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Networking Piracy Media Movies The Internet United Kingdom

UK ISPs Secretly Start Blocking Torrent Site Proxies 82

Posted by Soulskill
from the slowly-winning-the-war dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Several UK Internet providers have quietly added a list of new sites to their secretive anti-piracy blocklists. Following in the footsteps of Sky, the first ISP to initiate a proxy blockade, Virgin, BT and several other providers now restrict access to several torrent site proxies. The surprise isn't really that proxies have been added to the blocklist, but that the music industry and ISPs are failing to disclose which sites are being banned."
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UK ISPs Secretly Start Blocking Torrent Site Proxies

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  • by Karganeth (1017580) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @07:23PM (#43979827)
    When will they begin to block general proxies, as they can be used to access blocked sites?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The order, as drafted, seems to compel this particular action, after the BPI inform them. Because they're dedicated reverse proxies and effectively therefore alternate addresses for the same site, the original order would seem to cover this.

      The order probably would not allow the blocking of a more general proxy.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Using proxies could just be made into some form of suspicious online activity.
      Under colour of law if caught/traced back you could get some "database" entry about your apparent need for secretive computer network skills.
      You have no direct contact with police, perhaps a digital sneak and peek warrant at your logs, home.
      The real fun would start if you ever needed a criminal background check or background investigation for your work or charity.
      Your company, multinational or friends invite you to 'help' at a
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Wednesday June 12, 2013 @07:41AM (#43983461) Homepage

      I don't know why this was modded funny because it is the logical conclusion of this process. The BPI and their American counterparts have been pushing for search engines to introduce copyright filters by default for years, blocking all torrent sites outright. Ideally they want a whitelist of approved sites to be returned when searching for anything music related. Rankings would depend on BPI fees paid, to ensure no indie sites get too popular.

  • How futile. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Guinness Beaumont (2901413) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @07:24PM (#43979833)
    As a site is blocked, it adapt. Like TPB, it will move, change, and persist. You can't eliminate torrenting by attacking the practice - so long as there's a drive to do it, it'll find a way.
    • Re:How futile. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @07:54PM (#43980043)

      This isn't torrent sites, it's services that allow you to circumnavigate ISPs that are already blocking access to torrent trackers.

      The big issue here is that there is a secret list of what's blocked, which could be far more than copyright infringement. Doesn't that worry you a little bit? Can't you see where all this monitoring and secret blocking is leading, and that there is no public overview on those who control it all?

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by daveime (1253762)
        > Doesn't that worry you a little bit?

        No not at all. The Court Order lists sites that can be blocked, and *dedicated* proxies that effectively point to the same place.

        It does NOT give the BPI the power to "shut down any site it wants" and other hyperbolic statements that are being bandied about in the media.

        Using Slippery Slope arguments is a nonsensical thing to do. Are you seriously trying to tell me that if they block some political activists site, he's not going to just register another doma
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is a surprise to anyone?

  • and.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by houbou (1097327) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:02PM (#43980089) Journal
    block one, something else opens.. it's quite simple. instead of trying to find a solution for this, they should just deal with the root cause. make things more affordable could perhaps be one solution, eh? :)
    • Re:and.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bloodhawk (813939) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:55PM (#43980521)
      consumers are their own worst enemy here. If we want things to get more affordable we need to stop giving them excuses. If something is too expensive then "DON'T BUY IT". by pirating it you only give them an excuse to provide more lockdowns and inflate the price more. If they saw an actual decline in consumption based on their price then maybe they would wake up. Either it is worth the money and you want it bad enough to pay for it or you don't touch the damn stuff with a 40 foot pole, there is no valid middle ground if you want things to change.
      • by aflag (941367)
        I think the regular pirate doesn't care if things change or not, because he's already getting things his way. Besides, it doesn't look like those producers will be able to end piracy any time soon. So I think the battle is already over. Pirates won.
      • I think that viewpoint is a bit too idealistic and disregards human nature. Humans have never been very good about reaching consensus and acting in concert. Just look at slashdot itself- imagine trying to get all the posters to agree on the same point and to take the same action.

        Just off the top of my head, I can think of several likely responses you will get if you propose a boycott :-
        - It's not too expensive.
        - Developers deserve to be rewarded.
        - I can afford it.
        - I hate the price but I can't live without

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        The world doesn't work like that. If a CD or DVD or book is too expensive you buy a second hand copy or rent it from the library for free. You could also just wait for it to come on the radio or the TV, or just borrow it from a friend.

        I'd love to know how many times the average BitTorrented song or TV episode is used. Most songs are probably 1 play or maybe slightly less, and TV episodes will definitely average less than 1 (download a whole series, get bored half way through...) In other words most of the t

      • If something is too expensive then "DON'T BUY IT". by pirating it you only give them an excuse to provide more lockdowns and inflate the price more.

        Game of Thrones pirated; HBO doesn't mind [npr.org].

        Also, those media companies are run by Techno-Luddites who couldn't manage their way out of a wet paper sack with a flashlight and a jackhammer, so no wonder they don't understand how to watch shows on teh intertubes without a cable subscription.

        People pirate because it is easier than being legit [theoatmeal.com]. If it was easier to pay, many would.

    • make things more affordable could perhaps be one solution, eh?

      I'm fairly sure that the Movie & Music industries would sooner make themselves look like idiots, make dopy mistakes, publish books about it, hire trolls to hit forums with anti-piracy posts, bribe governments & police forces, spend hundreds of millions on lobbyists and degrade the quality of their produced content before they even tried that!

      *fairly* sure.

      • by Ash Vince (602485) *

        .. hire trolls to hit forums with anti-piracy posts ...

        Bear in mind that some us are not paid to think the piracy is not a good thing, we actually believe it and post our own honest opinions on the matter. Not everyone who disagrees with you and your chums is a paid troll.

    • Last week, I had a gaming itch to scratch and I felt like playing the XCOM reboot. It's available for £34.99 on the App Store and I was hesitant to buy it because I wasn't sure how it would run on my Macbook with an integrated graphics. It's always a hassle trying to get a refund for purchased software so I searched online for a demo to get a feel for how it would play. After some searching, I found that the demo was only available for the Window's version.

      So I downloaded a torrent of the game.

      To my

  • The surprise isn't really that proxies have been added to the blocklist, but that the music industry and ISPs are failing to disclose which sites are being banned.

    Unless there's some law saying they have to disclose it why would they? Really, there's no surprise here. If you were running an ISP would you make a big deal of announcing all the sites your customers can't access on your service?

    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by game kid (805301)

      Exactly. They're not "failing to disclose which sites are being banned", they're succeeding in not disclosing which sites are being banned. This is by design and intention, not some consequence of an "ecosystem" [gnu.org].

  • Solution. (Score:5, Informative)

    by AndyJ (5954) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:33PM (#43980357) Homepage

    Install Opera.
    Turn on turbo browsing mode (Icon bottom left.)

    PirateProxy.net now working again for me on Virgin.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The ISPs were ordered to block particular sites by the court, and they complied with the law of the land.
    When attempting to access one of the blocked sites, the reason given for the block is clearly stated.
    Although you may not like the BPI or their motives, nobody can argue that TPB's rasion d'être is anything other than contributory copyright infringement on an industrial scale; not with a straight face, at least.

    So I fail to see any controversy here at all. Various sites have sprung up in an attempt

    • by stanIyb (2945195)

      Since censorship is evil, it's a problem whether or not it's effective.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by xenobyte (446878)

      Although you may not like the BPI or their motives, nobody can argue that TPB's rasion d'être is anything other than contributory copyright infringement on an industrial scale; not with a straight face, at least.

      I'll bite, and do so with a straight face.

      I understand if you're unable to access TPB due to government censorship but then let me enlighten you. The founding reason for TPB was to facilitate unlimited and unrestricted file sharing and to use civil disobedience to fight the misuse of copyright for commercial purposes (like using local monopolies to drive up prices). The argument has always been that a copy costs nothing for nobody and nobody loses anything while everybody have the chance to gain something.

      T

      • by Ash Vince (602485) *

        The argument has always been that a copy costs nothing for nobody and nobody loses anything while everybody have the chance to gain something.

        This is only true if you discount the fact that each copy has to contribute something towards the cost of creating the original.

        The original was very expensive to produce so that cost has to be shared out somehow, why not share it out amongst all the people who want to gain access to copy, even temporarily just for their own viewing?

        Unless you think some people should gain access to a copy for free while others should pay? That strikes me as inherently unfair.

        Try to not get stuck up on individual cases (lik

        • This is only true if you discount the fact that each copy has to contribute something towards the cost of creating the original.

          No, it doesn't. The number of copies paid for, or maybe something else altogether, needs to account for the cost of creating something. Back around last millenium, Baen Books established the Baen Free Library to distribute digital copies of books they published, free, and no strings attached, and found that it increased book sales considerably. It's almost certainly better for

          • by Ash Vince (602485) *

            The number of copies paid for, or maybe something else altogether, needs to account for the cost of creating something.

            Why is it fair though if I pay for something but you get it for free?

            Back around last millenium, Baen Books established the Baen Free Library to distribute digital copies of books they published, free, and no strings attached, and found that it increased book sales considerably.

            Probably because nobody had heard of them so doing this as a stunt got them free advertising to attract people to their product. If they were a household name beforehand though this probably would have had the opposite effect and resulted in less revenue.

            Some bands put their music out for free as a form of advertising, hoping for better sales of T-shirts and the like, or more interest in seeing them live.

            Bands make almost nothing from playing live. They make more money from selling merchandise at gigs and record sales. Most of the money from concerts goes to promoters and such.

            Also, when y

  • by gallondr00nk (868673) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:34PM (#43980371)

    At the minute, they're locked into a futile game of whack-a-mole. It makes me laugh sometimes; the BPI have more or less veto power over the major ISPs in the UK and all they can do is flail around blocking a few sites and proxies. I imagine some bitter, humourless executive in the bowels of the BPI shaking his fist and screaming "CURSE YOU INTERNET!"

    I say they're lucky, as I suspect in five years time they won't even be able to play whack-a-mole. What with censorship by various states, the NSA revelations and increasing authoritarianism, I think the next "generation" of P2P, web and messenger services are going to be anonymous. Tor we all know about, and I notice I2P shows a lot of promise. File sharing will likely be the first breakthrough anonymous application, but I2P supports far more than that and other services will quickly follow.

    I think encrypted, anonymous services will essentially be game over for censorship.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      As they already are in some cases. Encryption playing a vital role in mitigating certain things already, proxies popping up likes flies be it through main internet or tor links. This is a hydra, chop off one head, 10 grow back.

      Where there is a will there is a way. Companies like this will never win. Best tactic? Make things in forms the consumers want at prices that are considerably reasonable and stop ripping off arists/developers etc. Will it remove it completely? no, there will always be thieves, will it

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:35PM (#43980389)

    Hi

    I just attempted to setup a proxy on my dedicated server at a datacentre in France.

    It was blocked instantly

    Tried a few other things, also blocked instantly

    Tried running the webserver on port 800 thinking perhaps transparent webproxying at the ISP level was blocking it

    It wasn't.

    Got someone in japan to try it, it worked, got someone on a different ISP in the UK to try it, blocked.

    There's clearly some sort of packet inspection going on and anything that comes up TPB is blocked in the UK.

    • Did "a few other things" include different DNS servers? I haven't used file sharing sites for years (Nothing worth the hassle of finding cracks has been released, and Steam Just Works(tm)), but I am so very sorely tempted to start to VPN everything at the router.

      Has anyone created a Chrome / Firefox plugin to make PGP email encryption easy for web clients?
    • by rdnetto (955205)

      So presumably, HTTPS would be effective.

  • VPNs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Skapare (16644) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:15PM (#43980671) Homepage

    “The court orders obtained in relation to The Pirate Bay cover not only the site itself, but also sites which have the sole or predominant purpose of providing access to The Pirate Bay. It would not be right to allow proxy sites flagrantly to circumvent blocks ordered by the High Court. We do not publish the names of proxies and it would not be appropriate for us to do so,” a BPI spokesperson said.

    Well, if they expect VPN providers to block the pirate sites, they will have to provide them with a list. If they fail to provide them with a list, then it is crystal clear that they have no intention to have them block pirate sites.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      VPN providers might have a .com name and could use US/EU credit card clearing infrastructure.
      When provided with an ip, port, time - the request would be crystal clear - user CC/logs details or UK~EU~US "money laundering" "counter-terrorism" clauses start getting spun up.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:39PM (#43980855)

    It's an open secret that about 75% of english-language TV worth watching, comes from the UK. I don't care how much the UK government works against the interest of its own citizens, but interfering with the cappers' ability to get their video to me, is anti-American. And Americans don't take kindly to other governments having anti-American policies. Fucking with me, is my government's job.

    It's open season on Redcoats. PART 2, BIATCH!

    • by crutchy (1949900)

      Fucking with me, is my government's job

      +1, american faceplant

    • by gravis777 (123605)

      So are you saying we are going to declair open war on the Brits to give us more Doctor Who, Red Dwarf, and Britain's Got Talent? .....

      Actually, I like this idea, where do I sign up!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What would happen if proxies were set up on IPv6. Even though none of these 'top' UK ISPs offer native IPv6, customers could still access them using Teredo? I suspect that few, if any, of these ISP have the capability to filter IPv6 sites

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This block only seems to affect the big ISPs like BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin. Many of the smaller companies aren't part of these schemes and aren't being targetted by the court orders. Just switch your business to one of them!

    • by jez9999 (618189)

      A list would be useful. There are a bunch of "other" ISPs and presumably some of them are better on censorship than others.

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