The Dutch have taken down roughly 600 alleged pirate Internet sites in 2011 alone. Brein, the agency in charge of removing the sites, is also responsible for blocking the Pirate Bay in the nation, one of the most well known bit torrent sites on the Internet. British authorities have also targeted the Pirate Bay.
In addition to taking down the sites, Brein took down the 60,000 advertisements from private sites taken down. The agency also blocked USENET services selectively. Torrent sites accounted for the lion’s share of what was removed by Brein, however, with 383 of the removed sites offering bit torrent downloads.
This comes at a time when government restrictions on Internet access is getting a great deal of attention in the media. Internet censorship, however, is more commonly heard of in nations such as Iran and China, the latter of which happens to be one of the most active nations where pirating copyrighted materials is concerned, in fact. The Dutch move prevents users in their nation from being able to access the Pirate Bay, though some technology does allow users to get by most government blockages. Efforts to block other sites in other nations have failed in the past and users quickly adapted and found ways around the blocks.
Brein is also seeking to restrict online payment providers from offering services to sites that it deems to be participating in piracy. Brein got the information it used to go after the pirate sites by ordering an online provider to offer payment information. That made it possible for the Dutch agency to go after the owner of the site directly.
According to the agency, these actions have forced the pirate sites off Dutch servers and they have gone elsewhere. Sites that are accused of or that are known to participate in piracy oftentimes move from server to server and not all nations bother enforcing copyright law, virtually ensuring that they simply pop up again and again on different servers. The USENET system has been the target of anti-piracy agencies in the past, though efforts to block newsgroups have failed, in some cases.
Around the world, people oftentimes use VPN services as ways to get around government blockades of Internet sites. While some of those sites are, indeed, pirate sites, this isn’t always the case and worthwhile, copyright-free information is sometimes restricted by such blockages, causing people to find other ways to it.
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