Earlier this week, the UK high court granted a request by the MPA (Motion Picture Association) and FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) to force the UK’s leading ISP’s to start blocking the highly popular TV indexing site EZTV as well as YIFY-Torrents. The leading UK ISP’s are:
- BT – Confirmed as blocking EZTV (thanks to Anon in the comments for the info)
- Virgin Media – Confirmed as blocking EZTV (thanks to Icarus in the comments for the info)
- TalkTalk – Confirmed as blocking EZTV (thanks to cabre_poul in the comments for the info)
- O2 (now part of SKY broadband)
- EE – Confirmed as blocking EZTV (thanks to timmy in the comments for the info)
- Sky – Confirmed as blocking EZTV
- Plus Net – Confirmed as blocking EZTV (thanks to BJ in the comments for the info)
The following UK mobile networks have also blocked EZTV:
- Vodafone – Confirmed as blocking EZTV (thanks to Andrew Smith-Beaman in the comments for the info)
- Three – confirmed by myself
As of today, that blocking order has started to come into effect with EZTV currently being blocked by SKY (my ISP) and Virgin Media. One can only assume that the remaining ISP’s in the UK will be following suit very shortly. The scary part about this blocking is the fact that the entertainment industry are able to make demands on the UK courts and then be able to have their requests passed into law, which effectively means that the entertainment corporations are now able to create laws to suit their needs which is very wrong and sets a dark tone for the future of the internet in the UK which is fast becoming one of the worlds leading online police states. When these site blocking requests were first made on the ISP’s, they actually put up a bit of a fight, (albeit not that much) but it is becoming increasingly apparent that this is no longer the case and they will simply agree to any site blocking requests that the MPA/FACT/BPI make. In June 2012 the UK High Court ordered the leading UK ISP’s to start blocking access to The Pirate Bay, although simple workarounds were made available to access The Pirate Bay almost instantly, with many already in place. In February 2013 another order, originally petitioned by 10 leading record labels, was made to UK ISP’s by the High Court, to start blocking Kickass Torrents, H33T and Fenopy. In May 2013 yet another order was made by the UK High Courts to start blocking Movie2K and Download4All.
The MPAA and FACT wrote to EZTV in June of this year requesting the sites owner to cease operating or face legal proceedings, stating that, “This site provides access to copyrighted material on a large-scale with no permission from the copyright owners”. By that logic, Google should also be blocked and any device capable of receiving or sending packets of data should also be made illegal as those could also be used to provide access to copyrighted material. When they (MPA and FACT) received no reply from EZTV, the groups decided to take further action resulting in the blocks that are now being enforced. We all know just how effective these blocks are, as you could probably find a workaround for EZTV or The Pirate Bay quicker that you could tie up your shoe laces. YIFY-Torrents, at the time of writing, is currently not being blocked as yet by SKY, although I do not know if this is the case for the other ISP’s.
How to easily bypass the blocking of EZTV
Each time the UK High Court sends out one of these rulings on behalf of the entertainment corporations a workaround is made available either instantly in the form of a proxy, or a user simply opens up his or her VPN which will then easily bypass the enforced restrictions. For example, users wishing to find a workaround for the UK blocking of EZTV can simply use the eztv.it.nyud.net proxy (now blocked by BT, thanks to Pugwash for the info). However, the best method would be to use a VPN service that allows P2P traffic and doesn’t record logs, as this will also provide you with far more privacy from your ISP. For example, if you are looking for a decent VPN that is also dead easy to use and easy on the pocket, I would definitely go with CactusVPN or Private Internet Access. If you are interested in checking out CactusVPN, then I have written a review on it which also include some speed tests on their servers. My review for Private Internet Access can be read here. Both these VPN’s support P2P when connected to their Netherlands servers
The other benefit of have a decent VPN like CactusVPN is that they have servers in the US, UK and Netherlands, meaning that you will also be able to access Hulu and other US only sites from outside the US and also be able to access sites like the BBC’s iPlayer from outside the UK.
If you are with any of the ISP’s mentioned, please let me know if you are currently being blocked so that I can update this article which may help other readers. If you are with an ISP that isn’t listed above but are being blocked to these site, then please also make a comment below.
[Update] The Unblock Eztv proxy has now increased its capacity so should also be working. Thanks to their admin for updating me via comments.
If you find that any of the proxies start to be blocked, let me know and I will update.
Best bet is still to use a VPN (CactusVPN is great) as it puts an end to this type of site blocking nonsense, as well as the ridiculous porn block that to be implemented in the UK by all ISP’s as standard. It will start in late 2013-2014.
[Update 2] From October 30th 2013, another 21 sites have now been added to the UK ISP block list. for the full list see here.
Please note that under UK law it is illegal to download material that is copyrighted, such as TV Shows, Films and other such IP related goods etc. Using a VPN or Proxy service in order to enable you to download such material is also illegal and shows intent. A VPN service may protect you to a point, but nothing is fool proof nor does it guarantee 100% anonymity. Be warned.
The author does not condone such illegal behavior, and the article is meant to be educational rather than a, ‘how to’, piece.