Italian authorities have decided to block a total of 46 websites that offer torrents, streaming and file sharing services. This is said to be the largest operation against pirate websites Italy has seen so far.
According to TorrentFreak, the list of domains to be blocked by Italy’s ISPs includes watchfreemovies.ch, mondotorrent, casacinema, dopinatorrent, truepirates, filmxtutti and universfilms.
Both their domain names and DNS addresses will be blocked to ensure they can’t be accessed.
Fulvio Sarzana from the Sarzana and Partners law firm specializing in Internet and copyright disputes has told TorrentFreak that the domains of sites linking to torrent files have been seized.
Sarzana highlights the fact that blocking file-sharing sites means many users will not be able to access their files.
The massive anti-piracy operation is being carried out by Italian police and it’s coordinated by the Public Prosecutor of Rome. The Ministry of Economy and Finance’s Guardia di Finanza special task force will order ISPs to ban the sites.
It’s interesting that the operation is not a result of complaints filed by copyright holders. Instead, this is an initiative of the police. In any case, the entertainment industry is pleased with the decision.
This isn’t the first time the Public Prosecutor of Rome cracks down on websites accused of providing pirated materials. Back in April 2013, a total of 27 file sharing websites were blocked at ISP level. The list included Rapidgator, BitShared and VideoPremium.
The main problem with shutting down or blocking file sharing websites that facilitate access to or host copyrighted content is that there are some users who might rely on them to host their own files.
In the case of Megaupload, the notorious file sharing website shut down by the US government in 2012, it’s believed that over 10 million legal files were lost.
In October 2013, researchers from Boston’s Northeastern University determined that 4.3% of the files from Megaupload were definitely legitimate and 31% of them were infringing. For the rest of the files, researchers could not determine if they were under copyright. This means that, at least in theory, the number of lost legal files could be much higher.
Authorities in several European countries have set their sights on pirate websites, including in the UK, Belgium and Spain.
However, so far, the US holds the record when it comes to taking down domains. In 2010, the Department of Homeland Security seized a total of 70 domain names.