Website blocking

For filtering (i.e. websites blocked by ostensibly opt-in mechanisms) see Content filtering by UK ISPs.

Websites blocked by ISPs in the UK.


Most UK ISPs voluntarily block access to the Internet Watch Foundation's "CAIC list", believed to contain URLs of material illegal to possess in the UK (hosted outside of UK jurisdiction). This is technically implemented by a variety of mechanisms such as BT's Cleanfeed. However, there is currently no legislation forcing ISPs to do so.

Section 97A

Section 97A was added to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 in enacting the European Copyright Directive in 2003. It allows, amongst other things, for a rights holder to obtain an injunction against an ISP forcing them to block access to a website. The power was not used until 2011.

Although the judgments in these cases are publicly available, the orders that specify what should be blocked are effectively secret (the ISPs generally choose to not allow the public to see them) and are therefore unavailable for independent scrutiny. In at least one known case ( this has resulted in a site being wrongly blocked by the main UK ISPs.

So far, these orders have only applied to the UK's "Big 5" residential ISPs.


Newzbin2 was ordered to be blocked under Section 97A from 2011-12-13.

The Pirate Bay

Blocking ordered by the High Court on 2nd May 2012. Compliance from ISPs between 3rd May and 19th June 2012.

Fenopy, H33t and KickassTorrents

A letter requesting blocking of three more BitTorrent index sites accused of piracy has been sent by the BPI to the six major ISPs. This was followed by a request to the High Court which went uncontested by the ISPs. Orders were given in February 2013 and enacted in March 2013.

Movie2K and Download4All

There have been reports[1][2] that the High Court has ordered blocks for Movie2K and Download4All in April 2013. The sites were blocked by Sky on 20 May 2013[3]

FirstRow Sports

An order to for the main UK ISPs to block FirstRow Sports was made in July 2013.


It has been reported in June 2013[4][5] that ISPs have been requested to block the EZTV. A court order for blocking was granted 25 July 2013.[6][7]

Various BPI requests, 2013

The BPI were reported[8] to be preparing a request for a number of site blocks in May 2013. In October 2013 blocking orders were granted[9] for 21 sites: Abmp3, BeeMP3, Bomb-Mp3, FileCrop, FilesTube, Mp3Juices, eMp3World, Mp3lemon, Mp3Raid, Mp3skull, NewAlbumReleases, Rapidlibrary, 1337x, BitSnoop, ExtraTorrent, Monova, TorrentCrazy, TorrentDownloads, TorrentHound, Torrentreactor, Torrentz

YIFY Torrents, PrimeWire, Vodly, WatchFreeMovies and Project Free TV

A request to block YIFY Torrents was reported in June 2013[10][11]. Orders against YIFY Torrents, and four other sites were made at some point in October or November with blocking coming into effect after November 21 2013[12][13].

SolarMovie and TubePlus

On November 13, Justice Arnold ordered two streaming sites to be blocked, SolarMovie and TubePlus, as requested by the Motion Picture Association.[14][15] These were blocked by ISPs in December 2013.

Megashare, Viooz, Watch32, Zmovie

Megashare, Viooz, Watch32 and Zmovie were reported to have been ordered blocked in March 2014. [16]

Extremist content

Content that incites of glorifies terrorist acts can be removed by the police under Section 3 of the Terrorism Act 2006.

A list of sites and search terms provided by the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit are blocked on networks that subscribe to the list, including networks on the public estate.

See Blocking of extremist material

Future issues

Digital Economy Act measures

Section 17 of the Digital Economy Act 2010 allows for the government to demand blocking of sites believed to infringe copyright. This has not yet been brought into force, and may never be: see Deregulation Bill.

Proposals for emergency blocking

  • mooted blocks of Facebook and Twitter following London riots in 2011.[17]
"we are working with the Police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality."

Communications Bill

Proposals for website blocking may be included in the Communications Bill (2014/15)

Challenges under ECHR Article 10

See also



  6. Movie Studios Win ISP Blockade Against EZTV and YIFY-Torrents, TorrentFreak, 2013-07-22
  9. ISPs told to block 21 pirate sites, BBC, 2013-10-29
  12. Brit ISPs ordered to add more movie-streaming websites to block list, Register, 2013-11-14
  13. UK Piracy Blocklist Expands With YIFY, PrimeWire, Vodly and Others, TorrentFreak. 2013-11-22
  14. Movie Studios Win ISP Blockade Against SolarMovie and TubePlus, TorrentFreak, 2013-11-13
  15. Brit ISPs ordered to add more movie-streaming websites to block list, Register, 2013-11-14
  16. UK Piracy Blocklist Expands With Megashare, Viooz, Watch32 and Zmovie, TorrentFreak, 2014-03-11
  17. Riots: David Cameron's Commons statement in full, BBC, 2011-08-11