Spanish ISPs blocked 869 domains and subdomains in 2021 to prevent piracy *TorrentFreak

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Following the signing of a voluntary code of conduct between rightsholders and internet service providers in Spain, the government is now reporting on the results of the first year. Overall, the vast majority of providers have taken action to make 869 domains and subdomains inaccessible to subscribers, in an effort to prevent illegal access to millions of movies, TV shows, video games and books electronics.

After more than a decade of rights holders using the legal system to compel ISPs to block sites on copyright infringement grounds, thousands of domains are being blocked by national service providers.

According to rights holders, this type of action is necessary to prevent unauthorized access to pirated movies, TV shows and music, thereby stimulating legitimate consumption. The downside is that the associated legal proceedings are complex, expensive and not particularly timely.

The response in some areas has been the introduction of voluntary agreements between rights holders and ISPs to block allegedly infringing sites without the need for legal proceedings.

Spanish companies sign protocol in 2021

In April 2021, the Coalition of Content Creators and Industries, an association representing the local entertainment industry, along with partners including internet service providers (98% of the country’s ISPs), signed a voluntary protocol aimed at protecting intellectual property rights.

The agreement, which was drawn up under the supervision of the General Directorate of Cultural Industries, Intellectual Property and Cooperation of the Government, is the result of meetings that began in March 2020. The final text, reviewed and approved by Commission Nationale des Marches et de la Concurrence (CNMC), addressed websites declared to be involved in serious infringements of copyright.

The agreement was to block these sites, to prevent Internet users from accessing them, at least by ordinary means. After nine months of operations, the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Sports claims that hundreds of domains and subdomains have already been blocked under the protocol.

869 blocked domains and subdomains

According to a previous report published in September 2021 (pdf), in the first six months of the protocol, 500 domains and subdomains, making available hundreds of thousands of counterfeit files, were blocked by ISPs. This number has since increased.

“A total of 172 Internet domains and 697 subdomains were blocked in 2021 to prevent illegal access to millions of works (books, musical or audiovisual works, video games) protected by intellectual property rights”, reports the Ministry.

“The blockages are the result of the work of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, through the General Directorate of Cultural Industries, Intellectual Property and Cooperation, of rights holders and Internet service providers who have signed the Protocol for the Strengthening of the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights.”

The government describes the protocol as working well and working towards a digital ecosystem that respects content creators and telecommunications companies, while benefiting consumers, jobs, the economy, as well as ” society as a whole”.

Quick responses to complaints, fight against mirror sites

In 2021, the “Technical Committee” representing the parties to the protocol submitted 32 blocking consultations, almost weekly. Each time, it has complied precisely with submission requirements that involve verification processes. The Ministry of Culture and Sports says that in all cases it responded within 72 hours and in many cases within 36 hours.

Like other countries implementing blocking, Spain also has a problem with blocked sites reappearing in new locations. According to the ministry, this issue is addressed as part of the agreement.

“Among other measures, it was agreed to regulate a comprehensive response to judicial and administrative resolutions on the offending pages of their “mirror site” or replicas, created under other domains or subdomains to evade current legislation and judicial restraint orders,” the department said. adds.

Rightsholders and associated groups participating in the agreement include AIE (Artists, Performers and Performers), AEVI (Spanish Association of Video Games), AGEDI-PROMUSICAE, SGAE (General Society of Authors and publishers), CEDRO (Spanish Center for Reproduction Rights), EGEDA (Audiovisual Producers Rights Management Entity), FEDICINE (Federation of Film Distributors) and FGEE (Federation of Publishers Corporations of Spain).

The extension of the agreement to other players in the content industries is also in progress.

“At this time, the Ministry of Culture and Sports encourages other agents of the digital ecosystem to adhere to this Protocol, which makes it possible to achieve a great agreement for the reinforcement of the protection of fundamental rights on the Internet which benefits the whole of society”, concludes the ministry.

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