Tuesday, 30 December 2014

List of torrent sites ...

... courtesy of the UK Courts!

If you search on Google for anything like "torrents" and happen to click on one of the links that are blocked the above is what you'll get.  I presume this page will increase as more sites are blocked by UK Court Orders.

The ISP I am currently using is BT, I believe that they, and other major players in the market, e.g. Virgin, TalkTalk, Sky, are all following the blocking list above.

I guess there may be similar blocking in place in the US.

However, I'm pretty sure the blocking list isn't in place in *every* country - many are against censorship of any kind.  So, assuming you can find a proxy in a more 'liberal' country then you can happily use the above list as a nice starting point to find those torrents.

I think this raises two important points:

1) Did someone *really* think this through?  Irrespective of the arguments for/against this kind of blocking, was it wise to publicise the list?  Or is this actually a requirement for this kind of blocking?  I hope it's the latter since there absolutely SHOULD be transparency in such matters.  In fact, if this is the route we're going down then it should be impossible to block a site without such a block being made public - it would allow accidental blacklisting to be avoided/contested.

2) There was an article this morning on the BBC about GMail being blocked in China.  This is not entirely the same argument since pirated copies of films, music, and games are, at least in the UK, currently illegal, GMail, social media sites, and other communications are not.  However, it's also been argued that alot of the torrent sites are simply search engines, they themselves do not host any content.  Google will return torrent results, though these are starting to be removed from search results.  Do we really want tampering with search results?  Are alternatives available without such tampering, e.g. DuckDuckGo which supposedly doesn't filter.

Personally I'm not a fan of censorship and I don't like the idea of the blacklist/blocking approach because I think it has many technical and philosophical weaknesses.  I know there is definitely content out there that is illegal and unpleasant but I suspect the people accessing that are already using methods to circumvent the above blocking.  So censorship like the above list really comes down to big media companies throwing lots of money around.

So, as I've always said, why can't they throw that money at making decent online distribution services that are easy to use, fair, and provide greater benefit and features to the customers.  This happened with music on the whole - iTunes, Amazon, et al distribute music without DRM restrictions in place and seem to make plenty money doing so.  It's now more attractive to use those services for music (albeit for some hard-to-find or ridiculously over-priced items) rather than resort to torrents.

Do the same for video - stick that back catalog of old movies (80s, 90s, etc) and charge $1 a download rather than trying to sell old DVDs which cost money to ship, store, shift.

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