UK internet service provider BT has reportedly blocked over 20 private torrent sites over the last week. IPTorrents and TorrentDay, two of the most popular private trackers, have both been affected.
Following complaints from the UK’s top record labels, a High Court injunction last month required that leading British ISPs, including Sky, BT, Virgin, TalkTalk and EE, block access to 21 global torrent sites such as torlock.com, nowtorrents.com and speedpeer.me.
In his ruling, Justice Arnold explained that although some of the torrent websites “pay lip service to copyright protection, in reality they all flout it.”
“All of [the sites] go to considerable lengths to facilitate and promote the downloading of torrent files, and hence infringing content, by their users,” Justice Arnold added.
Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), noted that the sites selected for blocking were among the most criminal in the UK:
“Illegal sites dupe consumers and deny artists a fair reward for their work. The online black market stifles investment in new British music, holds back the growth of innovative legal services like Spotify and destroys jobs across Britain’s vital creative sector,” he said.
“Sites such as these also commonly distribute viruses, malware and other unsafe or inappropriate content. These blocks will not only make the internet a safer place for music fans, they will help make sure there is more great British music in years to come,” Taylor continued.
Both Sky and BT amended access to these sites last weekend, however BT has implemented access denials on more sites than the order demands.
According to TorrentFreak, its users have allegedly faced “Error –site blocked” messages on loading certain torrent sites, including IPTorrents.com and TorrentDay.com, as well as the popular scene site Scnsrc.me.
After fresh court orders last year BT promised that it would “only block access to websites engaged in online copyright infringement when ordered by a court to do so.” However, this latest round of blocks suggests that BT is acting independently with no underlying ruling behind its decision.
As TorrentFreak suggests these BT site blocks can be dodged via https and alternative domains such as .me and .ru. In addition, users are noting that VPNs and Tor-enabled browsers can be used to workaround access denials.