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Books Censorship Piracy The Courts United Kingdom Your Rights Online

High Court Orders UK ISPs To Block EBook Sites 138

An anonymous reader writes: The UK High Court has ordered British ISPs to block seven websites that help users find unauthorized copies of eBooks. Under the order, BT, Virgin, Sky, EE and TalkTalk must block AvaxHome, Bookfi, Bookre, Ebookee, Freebookspot, Freshwap and LibGen within the next ten days. “We are very pleased that the High Court has granted this order and, in doing so, recognizes the damage being inflicted on UK publishers and authors by these infringing websites,” says Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of The Publishers Association. “A third of publisher revenues now come from digital sales but unfortunately this rise in the digital market has brought with it a growth in online infringement. Our members need to be able to protect their authors’ works from such illegal activity; writers need to be paid and publishers need to be able to continue to innovate and invest in new talent and material.”
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High Court Orders UK ISPs To Block EBook Sites

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  • by dhaen ( 892570 ) on Thursday May 28, 2015 @03:09AM (#49788781)
    I'll have to take a look.
    • Soon (Score:5, Funny)

      by GoddersUK ( 1262110 ) on Thursday May 28, 2015 @03:16AM (#49788803)

      The UK High Court has ordered British ISPs to block a website that helps users find several websites that help users find unauthorized copies of eBooks. Under the order, BT, Virgin, Sky, EE and TalkTalk must block Slashdot within the next ten days. “We are very pleased that the High Court has granted this order and, in doing so, recognizes the damage being inflicted on UK publishers and authors by this infringing website,” says Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of The Publishers Association. “A third of publisher revenues now come from digital sales but unfortunately this rise in the digital market has brought with it a growth in online infringement. Our members need to be able to protect their authors’ works from such illegal activity; writers need to be paid and publishers need to be able to continue to innovate and invest in new talent and material.”

      • by dhaen ( 892570 )
        Yes I read the article thanks. I doubt an ISP block would prevent those on on this forum from visiting if they wanted. However, many like me hadn't heard of those resources. That makes me wonder how much revenue they are actually losing.
        • I think you missed the modifications I made to the summary ;)
        • Re:Soon (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TyFoN ( 12980 ) on Thursday May 28, 2015 @03:35AM (#49788885)

          I have to say, I never hard of these sites either.
          Thank The Publishers Association for the tip :)

          Nah I'll still buy my stuff.. But I wonder how something like this can progress as far as to court without someone telling the execs how futile it is to block websites.

          • by KGIII ( 973947 )

            I wonder why they did not just block search engines? They work just as well, throw a few switches/words and you will get the same result. One site linking to many does not a difference make.

        • by Yomers ( 863527 )

          That makes me wonder how much revenue they are actually losing.

          Clearly not enough.

        • by doccus ( 2020662 )
          T^he only one I ever heard of was avaxhome.. a very popular (and good!) Russian site (at least I think it's russian). I wouldn't be half surprised if all the others on that list are also Russian. How would an ISP block them, however? The only mechanism I know about would be DNS blocking, whenthe DNS server is supplied by the ISP.. Is there some new British trick where pages of certain sites could be selectively blocked? If so, how long before "politically sensitive" human rights pages would be blocked, or w
          • by dhaen ( 892570 )
            Although I'm an avid reader of books and I believe in a free (as in freedoms) internet, it is a difficult balance between control and anarchy (the modern meaning of). Authors of books should have the incentive to earn a living from publishing their work but it seems that the few consumers who find a way to access works at no cost create an excuse for censorship. Censorship need have no limits, and in particular can be used as a method of control.

            My original post was merely a jest of the Streisand effect;

            • by doccus ( 2020662 )
              I really don't know where that line is, but I think I have a very good idea. Most of these so-called "blogs" that people share these items on, are created purely for profit. They list books and audio video content, add a cursory review (and often not even that) and monetize their site. If these sites didn't allow, or if ISPs didn't allow, people sharing copyrighted content to profit from it, it would quicky revert back to a few people sharing something purely out of a desire to share, period.
              • by doccus ( 2020662 )
                I should add that this is one way to avoid censorship, while taking a bite out of copyright infringement.
          • How would an ISP block them, however? The only mechanism I know about would be DNS blocking, whenthe DNS server is supplied by the ISP.. Is there some new British trick where pages of certain sites could be selectively blocked? If so, how long before "politically sensitive" human rights pages would be blocked, or whistle blower pages?

            CleanFeed [wikipedia.org], built by British Telecom to block access to child abuse imagery, sold to other ISPs, then inevitably abused as a blunt instrument to enforce copyrights. It's a two-

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, thank you, didn't know most of them, now I have plenty of sites to search for books.

      You'd think High Court judges would be more familiar with common terms such as Streisand effect, but thank god they aren't, or thank buddha or anyone else you might like to thank, I thank the UK high court judges.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 28, 2015 @03:20AM (#49788821)

    It started out with a politicial promise: We won't ever block more than this secret list of child pornography maintained by the "internet watch foundation". In the meantime there's a general porn filter (with weasel wording in the law turning "opt-in" and "opt-out" on their heads), the music industry got a couple blocks in, and so the book industry couldn't stay behind, now could they? More importantly: Who's next?

    • by qpqp ( 1969898 )

      Who's next?

      movie4k and alluc, obviously.

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        My favorites folder is now so full it is bursting. Folders are cheap and bandwidth is a static cost. Keep them coming. :D

        VIPBox and ZMovie are a couple that are rather reliable. Not much beats a little education and Google though.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Who's next?

      Sorry, that information has been blocked.

    • by Yomers ( 863527 )
      That is a classified program developed by UK Ministry of Education, aimed at increasing computer literacy and promote awareness privacy enhancing tools like VPN and tor. They copied idea from Iran, where similar strategy has lead to a great success - reportedly more than 60 percent of Iranian internet surfers regularly use VPN. There are rumors that next step in this initiative will be blocking of porn sites in UK - a very strong move that will ensure that a growing generation will be unstoppable by any att
  • Consumption's up (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GoddersUK ( 1262110 ) on Thursday May 28, 2015 @03:28AM (#49788855)

    From TFS:

    this rise in the digital market has brought with it a growth in online infringement

    I'm willing to bet consumption, both legitimate and illegitimate, is up; so I wonder how much damage this "rise in piracy" is actually doing. At the end of the day I could go and hunt down a pirate copy of the book I need, find a website that actually allows me to download it, avoid the viruses and so forth. Or I could just buy it easily from Amazon, and strip the DRM for backup purposes. You see the legitimate content has a massive advantage here: It's much easier to get and comes with the ability to sync notes etc. with the cloud (if you don't mind Amazon knowing your reading habits), while it's not too difficult to remove the DRM for a backup copy.

    If I was a publisher I'd be far more worried that this incentivises me to read older, public domain books. Before I still had to go to the bookshop and buy them, and a publisher could probably get new books out at a competitive price if they wanted, whereas now I can just get them free from Guttenberg (or even Amazon themselves). And with many publishers trying to charge almost the same for a Kindle book as a print book I rarely buy new books for my Kindle, if I want to read one of them I buy the dead tree version instead. But often I just find some public domain reading material [arkhamarchivist.com] and the publishers loose my custom.

    • Re:Consumption's up (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 28, 2015 @04:01AM (#49788951)

      I'm willing to bet consumption, both legitimate and illegitimate, is up; so I wonder how much damage this "rise in piracy" is actually doing.

      Quite a bit less than the whiny "we want to be last to market" bitches that keep suing their customers and otherwise treat them like crap. If you ignore the paid-for "studies" the effect is actually net positive. You have to remember that these are intangible "culture goods" that gain value with sharing.

      That is, such goods make more money for the owners if more people have access to them. It's no secret that "airplay" is the be-all end-all for artists on radio and tv. Yet the focus of the big content cartel is on tightly controlling [torrentfreak.com] the material.

      The late owner of Baen Books did the reverse, giving away for free a number of electronic books, calling it a license to print money [baenebooks.com].

      IOW, if you ignore their own propaganda, the available sources, studies, and indications paint the sharing-decriers a bunch of doodie-heads.

      If I was a publisher I'd be far more worried that this incentivises me to read older, public domain books.

      Well, there's one reason why copyrights get extended every time the mouse threatens to become public domain. In fact, eg. google books considers re-issues of old, even centuries old, material to come with fresh copyright so things like the Illiad in a recent publication is considered protected under current terms as if it was published yesterday.

      Yet at the same time over in Europe there's various countries that have country-wide rules propping up book prices to enable retention of large back-catalogues. So you pay more for every book including new ones because, you know, retaining old books in print is otherwise not profitable, or so the narrative goes. Make of that what you will.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      so I wonder how much damage this "rise in piracy" is actually doing.

      None. Piracy increases income.

      At the end of the day I could go and hunt down a pirate copy of the book I need, find a website that actually allows me to download it, avoid the viruses and so forth. Or I could just buy it easily from Amazon, and strip the DRM for backup purposes. You see the legitimate content has a massive advantage here: It's much easier to get and comes with the ability to sync notes etc. with the cloud (if you don't mind Amazon knowing your reading habits), while it's not too difficult to remove the DRM for a backup copy.

      Most people just prefer to head over to a trusted torrent site, free from viruses and the like, and download a clean DRM-free copy. It's easier and quicker, and if they are young or don't have a credit card it is also affordable and possible for them to do. Pirate copies are always the best quality ones, unless the vendor goes DRM free, and even then... eBooks are relatively easy to convert from one format to another, but movies and music are more hassle and why would people bo

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        so I wonder how much damage this "rise in piracy" is actually doing.

        None. Piracy increases income.

        I say the answer is actually more nuanced than that.

        If you're a popular author, perhaps writing some rather popular erotic fiction, or vampires, or something, piracy probably has a measurable impact on the bottom line. But measurable in the sense that well, so instead of making $1,050,000, you only made $1M. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, it's a tiny amount of money.,

        For indie authors, piracy does ha

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Most ebooks don't come with DRM attached. The hysteria on display in the comments here is hilarious - scumbags are stealing the hard work of authors - many of whom are completely independent these days - for their own financial gain, and people are clutching their pearls that said scumbags got blocked. As much as I'm in favour of freedom of information I don't see why take-a-punt Pavel in Assbacketonia should be seeing a red cent for the hard work put in by hundreds of thousands of writers. There's no part

      • Most ebooks don't come with DRM attached.

        I find myself curious as to which world you live in...

        Amazon's Kindle format comes with DRM (just got a note from B&N telling me that they're no longer allowed to do unencrypted Kindle format for their eBooks (though they provided a helpful guide to removing the DRM for backup purposes).

        Default for most Nook books is encrypted ePub, though there are a few publishers that don't require encrypted ePub.

        So, where are the "most books" coming from that are not DRM'd

        • Amazon's Kindle format is DRM-optional, and when the bookseller is telling people how to strip out the DRM it may as well not exist. Not that it matters in the slightest, that a book has DRM applied to it doesn't give criminals the right to profit from the hard work of others, which was the point being made.

    • Re:Consumption's up (Score:5, Interesting)

      by FireFury03 ( 653718 ) <slashdot@nexus[ ]org ['uk.' in gap]> on Thursday May 28, 2015 @07:56AM (#49789581) Homepage

      Or I could just buy it easily from Amazon, and strip the DRM for backup purposes.

      My take on this is that if I'm required to infringe copyright on a legally purchased product in order to make sensible use of it, why should I actually purchase it instead of just infringing copyright and getting it for free from a torrent?

      For the record, I don't do either - I've steered away from ebooks entirely until the publishers stop taking the piss. Since books were invented there have been various generally accepted things that everyone did with them that ebooks don't allow you to do: e.g. if I buy a paper book, I can read it, then pass it on to my wife to read, lend it to a friend to read, stick it on the book shelf for years, then hand it onto kids to read, who can hand it onto their kids, or I can sell it, etc. Compare to the T&Cs of Google Play (as an example) which say that I'm not even allowed to lend my tablet to my wife so that she could read an ebook I purchased, let alone actually transfer it to someone else's device. When I can get ebooks with the same rights as I have for paper books, I'll think about buying some.

      • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

        I agree with you. That's why, as an author, I chose for my ebooks not to have any DRM. I'd rather someone who enjoyed my book lend it to a friend or family member and have them also enjoy it than not buy because of the DRM.

        Frankly, I also don't really care how many individual readers download one of my books for their own enjoyment, especially if they take a moment to post a review or recommend it to someone else. That's darn near close enough to payment as far as I'm concerned. I do draw the line at anyone

      • My take on this is that if I'm required to infringe copyright on a legally purchased product in order to make sensible use of it, why should I actually purchase it instead of just infringing copyright and getting it for free from a torrent?

        Because of the moral argument: while both of those may be illegal only one of them is immoral.

        (Pedantic moment:Also DRM removal, while often illegal, is not copyright infringement.)

        • Because of the moral argument: while both of those may be illegal only one of them is immoral.

          I'd counter that by saying that supporting publishers that over-restrict the public's rights is immoral.

          (Pedantic moment:Also DRM removal, while often illegal, is not copyright infringement.)

          DRM removal is covered by the European Union *COPYRIGHT* Directive, and the US's Digital Millennium *COPYRIGHT* Act.

          • DRM removal is covered by the European Union *COPYRIGHT* Directive, and the US's Digital Millennium *COPYRIGHT* Act.

            So? It's illegal. It's still only copyright infringement if you then use the work in some way you're not licensed to.

  • How long before all traffic other than Netflix and Hulu appears to originate and end in Eastern Europe? For a few things (like those mentioned) it helps to be inside a specific zone, but for just about everything else, it helps to be outside the heavy-handed, censoring regimes.

    • by Skapare ( 16644 )
      or just use the Google DNS server at 8.8.8.8 (or 8.8.4.4 or 2001:4860:4860::8888 or 2001:4860:4860::8844)
      • Re:VPNs and proxies (Score:5, Informative)

        by Mal-2 ( 675116 ) on Thursday May 28, 2015 @06:56AM (#49789371) Homepage Journal

        Using outside DNS doesn't help if the carrier is blocking access to an IP address.

        BTW another alternate DNS you can add to your list: Velocity Networks (Los Angeles): 206.126.128.2 - it's not as easy to remember as 8.8.8.8 or 8.8.4.4 for sure, but some people don't want to be bound to Google.

        • BT don't (and I don't think Virgin do either). They just alter their DNS records to point to a different server.

          UK users would be better off using the OpenDNS servers than Velocity's.

        • No but Tor browser does, There is not a site I can't go to on that, regardless what the ISP has "blocked" :D just don't torrent through it, that's wrong, download it and click the torrent file once you have closed the browser :D and to the Government and courts, Fuck you
      • Or just run your own DNS Server and don't worry about your ISP messing with your DNS traffic.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    • Re:VPNs and proxies (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bool2 ( 1782642 ) on Thursday May 28, 2015 @06:04AM (#49789263) Homepage
      How long before Mozilla integrates a TOR client, available by default, for browsing to .onion addresses? It could also have an "Unblock this site" toolbar button which adds a blocked site to a "browse-over-tor" list and refreshes the page. If that's not been done already, that'd make a great plugin.
      • Re:VPNs and proxies (Score:5, Informative)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo AT world3 DOT net> on Thursday May 28, 2015 @07:50AM (#49789551) Homepage Journal

        https://piratebrowser.com/ [piratebrowser.com]

        Firefox with Tor pre-integrated and configured. Give the link to your friends.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        There is already a Tor client in Firefox, it's called Tor Browser Bundle... TBB.
        But that is half baked and the WRONG approach to solve the problem.
        What needs to happen is that the ENTIRE FILSHARING ECOSYSTEM needs to go underground into the darknets.
        All these blocked websites need to move onto anonymous networks. That's MOVE, permanently, not multihome.
        ALL your torrenting needs to be done with you and all peers and trackers being ONLY and ENTIRELY within anonymous networks.
        Those networks can be I2P, Phantom

  • so, is the UK going to have any internet access left once everyone has gotten everything they do not like? welcome to the age of fascism. franco, mussolini, the stasi, etc. would all have huge boners if they were around for this, the surveillance age :)
    • by amias ( 105819 )

      > BT, Virgin, Sky, EE and TalkTalk

      there are many other ISP's in the uk who do not respond to censorship requests.

      I use andrews and arnold and they don't filter anything , not cheap but they are very good.

      almost all of this filtering is at DNS level anyway so its trivial to bypass it if you know the ip or can find a valid ip.

      Internet censorship is only attempted by people who fundamentally fail to understand it.

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Thursday May 28, 2015 @03:32AM (#49788877) Journal
    Fortunately, this can't happen in America. In America, they can only seize the domain, remove it from the search engines, send a DMCA notice, accuse you of hacking, but not block the website.
  • Whac-A-Mole (Score:4, Funny)

    by Gaxx ( 76064 ) on Thursday May 28, 2015 @04:12AM (#49788979)

    I think, as a Brit, I can explain the way the law has been structured here...

    You see, culturally we love Whac-A-Mole style games. The current decision-making generation having grown up with them in arcades and fairs and there is a massive sense of nostalgia for them.

    Hence, when there is an opportunity to enact legislation that has you striking down a website only to encourage dozens of near-identical ones to pop up overnight... well - we go all starry-eyed and start humming old 8-bit arcade tunes to ourselves.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Things are going to get exponentially worse in the UK- a model of state Internet censorship is being carefully crafted here in order to encourage oppressive States in the West's sphere of influence to do the same, using Britain as the excuse. The purpose is not really to censor Brits, but to give justification to African, Asian and Middle East hell-holes to 'copy' the 'mother of Parliaments' and remove free Internet access form their citizens.

    In Britain, one can just VPN past these minor irritants. In the n

  • writers need to be paid and publishers need

    ... do not make right.

  • by hsa ( 598343 ) on Thursday May 28, 2015 @05:16AM (#49789113)
    Don't you guys care at all?

    First they started censoring child porn. This is totally acceptable, child porn is bad. Nobody dared to say anything.

    Then they started censoring pirate sites. This was for the children also, I guess. People objecting these changes are mean pirates! Don't listen to them!

    Then they started censoring youtube videos with "dubious" political agenda. When some people complained, it was "only an option to remove videos", blaah blaah blaah.

    Now they are starting to censor books.

    While there is still time, I suggest you read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and 1984 by Georgy Orwell. That should give you a pretty good picture where this is going..

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      This is hardly something new. Books have been censored since before the invention of the printing press, especially if they are about the secret services or might leak information that the government considers sensitive. Before the internet the BBFC pretty effectively controlled what British people could see. There is a specific law allowing the government to censor newspapers.

      Despite the on-going assault on freedom, we are winning and will continue to win. The internet massively increased our freedom and b

      • It also seems like people are actually taking some notice, and we're winning some battles here and there. SOPA. Patriot Act expiration (we hope). We're seeing judges take notice that the government going through your phone or computer is not the same as rummaging through a backpack at a border/airport security check.

        Not saying "the tide has turned" or anything, and there are miles to go, but getting fucked in the ass no longer seems like a foregone conclusion.

    • Don't you guys care at all?

      I'm in the UK, I've read 1984 and I do care. And, like many of us, I didn't vote for this stupid government.
      As for ISP's, on Plus Net currently, but I'm all ready to switch to Andrews & Arnold at the drop of a hat if any of this crap gets in the way of my internet use (or possibly when I actually need IPV6, whichever happens first) Incidentally, Cameron is quite likely pleased about the Eu threat to make internet censorship illegal. He'll play the "think of the children" card for all it's worth in the

      • by Mouldy ( 1322581 )

        ...like most of us, I didn't vote for this stupid government.

        FTFY. Disproportional voting got us into this mess. But parties voted in aren't exactly going to change the way votes are counted.

        /still bitter

        • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

          Labour might consider it now. With the probably long-term loss of Scotland, FPTP doesn't really give them much benefit over proportional representation, but it benefits the Tories a lot.

      • by tomxor ( 2379126 )

        I'm in the UK too, and as much as this ever steepening slippery slope has accelerated - i've passed through the phase of caring what ill conceived ideas politicians attempt to subject their corner of the internet to.

        Instead i think we need to thank them in the same way that we thank malicious users for highlighting a poor design, the internet needs to be more decentralised (yes i know darknet etc, but it needs to be decentralised and un-cencorable for everyone, not just some obscure part of the web). Well e

      • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

        Cameron has a plan to get us out of Europe? Seemed like he wanted to keep us in to me.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      While there is still time, I suggest you read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and 1984 by Georgy Orwell. That should give you a pretty good picture where this is going..

      I would, but my favourite online book site seem to be down.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Now they are starting to censor books

      Strawman much?!? What a load of crap. I'm not pro-censorship but they ARE NOT CENSORING BOOKS. No more than arresting (actual Captain Phillips type) pirates is censoring free trade.

    • by Calydor ( 739835 )

      1984 by Georgy Orwell

      I tried to a while back, but it mysteriously vanished off of my reader.

  • from TFA:

    More than 120 domains are currently blocked by the country’s major ISPs

    so how are they blocking domains? in DNS?

    • Yes, for sites like TPB and the ones listed in TFA. Others, like child porn sites, are subject to DPI.

  • UK ISPs could buy this technology from China

  • Just add "filetype:torrent" to your search or any other filetype you want.

  • Tomorrow there will be 20 new sites.
  • I want to thank the high court as well to have alerted me to a handful of sites I didn't know about, to illegally download my books from.

    Perhaps even one where I can learn not to finish my sentences with a preposition.

  • For those too lazy to Google, here are the links to save.

    http://libgen.org/ [libgen.org]
    http://en.bookfi.org/ [bookfi.org]
    http://freshwap.ws/ [freshwap.ws]
    http://www.freebookspot.es/ [freebookspot.es]
    http://ebookee.org/index.php?t... [ebookee.org]
    http://bookre.org/ [bookre.org]
    http://avxhome.se/ebooks [avxhome.se]

  • “Last night I thought about all the kerosene I've used in the past ten years. And I thought about books. And for the first time I realized that a man was behind each one of the books. A man had to think them up. A man had to take a long time to put them down on paper. And I'd never even thought that thought before...It took some man a lifetime maybe to put some of his thoughts down, looking around at the world and life, and then I come along in two minutes and boom! it's all over.” Ray Bradbury
    • Also:“Do you know why books such as this are so important? Because they have quality. And what does the word quality mean? To me it means texture. This book has pores. It has features. This book can go under the microscope. You’d find life under the glass, streaming past in infinite profusion. The more pores, the more truthfully recorded details of life per square inch you can get on a sheet of paper, the more ‘literary’ you are. That’s my definition anyway. Telling detail. Fre
  • I'd never heard of any of these sites before.

Two percent of zero is almost nothing.

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