Blocks of EZTV have unintended consequences
UK Internet providers are duty bound to comply with UK law, so there is little choice but to comply with a UK court order to block a website that is deemed to be facilitating copyright infringement. This process started with Pirate Bay a long time ago now, but every few weeks new orders are obtained to add extra sites, and back in July EZTV was one of the latest to be blocked by the order.
In itself another site being added to the list is not large news in itself, but the collateral damage of this latest round of blocking has revealed potential problems with how some providers are actually carrying out the blocking.
Customers of Sky, O2 and Be may have found a mixture of sites blocked over the last few days including radiotimes.com (but not www.radiotimes.com) and torrentfreak and has been discussed by visitors to our forums. The issue is not Sky having gone mad and deliberately blocking these domains, but rather the blocking system Sky uses monitors the IP addresses linked with the EZTV DNS and it seems they were automatically adding IP addresses that were in the list.
This over blocking has important implications, for the wider issue of network level filtering that is due to be implemented by all the major Internet providers (TalkTalk has their system live already). The blocking system by Sky gives no message that the site was blocked and in cases of over blocking this makes people assume that it is the site itself that has a problem, therefore it would be good for any blocking to present users with a page, with a suitable contact method to allow people to report over blocking.