Hollywood, Netflix Obtain High Court Order To Block 15 Major Pirate Websites * TorrentFreak
One of the major anti-piracy strategies of the film and television industries is site blocking, whereby Internet service providers are forced, by court order, to deny subscribers access to specified domains. .
Due to limited transparency, it’s difficult to say exactly how many domains are blocked by ISPs in the UK, but it could number in the thousands after more than a decade of lawsuits. What is becoming more and more evident is that it still does not give the desired results. Blocking reduces traffic to targeted domains, but replacements appear extremely quickly.
To counter this threat, Hollywood studios such as Columbia, Disney, Paramount, Universal and Warner, along with relative newcomer Netflix, regularly come back to the UK High Court to ask for more domains to be blocked. Their latest request, which has now been accepted, shows that even relatively obscure sites can generate staggering levels of traffic in a relatively short time.
Application for injunction to the High Court
The latest app covers 15 sites operating from 17 domains (detailed below). None of the sites offer illegal content on their own platforms, but bundle links to pirated movies and TV shows hosted on third-party providers.
This content is made available via an on-board player on each of the domains so that, from the user’s perspective, the fact that the content is hosted elsewhere is not immediately apparent. All sites received notices of copyright infringement prior to filing, but none of them responded.
Domains to block
0123films.net: This streaming platform currently sees around 1.6 million visits per month according to statistics from SimilarWeb, with around 40% of visitors coming from the UK.
1-2-3films.com: As of last summer, this site was seeing around 7 million visits, but for reasons that are not immediately clear, traffic has dropped to just 1 million before falling back to the 3 million mark more recently. About 12% of the site’s traffic comes from the UK.
123filmsfree.love: Traffic to this movie and TV show streaming site appeared to peak at 14 million visits per month in September, but has recently fallen by almost half to “only” 7.7 million. About 14% of site visitors are from the UK.
cmovies.ac / cmovies.online: As of August, this platform was serving around 7.5 million users, but since then the traffic has drastically reduced to almost nothing.
flixhq.ru: As of this writing, this streaming portal appears to have around 4.2 million visitors per month, but that’s only a fraction of the traffic generated so far this year. Over the summer, the domain received 31 million hits, of which around 5% came from the UK.
fmovies.co: The traffic of this domain during the last months is stable around 8 million visits. It is most popular in the United States, with about a third of its visitors coming from the country. However, the UK appears to be increasing its share and although this is only 10% of overall traffic, it is more than 50% up from the previous month.
gototub.com: This area is also on a downward trend, dropping from 7.5 million visits in the summer to around 6 million today. It is most popular in the United States, with the United Kingdom accounting for 8% of the traffic.
hurawatch.ru: Surprisingly popular with around 30 million visits per month in August, this is another area that is losing traffic for unknown reasons. With 7.6 million visits per month currently, around 28% come from the United States, with the United Kingdom and Australia lagging behind at 12% and 9% respectively.
sflix.to: It’s a pretty big one. The movies and TV shows portal describes itself as “not technically a legal site” on its main page, but that doesn’t appear to be a deterrent. Last month, the site saw 25 million visits, of which around 19% were from the United States and 12% from the United Kingdom.
soap2day.video: This site has a familiar branding image that has likely contributed to its success, but from 28 million visits per month in August, it now has “only” 13 million. With just over a fifth (22%) of its traffic coming from the UK, the site is equally popular in India.
tvshows88.com: From 20 million hits in June to just 3 million now, this streaming site is clearly on a downtrend. Popular anti-malware tools are flagging the domain as problematic, which may have contributed to its decline.
watchserieshd.ru: With 27 million visits each month, 17% from the UK, it is an extremely popular area. It also triggers malware warnings that can pose a risk to users. Still, the studios want it blocked in the UK, to prevent further growth.
zoechip.com: This site is the last of the high traffic domains with around 8 million hits per month. Just over a quarter are from the United States (28%) and 12% from the United Kingdom. 123films.vu, 123-films.gy, and onionplay.se complete the list, all with fairly limited traffic.
Request for injunction granted
In a ruling by Judge Adam Johnson, the High Court found that all sites infringe copyright by disclosing copyrighted works to the public, contrary to copyright, designs and patents law ( CDPA) of 1988. The Court also found that the operators of the sites carry out their activity for profit, which puts them in contradiction with a decision of 2016 of the Court of Justice of the EU.
In addition, the court found that the websites infringed copyright by allowing infringing acts of copying by their users.
“This is because the streaming process causes the user’s computer or device to create copies of the content in the device’s memory, which constitutes an act of infringement under the Article 17 (1) of the CDPA “, states the decision.
BT, EE, Plusnet, Sky UK, TalkTalk and Virgin Media ISPs are now required to block domains.
The decision can be found here