The Motion Picture Association, the international leg of the MPAA, has won a legal battle in the UK against 13 piracy websites, which will see the country’s High Court require that five major Internet service providers, including BT and Sky, block them from their services.
It’s a major coup for the MPA, which protects the interests of Hollywood studios internationally. The High Court approved the order on October 17 against the 13 sites, which “enable people to search for, locate and access copyright infringing film and television content” and demanded that the sites be blocked within a matter of days.
“The legal process is a well-established, legitimate and proportionate response to illegal websites that make creative content available without permission from rights holders,” said MPA in a statement. “It is provided for by Section 97a of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act.”
Sites that are set to be blocked include the reportedly popular 123movies.to, geektv.is, spacemov.com, hdmovie14.net and watchmovie.ms.
This legal process was first used by the MPA in 2011 and subsequently has been used by rights holders in the film, music and sports sectors to require UK ISPs to block access to illegal sites.
Research shows that site blocking is effective – Incopro’s 2015 study found that, on average, UK sites lose 75% of their Alexa estimated usage following a site block. A recent study from Carnegie Mellon University found that former users of blocked sites increased their visits to paid legal streaming sites by 23.6%. It also found that site blockings cause a 6% increase in visits paid to legal streaming sites like Netflix and a 10% increase in videos viewed on legal ad-supported streaming sites like the BBC and Channel 5.