikes regime that has been nicknamed after the agency responsible for maintaining it, HADOPI wants the government to pass even tougher laws that will include search result censorship and even domain seizures.

The HADOPI three-strikes laws have been in effect since 2010, but since then, only one successful prosecution has resulted, and in that case, only a small fine was issued (despite the law permitting for complete Internet disconnection after the third strike). While P2P piracy rates has decreased, according to the HADOPI agency, more and more people have resorted to using direct download and streaming alternatives, which the current three-strikes regime can not monitor. 

This latest HADOPI report attempts to block these loopholes by recommending the use of digital fingerprinting technology to allow content holders to quickly identify and seek the removal of infringing content. Website refusing to implement this potentially expensive system, or continues to link and host to infringing content, may be subject to search engine de-listing, domain blocking, seizures and the blocking of financial services such as PayPal. Third parties that do not cooperate, including search engines and financial institutions, could then be subject to legal action taken by HADOPI, the report further recommends.

It is unclear at the moment how the current socialist-led government in France will react to these recommendations, having previously hinted that they will curb the scope and finances of HADOPI due to the ineffectiveness of the three-strikes regime.


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