Spanish Judge Orders ISPs to Start Blocking Streaming Sites

It is looking like Spain may become the latest country to have ISPs block access to filesharing and streaming sites.

It is the latest country to have a court decide that ISPs should start blocking websites. A Spanish judge has ruled in favour of rights holders who were hoping to get ISPs to start blocking streaming and filesharing websites. According to Economía Digital (Spanish), the court is ordering the countries six major ISPs, Telefónica, Vodafone, Ono, Orange and Xfera, to start blocking those sites.

The websites being targeted are and

The Motion Picture Association (MPA) welcomed the decision, saying that the court ruling is crucial in order to take steps at stemming piracy that it alleges has gripped the country.

The court decision follows a similar court decision made in Ireland where a judge in January ordered the major ISPs to block 8 BitTorrent websites.

Last December, we brought you news that Hollywood is pushing for site blocking laws in New Zealand in copyright reforms set to take place next April.

Website blocking has become something of a new flavour of anti-piracy in recent years. Previously, rights holders pushed for three strikes laws in many countries around the world. The idea of that is that if a customer is accused of copyright infringement three times, they would be disconnected from the Internet and face major fines. The concept proved to be a massive failure due to legal and technical problems enforcing such rules in many jurisdictions.

Before that, rights holders pushed for being able to sue alleged filesharers en-mass during the Kazaa and Limewire years. Those efforts proved to be problematic due to jurisdiction issues and concerns about forum shopping. When rights holders tried to continue the major campaigns, they found themselves only being able to sue filesharers one at a time – something that rarely grabs headlines. Additionally, legal costs grew out of control. In response, rights holders tried to pass the costs onto governments – something governments were reluctant to follow through on. As such, that too was a predictable abysmal failure.

Few people who know the Internet see site blocking as a viable solution thanks to the advent of things like Tor and VPN services. Additionally, filesharing and streaming sites are frequently mobile from a domain name perspective. As such, as soon as websites begin getting blocked, owners just hop to another domain name, rendering the block useless and, as such, causing the court process to begin again.

It’s a large reason why knowledgeable people say that building viable alternatives to piracy is key in stemming copyright infringement. Thus far, it has proven to be the most effective tool by far over and above any of the enforcement actions rights holders have engaged in to date.

Regardless of what experts are saying, it seems rights holders are forging ahead anyway in efforts to bring in website censorship no matter who says it will never really work. So, it is unlikely that the whack-a-mole issue will be stopping any time soon.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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