Preemptive Blocking Orders Help Greece Fight Sports Stream Piracy *TorrentFreak

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A new amendment to Greek copyright law allows domain names and IP addresses of pirate livestream sources to be blocked 24 hours before the start of an event. The legislation primarily benefits sports rights holders. So far, at least 362 domain names and 185 IP addresses have been blocked, preventing more than 100,000 people from watching pirated streams.

Blocking pirate sites was a novelty ten years ago, but today it is common practice in many countries. This is also true for Greece, where the first domains were targeted in 2018.

These blocking requests are managed by the EDPPI, a special commission of the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports which acts on complaints from rights holders.

The Greek system is different from that of many other countries because it does not involve judicial review. This is an administrative procedure that allows copyright holders to quickly request the blocking of pirate sites, without the need for lengthy and costly legal proceedings.

Since the program began, copyright holders have submitted 46 blocking requests, targeting hundreds of domain names. This includes local pirate portals but also mainstream sites such as The Pirate Bay, 1337x and YTS.

New preventive blocks

Under the due process, a total of 485 domain names have been blocked so far. However, with the help of an amendment to Greek copyright law, it is now possible to request the blocking of “live” pirate streams as well.

The amendment grants the EDPPI the power to issue preventive live blocking orders against domain names and IP addresses that provide access to live streams, such as sporting events.

These commands are sent to local ISPs at least 24 hours before the start of a live broadcast. These providers are then required to act quickly and risk being fined for every day they fail to comply.

This new amendment was adopted a few months ago and has already given rise to various complaints. Rights holders of top sporting events such as the Champions League, Premier League, MotoGP, Formula 1, ATP and NBA.

In total, the EDDPI issued 21 live blocking orders, ordering Greek ISPs to block at least 362 domain names and 185 IP addresses. These are mainly related to streaming portals or unauthorized IPTV services.

Legal options

Visitors attempting to access one of the blocked domain names are now redirected to a personalized landing page informing them that they have been blocked by EDDPI. At the same time, visitors are encouraged to research legal alternatives.

Blocking message (automatically translated)

greece blocked

Legal options are available on the “Enjoy Legal” website. This is part of the EU Intellectual Property Office’s Agorateka initiative, which keeps track of all authorized digital entertainment options in Europe.

These and other anti-piracy efforts were also shared with the US Trade Representative this week. According to the Hellenic Copyright Organization, the landing page has had more than 300,000 views since its launch on December 13, 2021.

“Since then, and up to February 11, 2022, it has been viewed over 330,000 times, reaching almost 100,000 users. Note that the actual number of blocks is much higher, as the block page is not displayed in all cases,” writes the Copyright Organization.

Whether the preventive blocking efforts will be effective in limiting livestream piracy in the long term remains to be seen, but so far rightsholders and Greek authorities are pleased with the progress made.

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