MPA Gets Ireland To Crack Open The Site-Blocking Door It Plans To Bust Through

from the block-party dept

Give an inch and they will take a mile, as the saying goes. This mantra applies quite nicely to the recent spate of site-blocking efforts that have taken place around the world. Once content owners, chiefly Hollywood and music groups based in America, manage to slightly open the door to having entire sites blocked by order of government, they then barge through and expand the scope of the site-blocking exponentially.

And the groups doing this barging don’t even bother to hide their plans. In Ireland, one can see this in the recent news of the Motion Picture Association submitting an order to have several websites blocked by ISPs there.

On behalf of several major Hollywood studios, the group requested Irish Internet providers to block access to three popular streaming sites; movie4k.to, primewire.ag, and onwatchseries.to. In their complaint, the movie studios, including Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, and Warner Bros, described the sites as massive copyright infringement hubs, with each offering thousands of infringing movies.

Monday evening the court approved the request. This means that the three websites will soon be rendered unavailable by Eircom, Sky Ireland, Vodafone Ireland, Virgin Media Ireland, Three Ireland, Digiweb, Imagine Telecommunications, and Magnet Networks.

The blocking of entire websites on the basis of industry complaints should be seen as no small thing. Given how often sites that Hollywood claims are “pirate sites” in fact have completely legitimate uses, wary eyes should be cast at this sort of censorship. These three sites may not fall under that falsely accused designation. The problem is that in the immediate aftermath of the court’s decision, the MPA is licking its chops to go after many, many more sites.

The ISP asked the court to put a cap on the number of notifications, limiting it to 50 per month. However, the movie studios objected to a blocking cap, and the judge decided not to add any limitations for now.

No caps, because as we’ve seen in other European countries, these blocking requests will now be vastly expanded to include all kinds of websites. With that volume increase will come mistakes, overreach, and false accusations. It’s what always happens. And at that point, Irish citizens, and perhaps the courts, will realize exactly what kind of Pandora’s box has been opened to satiate the folks in Hollywood. The ISPs in Ireland already know this, as they are hedging their support for these blocking efforts in the future.

Irish Times reports that none of the ISPs opposed the blocking request. However, Eir said that the costs involved could become an issue if the number of blocked websites increases drastically in the future.

It’s easy money to bet that those drastic increases will come about quite quickly. Hollywood can’t seem to keep from barging through a door like this once it’s been cracked open.

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Companies: mpa

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Comments on “MPA Gets Ireland To Crack Open The Site-Blocking Door It Plans To Bust Through”

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29 Comments
Ninja (profile) says:

It’s the same rationale some are trying to show that stupid EME thing W3C is possibly allowing into HTML5 standard. If memory serves Doctorow used a simple but beautiful analogy: if you need to diet then keep the caloric food out of your reach. If it’s in the cupboard/fridge you will end up eating everything.

DRM, site blocking, ContentID, DMCA takedown notices without due process… They are all consistently abused by the MAFIAA simply because they can. The system must be crafted in an abuse-resistant way because you can bet all your money for an easy win that if it can be abused it will be.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’ve always wondered — since the only brake on an invalid DMCA take-down is willfully perjuring yourself, and writing a bot to do it for you (despite the fact that the bot only does exactly what it is told to do) somehow removes any willfulness, couldn’t you game that system?

Take some ignorant individual somewhere, give them a wrong explanation of how copyright works, and create a bot that swings into action when they push a button. That bot sends DMCA take-downs to the upstream provider of whatever site the person is browsing when they click the button, and thanks to their wrong education, they believe any site they like must be copyrighted, and nobody can make a site with copyrighted stuff.

Then multiply it by anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand ignorant individuals acting in good faith. That would be a hell of a way for a hacktivist group to take down a content industry. After all, if Disney’s own site gets disconnected from the internet because it looks copyrighted, or the members of the US Congress lose their re-election websites, you can bet that Something Must Be Done.

Anonymous Coward says:

and this will lead to running the internet completely, just as has been said so many times. with the entertainment industries getting whatever sites blocked that it wants, by whichever governments and courts it manages to bribe to do the dirty work, deciding which ones can stay on line and available, what other explanation can there be? any site they dislike, for whatever reason, whether legit or not, will be kicked off the net with no warrant or discussion until eventually there will be none except what those industries want! the whole aim all along! almost free distribution to customers while charging the same as high street prices!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

A new Internet, only available to a few dedicated people, like the old bulletin board systems were does not concern them, as it does not support the audience for self published works that the current Internet does. They think that they should be the only publishers, and not a minority players in a world dominated by self publishing creators..

That One Guy (profile) says:

If?

Irish Times reports that none of the ISPs opposed the blocking request. However, Eir said that the costs involved could become an issue if the number of blocked websites increases drastically in the future.

Oh it won’t just be ‘drastically’, think ‘exponentially’. You need look no further than DMCA notices to see that once the tool is available the growth of it will increase on a massive scale. The ISP’s are complete fools if they think that the ‘requests’ will remain at a sane level, they either stop this now or they will be swamped with demands.

As an aside, I would ask if there’s any penalty for making bogus claims of guilt, but given a judge wasn’t even willing to set a limit on the number of accusations they can make I’d say the odds of a penalty for false accusations is likely in the range of zero to none.

aerinai says:

How do these blocks work?

Are these blocks by DNS or by IP? If its by DNS, I could see ways around that. If its by IP, then I could see collateral damage to sites happening to share an IP (wordpress, etc.) or having a non-sticky IP (like AWS)…

Better start prepping the stories about the ‘good old days’ of the internet…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

My juvenile antics may have gone right over your head.

I assure you that the average reader of this blog has an IQ at least as high as their shoe size. Those with limited IQ often think the problem isn’t that what they are saying is discarded as pointless and offensive, but because other people are too stupid to understand what they are saying.

That isn’t the case here.

Now, let us put away our offensive language and such, and discuss this.

You argue that basically, no one should be allowed to flaunt the law.

On the other side, they basically point out that no one should be allowed to flaunt the law.

Same argument, but they source from different view points.

In your case, you feel folks that host infringing content should be shut down. I don’t know of too many that would argue against that.

In the other case, they believe that forcing people off line that are not engaged in infringement should not be allowed.

The issue is that the entertainment industry would like to force their sole interpenetration of infringement to "Things we don’t like", even if it’s not infringing under the law, or has exceptions carved out for the use for things like reporting or commentary.

Reducing this situation down to insults and simplistic solutions serves no one but those driven to profit by being gate keepers. Entertainment has proven time and time again they will abuse these systems to their own profit. You have no further to look than "hollywood accounting" to see the massive amounts from fraud and abuse they already get away with.

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