Torrent Sites Stay Blocked Long After World Cup Ends
Legal action taken against hundreds of torrent, streaming and other file-sharing sites has far exceeded its stated aims. After blacking out the sites across several ISPs, FIFA affiliates hoped that piracy of the World Cup would be reduced. But weeks after the tournament ended the sites remain blocked with no sign of a retraction.
While news of site blockades breaks every month (oftentimes more frequently) reports that sites have been unblocked are far less regular events.
In fact, it’s becoming apparent that aside from isolated instances, once websites get put on national blocklists in the UK or Italy, for example, it is unlikely that they will become readily available again.
Since no one in power is lobbying for blocked sites to be removed from censorship filters, sites such as The Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents will probably remain blocked indefinitely. There are no immediately obvious time-out events attached to these injunctions and there’s certainly no one prepared to go to court to argue over the details.
Such sunset clauses are important though, as India is finding out.
Back in July a TV network owned by Sony went to court in India to have hundreds of sites blocked at the ISP level after they allegedly made World Cup matches available online without permission.
The 472 sites requested was reduced to 219 after an appeal by ISPs, but the injunction was still one of the broadest to date anywhere in the world. Whether it reduced piracy or placed money in Sony’s back pocket is anyone’s guess, but now – long after the World Cup ended – the blockades are still in place.
Medianama says it has carried out tests and discovered that The Pirate Bay, Mega.co.nz, TorrentHound, LimeTorrents and TorrentFunk among dozens of others are still inaccessible through local ISPs.
The news outlet also contacted Multi Screen Media, the Sony company behind the blocks, asking whether the company had asked for the blocks to be removed and why Dotcom’s Mega was targeted. The company did not respond.
While some will argue that having sites blocked is a legitimate response to online piracy, it is difficult to maintain that stance long after any infringements cited in court cases have ended. That said, ex parte hearings are by their nature one-side, so it’s unlikely anyone will be looking out for the rights of their rivals anytime soon.