UK web blocking now extends to mobile internet, starting with EE

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By Chris Cooke | Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Record industry trade group BPI has confirmed that web blocking in the UK extends to mobile internet networks, starting with the EE network owned by BT. This means that web blocks that previously only applied to fixed broadband networks will begin to apply as well when users access sites via a mobile internet connection.

Web blocking has become a favorite anti-piracy tactic of the music industry in countries where it is available. Although the details vary from country to country, copyright holders usually obtain a court order ordering Internet service providers to prevent their customers from accessing websites that exist primarily to facilitate copyright infringement.

It was the film industry that won the UK’s first-ever web-blocking injunction in 2011 – demonstrating that such court orders were available under UK copyright law – but since then , the music industry has been quite prolific in securing additional websites. -blocks.

Indeed, the BPI confirmed this morning that the various injunctions it has obtained over the last ten years have ordered together the UK’s largest broadband providers – i.e. BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media – block over 70 copyright infringing websites and apps, and thousands of other domains linked to these sites.

Although best known as a mobile operator, EE also provides a fixed broadband service which has already implemented web blocks resulting from these 70+ court orders which cover all broadband services owned by BT, so EE and Plusnet as well as the main BT service. However, EE has also agreed to extend web blocks to its mobile network, which the BPI says “represents the first time since website blocking began in 2011 that a mobile operator has started blocking websites. “.

This decision is significant because, of course, a significant amount of online entertainment is now accessible via mobile internet connections. BPI Solicitor General Kiaron Whitehead notes: “There are now more mobile subscriptions than people in the UK and we want these fans to enjoy genuine music sites and be protected from illegal sites as much as possible. ‘they already are on their broadband and Wi-Fi. Fi’.

“Mobile data connections are faster and more reliable than ever,” he adds, “and a quarter of people now connect to the internet via 3G, 4G and 5G rather than broadband and Wi-Fi. -Fi. With this growth comes an increased risk of music piracy.”

“The operators of these pirate sites earn millions of pounds a year without a penny going to the creators of the music they operate,” he continues. “We are therefore delighted that EE – which was the first mobile network to launch 5G to the UK population – has now become the first mobile network to block pirate sites subject to our High Court blocking orders under of Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988”.

The web blocks will also apply to BT’s other mobile services – BT Mobile and Plusnet Mobile – which are both powered by the EE network. As with other mobile networks in the UK – so Vodafone, Three and what is now Virgin Media O2 – the music industry is obviously hoping they can be persuaded to follow EE’s lead in this area in due course. .

LEARN MORE ABOUT: British Phonographic Industry (BPI)

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