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.

Filed Under: copyright, ireland, movies, site blocking
Companies: mpa


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 11 Apr 2017 @ 10:58am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 12 Apr 2017 @ 2:51am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2017 @ 11:54am

    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!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2017 @ 12:55pm

      Re:

      No, it will just lead to a new internet. One that isn't controlled by legacy industries bribing governments to get what they want.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2017 @ 1:12pm

        Re: Re:

        Usenet?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2017 @ 1:13pm

        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..

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Advocate (profile), 11 Apr 2017 @ 1:40pm

        Re: Re:

        I've been waiting for this for a long while, but blockchain wasn't ready, and now they have to make it easy for the typical user. I'd be interested to see what everyone thinks is the most likely to catch on of current Open/Decentralised Web projects.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 11 Apr 2017 @ 12:02pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Nathan F (profile), 11 Apr 2017 @ 12:09pm

    Isps can reign this in by charging a large fee pet request over 50. They can justify it by claiming anything beyond 50 a month costs them too much money to be economically viable. Yes it doesn't close the door but they can charge enough to make sure the m/riaa don't just throw stuff at them shotgun style.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2017 @ 12:27pm

      Re:

      That only works if the law is written that way. If the law says "you have to take this down when they say so" and doesn't explicitly allow for fees, you won't be able to demand any.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 11 Apr 2017 @ 12:41pm

    Wait wait wait wait.

    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.

    It is rather besides the point, but there are how many ISPs in Ireland?!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2017 @ 1:19pm

      Re:

      I think that Ireland has similar regulation as the U.K, and the telcos have to open their infrastructure to other ISP's. This enables and fosters competition, as the ISP only has to install equipment at the exchanges to gain access to the final mile.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2017 @ 8:57pm

      Re:

      And a few more than that: http://www.ispai.ie/membership/

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 12 Apr 2017 @ 12:28am

      Re:

      As many as competition and the free market allow once infrastructure monopoly is removed. This is why the major US ISPs are mocked when they try to pretend the US market has real competition and why their sycophants are mocked when they try to pretend it will magically happen if you just got rid of the FCC.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Advocate (profile), 11 Apr 2017 @ 1:20pm

    Don't worry, the ISPs and studios will all be merged soon enough.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    aerinai (profile), 11 Apr 2017 @ 1:33pm

    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...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2017 @ 1:41pm

      Re: How do these blocks work?

      Better start prepping the stories about the 'good old days' of the internet..

      But where and how will you share them, down the Pub, or on these SD cards that have a heavy tax because of piracy.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 12 Apr 2017 @ 12:30am

      Re: How do these blocks work?

      At a guess, the orders will be crafted so that the ISPs have to work out how to implement them, and any ineffective blocking and/or collateral damage will be blamed on them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2017 @ 3:19pm

    Yes, those websites should go unpunished and be allowed to just flagrantly break the law.

    Uh huh.


    Try not to be a complete fucking idiot your whole life, mkay?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2017 @ 3:36pm

      Re:

      Wow, sraight for the insults. Copyrights best and brightest on display here folks.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2017 @ 3:39pm

      Re:

      Actually I just had a thought after I posted that. My juvenile antics may have gone right over your head. So let me put it terms even you can understand. Not-uh!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2017 @ 5:16pm

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2017 @ 9:44pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Ah yes, the old "Hollywood accounting" chestnut. You guys like to rationalize everything with that one, don't ya? LOL

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 12 Apr 2017 @ 12:33am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Don't attack the people actually stealing from filmmakers with creative accounting! Please! Only attack the people I don't love!"

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2017 @ 1:59am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Because while one downloaded song absolutely tanks your industry, somehow the government arm managing it can afford to waste billions of dollars and call it "small potatoes".

            You guys get paid to literally fuck up, then wonder why nobody takes you seriously.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2017 @ 4:55pm

      Re:

      Said the Prenda advocate.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 12 Apr 2017 @ 12:31am

      Re:

      "Don't block sites without due process in ways that is bound to attack innocent sites" does not mean "don't punish the sites in ways that actually work"

      Perhaps instead of being a raving idiot attacking strawmen, you should consider what people are actually saying.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2017 @ 5:21pm

    A cartoon industry censoring the interweb for profit. (they think they'll make more money, but it's false)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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