Sky has erroneously blocked news sites in its efforts to stop access to two torrent sites that are accused of copyright infringement.
The ISP blocked the innocent news site TorrentFreak after EZTV exploited a flaw in Sky’s web filters that allowed it to point its UK visitors to TorrentFreak’s IP address and any site listed in EZTV’s DNS records.
"Torrent Freak was inadvertently blocked due to EZTV pointing one of its URLs at the site," a Sky spokesperson told PC Pro. "We have a process in place which monitors this type of disruptive behaviour, and when we discover it, we will take the necessary steps to remove any unintended blocks. To be clear, Sky only ever blocks sites in line with court orders.”
Lennart Renkema, founder of TorrentFreak, added: "This essentially means that EZTV, or any other blocked site, has the power to render entire websites inaccessible to Sky subscribers. Luckily we were the target and not Google.”
Six ISPs were ordered to block torrent sites EZTV and YIFY after a successful High Court ruling lodged by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) and the Motion Picture Association (MPA).
The websites were accused in the High Court of providing "mass access to infringing content" with EZTV a site that offers TV torrents and YIFY Torrents one that allows users to download DVD rips.
FACT and MPA took their fight to the High Court after writing to the sites asking them to cease infringing content. When no reply was received they went took the successful action through the courts.
PCPro reports that TorrentFreak may not be the only site that has experienced some kind of blockage with Sky and Virgin customers reportedly claiming that radiotimes.com was another to suffer. It’s unclear whether this was connected to EZTV exploiting flaws in the system.
EZTV also added some Facebook IP addresses to its DNS records but ultimately failed to achieve the same result that it did with TorrentFreak.
Going through the High Court is the only realistic way of imposing bans on sites with the Draft Deregulation Bill looking to overturn part of the Digital Economy Act that forced ISPs to block certain sites.