The UK's Internet censorship rules allow big rightsholders to provide the country's major ISPs with lists of IP addresses that must be blocked, no questions asked — an no penalties if the wrong site gets blocked. Case in point: the Premier League demanded censorship of a load-balancing content distribution network that carried many sites, including the Radio Times (a TV/radio listings service formerly owned by the BBC). The blacklists generated by big entertainment companies are kept secret, and the Open Rights Group is pushing ISPs to voluntarily publish the list of censorship orders they receive, so that the public can check them for this kind of negligent error.
Under the orders, rights-holders must furnish the ISPs with lists of IP addresses and URLs they want blocked. The ISPs must then ensure those sites are filtered.
Rights-holders are free to update their original blacklists with new entries and can force ISPs to block proxy sites without further orders.
According to the source, the rights-holders failed to check whether some infringing IP addresses were also shared by innocent sites – meaning radiotimes.com but not www.radiotimes.com – was caught up in the block.
Rights-holders taking down legitimate sites in piracy crackdown [Shona Ghosh/PCPro]