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ISPs in the UK Have Blocked Over 7,000 Pirate Domains in 2024

ISPs in the UK Blocking Pirate Domains

The UK’s leading internet service providers (ISPs) were mandated to block over 7,000 domains from the public.

This effort aimed primarily at disrupting pirate IPTV services that offer live sports and other live broadcasts. The music, movie, and publishing industries also continued their blocking programs, reflecting a persistent effort to combat online piracy.

The Evolution of Site Blocking in the UK

Next month marks the 13th anniversary of the first site blocking injunction in the UK. The journey began when major Hollywood studios targeted the Usenet indexing site Newzbin, leading to ISP BT being ordered to block the service.

This was merely the beginning of an evolving strategy, and today, major UK ISPs such as BT, Virgin Media, and Sky support site blocking requests, despite the increasing complexity involved.

Mechanisms of Site Blocking

Blocking injunctions in the UK allow rightsholders to block domains, subdomains, and IP addresses based on the targeted services and the type of injunction obtained.

Static piracy websites are generally tackled by blocking domains and subdomains, which pirate sites often deploy en masse to circumvent blocking measures.

This is not the first time TROYPOINT has covered ISPs blocking domains from the public:

Specialist ‘live’ blocking injunctions targeting IPTV providers are usually confidential and temporary, aimed at preventing piracy of specific events like football matches in the UK’s Premier League.

These blocks are challenging to track, with one major exception being the blocking carried out for broadcaster Sky following an injunction obtained in 2023.

Pirate Site/Service Blocking in the First Half of 2024

Specific details of the blocking activities remain unavailable to the public. However, the volume of fully-qualified domain names (FQDN) blocked as a result of Sky’s order positions the broadcaster as the most prolific requester of blocks in the UK for the first half of 2024.

fully-qualified domain names (FQDN) blocked by Sky
Image Source: TorrentFreak

This led pirate services to deploy thousands of subdomains in an effort to mitigate blocking, contributing to the significant increase in blocking activities.

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) also targeted hundreds of domains/subdomains featuring terms like ‘mp3juice’ or variations thereof.

The music industry group remained busy trying to block various unblocking portals that circumvent blocks on traditional sites, including The Pirate Bay, TorrentDownloads, 1337x, and LimeTorrents.

For the Motion Picture Association (MPA), variants of 123movies, movies123, soap2day, putlocker, solarmovie, lookmovie, and bflix maintained their status as persistent irritants.

These brands presented users with an impenetrable sea of clones and look-a-likes, increasing the risk of malware infections. Sifting through numerous copycat domains to find legitimate sites has become virtually impossible, raising cybersecurity concerns.

The Future of Site Blocking and Piracy

The second half of 2024 is likely to see a continuation of these efforts. Whether increased blocking will effectively reduce piracy rates remains a question.

In summary, the UK’s approach to combating online piracy through site blocking has evolved significantly over the past 13 years. The efforts by ISPs, rightsholders, and industry groups reflect a determined stance against piracy.

Yet, the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of piracy poses ongoing challenges, with the effectiveness of these measures remaining a topic of debate.


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For more details on this story, refer to the report from TorrentFreak.

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Notable Replies

  1. ISPs seem to be fighting an unwinnable battle. I cannot recall a post on TP Insider saying that all access to video, music or books of a certain type has been cut off. One site is blocked, and a clone reemerges. The fearmongering of cybersecurity hacks, viruses etc isn’t working either. How many Insiders have been hacked through streaming?

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