Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/how-effective-is-the-uk-pirate-bay-blockade-180527/
Website blocking is without a doubt one of the favorite anti-piracy tools of the entertainment industries.
The UK is a leader on this front after the High Court ordered the largest ISPs to block access to popular file-sharing sites. Over time the number of blocked URLs in the UK has grown to well over 1,000, including many popular torrent, streaming, and direct download sites.
The Pirate Bay is arguably the biggest target of all. Not only is the site itself blocked by major ISPs, many proxy sites and proxy linking sites are blacklisted as well. The goal of these efforts is to prevent people from accessing the notorious torrent site, but that’s easier said than done.
This week, we decided to take a look at the most visited ‘pirate’ sites in the UK. For this quest, we used data from the traffic monitoring company Alexa, which is often cited by copyright holders as well. Despite the blocking efforts, we spotted quite a few pirate sources among the UK’s top sites.
As it stands, Pirateproxy.sh tops the list. This Pirate Bay proxy is the 115th most-visited site in the UK, which is good for an estimated fifteen million visits per month.
Looking at the list of the 500 most-visited sites in the UK, Pirateproxy.sh is just one of the many Pirate Bay oriented sites. The proxy indexer Unblocked.mx is ranked 227th, for example, while Piratebays.be, Proxybay.bz, Unblocked.lat, Piratebayproxylist.net and Proxyof.com all make an appearance as well.
Most surprising, perhaps, is that the regular ThePirateBay.org still gets a decent amount of traffic too, as it’s currently ranked 319th. That’s more popular than in some other countries where there are no ISP restrictions. This traffic comes in part from VPNs.
Does this mean that the blockades have no effect at all? No, that’s impossible to conclude based on these observations. What it does show, however, is that there is still plenty of Pirate Bay traffic in the UK, even to the original site.
Pirateproxy.sh, for example, is part of the ‘Unblocked‘ team which operates a series of proxies and proxy indexes. Since 2013, they’ve been actively providing people with workarounds for blocked sites and continuously launch new domains when theirs are added to the blocklists.
The Unblocked operator believes that while some people may be deterred by the ISP blocks, many are not.
“Although the blocks have had the intended effect of blocking popular file-sharing sites, I don’t believe they are effective since users have access to many workarounds to access these sites,” he explains.
“For any given blocked site, there will be countless proxy sites available with new domains constantly being created.”
Unblocked regularly updates its domains after they are added to the blocklist, which is usually once a month. Just a few weeks ago the main proxy index moved from Unblocked.mx to Unblocked.lat, and that’s probably not the last change.
The new domains are accessible for a few weeks, or sometimes months, and if they are blocked, other ones will simply replace them.
This is not limited to The Pirate Bay and its proxies either. Looking more closely at the most-visited sites in the UK we see more ‘pirate’ sites, some of which are supposed to be blocked.
An overview of the ten most-used pirate sites in the UK is presented below. Some of these will likely be added to the ISP blocklists in the near future, if they aren’t already.
However, similar to regular takedown notices and domain seizures, ISPs blockades have also turned into a game of whack-a-mole.
The label “pirate site” applies to sites that have been classified as such by entertainment industry groups. Unblocked.mx already started redirecting to a new domain name.
|Site||Alexa rank||Type||Original site blocked?|