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Putlocker blocked in the UK by internet service providers after High Court order

A court order blocking a fresh batch of streaming sites has just come into effect

Doug Bolton
Thursday 26 May 2016 16:59 BST
Torrent sites and other streaming services have been blocked by court orders in the past
Torrent sites and other streaming services have been blocked by court orders in the past (Caroline VENTEZOU/AFP/Getty Images)

The UK's major internet service providers (ISPs) have begun blocking Putlocker and a number of other free video streaming sites following a court order.

Internet users have reported that sites like Putlocker, which host free streams of popular TV shows and films, have become inaccessible in recent days.

The latest batch of blocks is down to a High Court order made this month, which was brought by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPA), a trade body which represents the major Hollywood studios.

The MPAA argued that the sites breached their members' copyrights by hosting their content, and ISPs like Virgin Media and Sky are now obliged to prevent their users from accessing them.

The list of sites blocked by the recent order includes Putlocker, but other popular streaming sites have also been affected.

On a webpage listing all the sites blocked by Virgin, the company writes: "Virgin Media prides itself on being a responsible ISP and will block websites when ordered to do so by the courts."

Most people who use sites like Putlocker to watch the latest Game of Thrones episodes acknowledge that the services may not be authorised by the copyright holders, but that hasn't stopped them complaining.

One customer wrote on Twitter: "As if Virgin Media's blocked Putlocker! Wtf do I watch my movies on now?!"

Another said: "Can't believe Putlocker is blocked. My life is ruined."

One user summed the situation up when they wrote: "My life was looking up - until I find out Virgin have blocked Putlocker. Like what do I do now?"

Court-ordered blocks can often be circumvented using VPN services or 'mirrors', sites which simply reproduce the blocked website under another name. However, this latest block may temporarily make it more difficult for users to access pirated content for free.

An MPA spokesperson said: "Court orders are used to target illegal websites whose sole purpose is to make money off the back of other’s people content while paying nothing back to the legitimate economy. We want an Internet that works for everyone, where the creative property of artists and creators is protected along with the privacy and security of all users."

"The internet must be a place for investment, innovation and creativity. The MPA will continue to use this proportionate measure to tackle sites overwhelmingly dedicated to facilitating and promoting online copyright infringement.”

Virgin Media declined to comment. The Independent has contacted Putlocker for more information.

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