Anti-piracy efforts in Europe have been shifting away from targeting individual filesharers and towards shutting down or blocking key sites where infringement is taking place for some time now. But two pieces of news today show how the legislative grounds for doing this are constantly shifting.
First, Indian ISPs have unblocked access to sites including The Pirate Bay and Torrentz.eu, after the Madras High Court ruled that they couldn’t be ordered to restrict access to entire sites on the basis of a rightsholder claim relating to a single film. This follows blocks put in place earlier this year after a case involving
Bollywood Tollywood film Dhammu.
Yet Denmark appears to be making such blocks easier. TorrentFreak claims to have seen a document showing that the government has ditched the idea of warning letters for alleged infringers, in favour of piracy education campaigns from rightsholders, but also an agreement between rightsholders and ISPs that will see a site blocked by all ISPs if a court orders just one of them to do it.
Meanwhile, consumer rights groups are preparing legal challenges to these blocks where they exist already, while the pirate sites themselves are simply adding extra IP addresses to get around individual blocks, and ramping up their campaigns to teach consumers about VPNs and proxies. It is likely to be 2013 before we have any firm data on whether ISP-wide blocking of piracy sites actually works.