If you've ever tried to get onto a torrenting site in this country you might end up with one of those pages informing you that the High Court has ordered it blocked, or a generic page from your ISP claiming that webpage doesn't exist. Blocking pirate sites happens a lot here, and across the world, but have you ever wondered how much it happens? Motion Picture Association Canada has revealed the scale of anti-piracy blocking across the world, revealing that the UK, Portugal, Italy, and Denmark are leading the charge.
If you haven't been paying attention to the news in Canada, let me catch you up. There are proposals that would establish an anti-piracy blocking programme, which would see an independent body maintain a list of sites that Canadian ISPs would have block access to. Naturally this has the support of the media industry, and the MPA has submitted information about the state of global blocking programmes to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in support of the new rules.
According to the MPA 42 countries across the world have some sort of system to block pirate sites, including member of the European Union, Argentina, Australia, Iceland, India, Israel, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand. 1,800 sites and 5,300 domains have been "rendered inaccessible" in 17 European countries, though anyone with a cheap VPN can get around the blocks without breaking a sweat - even if they're connected to a server in their own country.
TorrentFreak also points out that while the EU has rules regarding blocking pirate sites (governed by Article 8.3 of the INFOSEC Directive), many of them have yet to do so. Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia have the legal powers to block pirate sites but haven't actually done anything with them.
As anyone reading this will no doubt know, the UK has been very fond of blocking access to pirate websites, like PirateBay. According to the MPA's figures the government has blocked 171 sites and 2,215 domains. The other big players include Denmark (71 sites, 797 domains), Italy (703 sites, 836 domains), and Portugal (827 sites, 1,035 domains). So while we're not as fond of site blocking as Italy and Portugal, domain blocking is much more prolific on our interweb. With the online age-verification measures coming into effect later this year, that number could easily rise. The government has pledged to block any porn sites that don't implement significant age-verification systems, in accordance with the law, and while that has little to do with piracy it does potentially mean there are less internet pages for us to enjoy.
You can read the MPA's submission in full here (courtesy of TorrentFreak), where it argues that the anti-piracy blocking measure implemented across the world are both effective and proportionate. Though it would say that, seeing as how the MPAA represents Hollywood's six biggest film studios - something that's worth bearing in mine when reading the submission. Even if the facts are accurate, the MPA has plenty to gain from an increase in anti-piracy blocking across the world. [TorrentFreak]