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United Kingdom Censorship The Internet Your Rights Online

Project Free TV, YIFY, PrimeWire Blocked In the UK 195

Posted by timothy
from the good-thrashing dept.
hypnosec writes "The movie industry in the UK is having a ball, as far as blocking of sites allegedly involved in piracy is concerned, as courts have asked UK ISPs to enforce a blockade on Project Free TV, YIFY, PrimeWire and others. Getting a torrent or steaming site blocked in the UK is a mere paperwork formality, since ISPs have completely stopped defending against these orders. As it stands, a total of 33 sites have been blocked in the UK, including The Pirate Bay, BitSnoop, ExtraTorrent, Torrentz, 1337x, Fenopy, H33T, KickAssTorrents, among others."
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Project Free TV, YIFY, PrimeWire Blocked In the UK

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  • by Shuntros (1059306) on Saturday November 23, 2013 @04:59AM (#45499505)
    Personally I'm not a big user of these kind of services, but it's only a handful of the "big" ISPs who are doing the blocking. I prefer a more personal service so I use a small ISP which offers special geeky extras (full class C, reverse NS delegation etc) and they perform no such blocking. But even if I didn't it's trivial to bypass such blunt instruments.
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      I make it a point to use these sites now. I hadn't even heard of YIFI but since they blocked it I have been checking for releases there.

    • Exactly. My ISP isn't exactly small, but it's also not one of the major players, and they don't block anything either.

      In fact, my other half is a rabid TV downloader and wants to watch the shows when they come out on American TV so she can discuss stuff in forums without spoilers. We have a Sky subscription so we will have paid for them when they air, she just doesn't want the lag. Anyway, the ISP have been sent the usual e-mails from lawyers about her torrenting activities. The ISP just forwards them on
    • by MrL0G1C (867445)

      Well, I thought Plusnet would be big enough to be hit by this but they don't even seem to blocking pirate-bay. 76/18mbit fibre, no complaints at approx 600gb used one month, 20quid a month, reasonable I think.

    • by hjf (703092)

      "Full class C"? Allocated by InterNIC, right? :P

      It's been 20 years since "IP classes" have been replaced with CIDR.

      What ISP allocates a full /24 anyways?

      Honest question: Who, other than an ISP or hosting/VPS provider, *needs* a /24 nowadays?

      • by Shuntros (1059306)
        Well someone got out the pedantic side of the bed this morning. And no, it's an allocation of my ISP's /16. If I'd got the range from RIPE I wouldn't need PTR delegation would I?

        I don't actually need the whole block any more, it was something I was doing for a PhD project a few years back. A /27 would do me these days, but they don't seem in a hurry to have them back.
      • by BitZtream (692029)

        I have 4 class Cs and a total of 5 servers, 6 employees if you count the part time ones, for just my primary data center. Another couple at a couple other backup data centers.

        Lots of things need IP addresses, not just websites run by ISPs. Theres more to the Internet than http.

        As far as IP classes, While its cute that you're trying to show us how much you know about networking, you're really showing us that you're not in the business of being a router flunky since everyone still refers to /24s as class Cs

        • by BitZtream (692029)

          I should add, I know of multiple facilities for infrastructure that have /22 assignments for stations that have 1 man sitting in them, with nothing more than a router, a PC and a small server (on site ActiveDirectory server), and using a grand total of maybe 5 IPs of the thousand they have.

        • by amorsen (7485)

          Filtering on /22 is not really sustainable these days. People filter at all sorts of boundaries, but you can generally get away with a /24. Those who filter /24's tend to keep a default route to a more lenient provider.

  • What about Google (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 23, 2013 @05:00AM (#45499513)

    They've started blocking searches that can lead to kiddie porn, and thus accepted the linkage.

    The next step in that is mandatory reporting of any IP addresses that does those forbidden searches. Having accepted the searches are bad, it follows that surveillance of this badness will be the next step. Thus they've accepted the surveillance principle.

    Copyright lobby already wants Google to block all copyright infringements from search results. (and read the New Zealand Kim Dotcom indictment, it talks about 'selectors being tasked' i.e. PRISM talk, meaning spooks are now copyright enforcers).

    Likewise ISPs blocked these torrent search engines as being equivalent to torrents and in turn equivalent to the copyright infringement, thus it follows that they'll keep being asked to block ever more tangential stuff. For example, sites that list torrent search engines. Sites that discuss torrent search engines. VPN sites, and so on.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      The next step in that is mandatory reporting of any IP addresses that does those forbidden searches.

      Most likely this is already happening.

  • by mykos (1627575) on Saturday November 23, 2013 @05:01AM (#45499517)
    These companies exist because the public allows it. The public is getting nothing but censorship out of the bargain, giving these companies carte blanche to do whatever they please to the internet. The world is caving to the slightest whims of an industry that we would survive just fine without.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Well, to be fair, the torrent sites only exist because apparently some people can't survive just fine without entertainment.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Or maybe they just want access to a better product?

      • by thej1nx (763573) on Saturday November 23, 2013 @06:32AM (#45499789)
        *This* Industry however is not necessarily the source of all entertainment. There was a time when the industry did not exist, but entertainment still existed. The reason you have these torrent sites is because the industry has been very very good at monopolizing, stifling and killing any independent entertainment. People might not necessarily want to rob a talented artist that they love. But they might still not give two hoots about short-shifting a faceless greedy faceless "corporation" or a bunch of greedy middlemen. The industry has its time and place when they actually provided value by handling distribution of content that would not have been possible without them back then. In the digital internet era, that is no longer the case. They are perceived merely as blood-sucking parasites that leech off both the artist and the public.

        If Mariah carey had gone independent instead of being with Columbia or Virgin Records etc. she would have been able to retain all of the profits, instead of just 10-15% share of it. Consider the irony. The middle-men should be the one getting the 10-15% profits after deducting actual costs. But instead, it is the content creator.

        What ends up happening is, that labels latch on to a "hit formula" and kill creativity by making snoop dogg and other artists sacrifice their styles in favor of the "formula", to maximize revenue. Worse, with their publicizing muscle and money, they don't exactly provide a level field for independents, since they ensure that the independents are all but drowned in the noise of all the ads, even if their own artists might be all but junk.

        • by Joce640k (829181) on Saturday November 23, 2013 @07:22AM (#45499927) Homepage

          If Mariah carey had gone independent instead of being with Columbia or Virgin Records etc. she would have been able to retain all of the profits, instead of just 10-15% share of it.

          10-15%? She got lucky.

          Plenty of really, really big acts got NOTHING. Not one cent.

          This is an industry that seriously believes that people like Peter Jackson shouldn't get paid for making The Lord Of The Rings.

          Check out sites like cdbaby.com [cdbaby.com] instead.

        • *This* Industry however is not necessarily the source of all entertainment. There was a time when the industry did not exist, but entertainment still existed. The reason you have these torrent sites is because the industry has been very very good at monopolizing,

          It's true that the recording industry are fuckers but the reason we have piracy isn't due to that. Let's not pretend that TPB users are part of a moral crusade. We have piracy because people are cheap and want free stuff. There are independent movies being shared and pirated along with those from big studios. There's no distinction in most people's eyes. I can pirate World of Goo (http://2dboy.com) on TPB, an indy game that was released cheaply and, idealistically, without DRM.

          Furthermore, pirating isn'

        • The golden age (Score:4, Informative)

          by westlake (615356) on Saturday November 23, 2013 @12:09PM (#45500967)

          *This* Industry however is not necessarily the source of all entertainment. There was a time when the industry did not exist, but entertainment still existed.

          The entertainment industry in the states dates back to Stephan Foster.

          In 1850, P.T, Barnum paid Jenny Lind $167,600 in advance for her first American tour, plus expenses. That is $4,557,076 adjusted for inflation. The contract would be renegotiated upwards as Barnum's promotion machine built up steam.

          There would be profits from sheet music sales, product endorsements and so on.

          Barnum's share would come to about half a million good-as-gold tax-free dollars. In the first decade of the telegraph, The first quarter-century of the railroad, Everything essential is in place for the evolution of a mass popular culture rooted in professional entertainment.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      I regret buying CDs now. I can't in good conscience give them any more money, not matter how much I want to support the artists.

      • by cayce (189143)

        If you want to support the artist, go to their concerts.

        If they don't tour near you, go try and get a local promoter to book them, or do it yourself. Some friends and I have managed to get bands and artists we like by directly emailing their managers, then handling all the logistics ourselves. Local radio stations usually are willing to help, too. When you don't have to pay for logistics and you don't expect any profit, the final ticket cost is incredibly low. I'm not saying it was easy, it's usually a lot

        • If you want to support the artist, go to their concerts.

          What if they're dead? What if the band has split up? What if they produce good music, but suck as a person?

          • by PopeRatzo (965947)

            If they're dead then you should treat their work as public domain. Support the artists, not the "rights".

    • The public is getting nothing but censorship out of the bargain... The world is caving to the slightest whims of an industry that we would survive just fine without.

      Then why is the geek so obsessed with his free comic book movie fix? The big budget Hollywood production?

      The paying customer is the censor here and he is getting exactly what he wants: The final say on future productions and budgets.

      The projects which will be green lighted because they are reasonably likely to be profitable.

      The paying customer gets "Gravity" into the IMAX theater, the director's cut on Blu-Ray and malware free downloads and HD streaming through Amazon, Netflix and others. The P2P geek wha

  • I don't know about the streaming sites, but I know the blocking of torrent sites has had little effect or the more (or less) tech savvy people who use them. People get around not being able to browse for their torrents by subscribing to torrent RSS feeds (for TV), and by using things like Tor if they absolutely need to browse the Pirate Bay or other sites.

    The trackers are not blocked, and therefore the torrents still work fine.

    Kinda pointless.

    • by niks42 (768188) on Saturday November 23, 2013 @05:12AM (#45499565)
      I think you overestimate the capabilities and patience of a large percentage of the population of the UK. I think these actions will shut down 80% of the movie sharing. It is a right royal pain in the bum, and personally I think the MPAA just don't understand that any action they take will have unintended consequences, but on the whole, it will have the effect they desire - most of the traffic will be gone.

      They should just be careful what they wish for.
      • I think you overestimate the willingness of people to put up with crap. Especially once they learned that there is another way. People are probably willing to accept various hardships thrown at them by the manufacturers of DVDs and BluRays ... until they learn that it is trivially easy to circumvent those unskipable trailers and other junk that cuts into their movie watching pleasure. It's not even the money, in my experience.

        You really think someone who wants to see the latest episodes of his favorite show

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        In the past it has had little effect, with P2P traffic steadily increasing. In fact I'm surprised that GCHQ hasn't tried to stop them because it only pushes more and more people on to VPNs where they are much harder to spy on.

        • by BitZtream (692029)

          VPNs where they are much harder to spy on.

          Harder for YOU to spy on. The NSA and GCHQ have no problem snooping your VPN traffic whenever they feel like it.

      • by oobayly (1056050)

        I think you overestimate the capabilities and patience of a large percentage of the population of the UK. I think these actions will shut down 80% of the movie sharing.

        Don't really agree with this. The people [that I know of] that torrent are *not* tech savy, however they are more than capable of googling something along the lines of "BT piratebay blocked"* which will give them a workaround on the 2nd link. I think the best way to describe it is "never underestimate the ingenuity of someone who doesn't want to pay anything"

        * Typing "BT pirate" immediately suggests BT pirateproxy. These people don't know need to understand what a proxy is, all they know is that a proxy let

    • by dutchwhizzman (817898) on Saturday November 23, 2013 @06:19AM (#45499739)
      Trackers *are* blocked and taken offline all the time. That is, if there were any trackers left, most are gone. BitTorrent has different methods now to discover peers. PEX, DHT and LDP for peer discovery, Magnet links to replace .torrent files. You essentially can't block bittorrent without extremely "expensive" Deep Packet Inspection, essentially eavesdropping on every consumers internet traffic 100% of the time.
      • by BitZtream (692029)

        You essentially can't block bittorrent without extremely "expensive" Deep Packet Inspection, essentially eavesdropping on every consumers internet traffic 100% of the time.

        My ISP, has already trialled a SandVine DPI machine. A single machine was capable of performing DPI for over 2 million cable modem subscribers for a full month, so clearly it can deal with the various traffic loads that come across it. A small cluster of machines could DPI everything in the UK.

        Its not hard, in fact its pretty trivial.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm in the UK and I use O2 (currently being migrated to Sky).

    I use a digitalocean.com droplet (virtual machine) to access these. I have the bottom end droplet which costs $5/month.

    On this I install apache, php and phproxy (google it) and that is it.

    I won't use the public proxies that seem to have popped up as they all have nefarious bits of crap installed in them or are very overloaded.

  • Because only a trivially small proportion of the population cares. Few have even heard about these services.

    If you care about free TV in the UK then you could start by not watching or recording live transmissions, and you then have no obligation to pay the TV license -- they only waste it on extra redundancy payments for senior managers, and politically motivated nonsense stuff like moving programming oop north.

    I get by on BBC iPlayer delayed transmissions, streaming to my TV through Chromecast. Possibly IT

    • Channel 4 have compatible streaming services, but sadly their programmes are not compatible with me.

      I have a TV license so I can legally watch live TV. C4 also to indeed have 4OnDemand to catch up. I happen to like Agents of Shield which is on 4.

      And I still get it from TPB because it's easier, quicker and better.

    • by badfish99 (826052) on Saturday November 23, 2013 @06:02AM (#45499699)

      > Few have even heard about these services.

      After demonoid ended I couldn't find any good torrent sites. But now my government publishes a list of the best sites every month. I'm really grateful to them for calling my attention to them.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Most ISPs have stopped defending against these orders and just add anything the BPI wants to their filters.

    Some UK ISPs don't apply such filters. AAISP for example not only promises that it will give users 12 months notice should they ever decide to use filtering, but you have to explicitly select "unfiltered internet access" when signing up or you'll be shown the door.

  • by HuguesT (84078) on Saturday November 23, 2013 @05:52AM (#45499659)

    We will see in a few years or even less if big content providers make more or less money than before in the UK. I'm of the opinion that blocking free content leads to discontent, less visibility, and ultimately less profit, because people will not want to reward what could be construed as oppression.

    • It's not just 'big content'; the Big Four ISP*s that implement these blocks ( Sky, BT Broadband, TalkTalk and Virgin ) each have their own subscription TV and streaming services targeted at their customers, so making free stuff harder to reach also implicitly benefits them if it encourages up-take.

      Noticable is how the smaller ISPs, that just act as an ISP without tryng to sell me media, aren't in scope.

      * they're not really ISPs, more like Web-connected entertainment providers.

    • Reward it or not, but people can only buy what they know about. If I don't know that a certain show exists and that I like it, there is an exactly zero chance that I'll ever go and buy a DVD box of it.

      This is especially true in countries where dubbing is the norm (because English isn't quite the language of choice). There you actually have two reasons why people won't buy a DVD box. First, the often incredibly atrocious dubbing (quite frankly, watching Simpsons or Big Bang Theory in German qualifies as tort

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It has also lead to a bit of a resurgence of the old sneakernet distribution network, which had sort of died down when broadband became almost ubiquitous in the UK.

      The people with the technical knowledge/capability to bypass the blocks and download the material are doing so, and passing it around at work|school|college|university, those copies getting copied, and repeat_until_boredom("those copies getting copied"), in a totally 'invisible' way to the Media industry online spies.

      The best part (or, if you're

    • by luther349 (645380)
      and 20 new sites take there place in the case of pirate bay just another mirror.
  • by rusty0101 (565565) on Saturday November 23, 2013 @05:57AM (#45499681) Homepage Journal

    As I read the comments, it looks like people are missing a bet on what the practice that the cariers are doing can provide.

    People are noting that techincally competent people can easily bypass the restrictions, and others are noting that the vast majority of the public is not sufficiently technically competent to work around it.

    I'm reminded a bit of the drug dealer situation in most places. It's trivially easy for most people to find a supplier for nearly any drug that someone has an interest in getting. Most people don't go looking for them for whatever reason, but it's not because they don't know where to go, or at least if they thought about it a bit they could figure it out. The same is likely to be true of media content.

    So, user George doesn't know how to get around these filters, but it's likely that one of George's friends does, or one of George's friends knows someone who can. If this ever became a significant issue, I suspect that people would set up secure chat servers (or even a https based site) where they let their neighbors know they can request whatever movie they are interested in, and through a bot on the server they get back a link to the file already downloaded, or to the file being downloaded, and they can start watching. The link may be to a torrent proxy that goes and gets the bits of the files from other people offering the same sort of a service, and none of the people providing this service actually have copies of the files maintained on their systems either. (Yes, that somewhat defeats the purpose of a torrent, but the idea is to provide a service to end users, not necessarily be a good torrent netizen.) To reduce the likelyhood that the person providing the service is adversly affected, he or she may require that the 'customer' run a torrent proxy on their system that the load of torrent traffic gets distributed across. Better operators will do something like build their software package to prevent spam bots from running on the customer's computers. That may even be all that the customer is asking for from the service provider, and the torrent operation may be going on completely transparently to them.

    I know, that seems complex. But from an end user perspective for the movies, it looks like I log into a secure web server, identify the movie I want to watch, and get a link to that movie. I click on that link, and I start watching the movie. Perhaps George texts or IMs a movie title to Bill, who texts back a URL that George then enters in their web browser, or even follows right on their phone or pc.

    In time a network of providers of the service will exist, or several networks. It might be done through something like IRC, and the various providers will check to see who's closest to the end user and get a link close to them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It might be done through something like IRC, and the various providers will check to see who's closest to the end user and get a link close to them.

      Yes, XDCC and fserve bots work fine thanks.
      Many IRC networks are dedicated to filesharing: http://irc.netsplit.de/channels/?chat=xdcc
      It's trivial to find XDCC results in google, just append xdcc -torrent to your search.

    • by oobayly (1056050)

      You don't need to be technically competent to get around the filters - you just need to be able to follow instructions. You don't even need to know any keywords like "proxy" - "how do i unblock torrents" does just fine.

  • Problem solved.

  • This is a stupid waste of time. People will make hundreds of forums dedicated to simply posting the torrent file itself. Or people will resort to pastebin or something since it's a glorified text file. Blocking the torrent conglomeration sites is useless because the torrent file itself can be posted anywhere else. People can simply e-mail them to each other even.
  • Why people want to watch mangled sound audio and the worst rips on the net is beyond me. I think its mostly people with shitty 2 speaker systems that like YIFY rips, but that guy is everywhere!

    Every time I go to download a movie, I am cursing YIFY because his releases dominate! I think YIFY really works for the film industry and is releasing low quality rips on purpose.

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