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Major UK ISPs ordered to block five pirate streaming sites

by Mark Tyson on 26 October 2021, 13:11

Tags: Netflix, British Telecom (LON:BT.A)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaercp

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A group of major Hollywood studios and Netflix have won a London High Court injunction to have five pirate video streaming web destinations blocked by major ISPs in the UK. TorrentFreak reports that the streaming sites have been in the Motion Picture Association's (MPA's) crosshairs for some time.

The UK's major ISPs that will have to comply with the injunction are; BT, EE, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk, and Virgin Media. Together, these ISPs provide 90 per cent of the UK's fixed line broadband market, so they are popular targets for such injunctions.

Sites that are going to be blocked from casual access in the UK due to "copyright infringement: communication," via these ISPs, are:

  • Tinyzonetv.to, with 16.5 million visits per month,
  • Watchserieshd.tv, with 10 million visits per month,
  • Levidia.ch, with 4.5 million visits per month,
  • 123movies.online,
  • and Europixhd.net.

In the High Court, Mrs Justice Falk agreed with the movie industry group's claims that the sites operated illegally, reports TorrentFreak. This is despite the sites not hosting content, only links to third-party sites. "In my view, the Target Websites do authorize infringing acts of copying by users, and indeed positively encourage and facilitate it," noted the judge on the injunction order. "The fact of extensive copying by users can be inferred from the quantity of material indexed on the Target Websites, their purpose of making the content available and the extent of traffic to the sites".

Interestingly, the majority of the pirate streaming sites use Cloudflare’s delivery platform. Therefore, in order to block the sites without collateral damage, the complainants are going to request that Cloudflare allocate the pirate sites dedicated IP addresses. Cloudflare's cooperation will facilitate content blocking at the IP level without affecting other 'innocent' Cloudflare customers.

It might take some weeks before UK users see ISPs implement their IP-level blocks for the above pirate streaming portals.



HEXUS Forums :: 26 Comments

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BT implemented additional blocking methods on 14 October at around midday which blocks sites behind Cloudflare. Prior to that I believe they were just observing DNS traffic.

I suspect they're now also looking at TLS SNI, but I haven't been able to test the theory due to being unable to find a browser/client which supports ECH.

Presumably they want Cloudflare to give the sites a dedicated IP because they know that browsers will eventually support ECH by default. In the meantime, ISPs would need to redirect less traffic to through their filtering hardware (which is presumably also used for LI), keeping costs down.

Dunno what they'll do after ECH is widely supported though. Presumably authorities are influencing browser makers to either delay or nobble it.
smargh
BT implemented additional blocking methods on 14 October at around midday which blocks sites behind Cloudflare. Prior to that I believe they were just observing DNS traffic.

I suspect they're now also looking at TLS SNI, but I haven't been able to test the theory due to being unable to find a browser/client which supports ECH.

You sound like you know what you're talking about so i'll direct a question at you please if you don't mind? Will this blocking be effective against use of a VPN or the proxy URL's that tend to pop up when things like this happen?
blokeinkent
You sound like you know what you're talking about so i'll direct a question at you please if you don't mind? Will this blocking be effective against use of a VPN or the proxy URL's that tend to pop up when things like this happen?

No, as long as as the VPN is encapsulating the traffic within a tunnel, to the outside (BT et al), the SNI and details will just be application (VPN) traffic between a source and destination. A halfway decent VPN will encapsulate all traffic including the DNS traffic so unless they're badly designed and leaking data outside of the tunnel and not stripping the SNI data, it should be fine.
Surprised TPB and similarly frequent suspects aren't on the list… are they not still around, any more?
Ttaskmaster
Surprised TPB and similarly frequent suspects aren't on the list… are they not still around, any more?

The official ones are dead but the mirror sites pop up and get blocked almost daily. I'm pretty sure there are standing orders that any TPB-esque site is insta blocked by providers as soon as it's verified.