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.

We are attempting to keep a log on known blocking orders at 451 Unavailable.


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]

Various BitTorrent indexes (1967 Ltd)

"An application by 1967 Ltd and other record companies by application notice dated 31 July 2014 for orders in respect of 21 websites which are said to be involved in peer-to-peer file sharing using BitTorrent."


Various BitTorrent indexes

32 sites[17] were reported to be included in blocks from 26 November 2014[18]. It's not clear if this incorporates the applications from Paramount and Twentieth Century Fox.

Applications for future blocks

Various (Paramount Home Entertainment)

"An application by Paramount Home Entertainment Ltd and other film studios by application notice dated 29 July 2014 for orders in respect of seven websites which are said to be substantially focussed on infringement of copyright in films and television programmes."

Various (Twentieth Century Fox)

"An application by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp and other film studios by application notice dated 29 August 2014 for orders in respect of eight websites which are said to be substantially focussed on infringement of copyright in films and television programmes."


"a fourth application was either pending or would be made shortly."[19]

Trade marks


In October 2014 the High Court accepted they had the authority[20] under section 37(1) of the Supreme Court Act 1981 to order ISPs to order the blocking of sites accused of trade mark infringement.

The blocked sites include:;;;;

See Cartier vs BSkyB

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. In November 2014 it was announced that all major ISPs would be incorporating this list into their adult-content filters.

See Blocking of extremist material


The government has announced the intention to require online age verification for pornography sites. Since the most popular sites are not UK-based it is speculated that network-level blocking may be employed against overseas sites that do not implement this - prior to the election Sajid Javid MP stated that these sites would be blocked.

Future issues

Administrative site blocking

The IPO is considering "administrative site blocking"

as outlined in the Creative Industries Sector Deal, we will consider the evidence for and potential impact of administrative site blocking (as opposed to requiring a High Court injunction in every case), as well as identifying the mechanisms through which administrative site blocking could be introduced.[21]

Proposals for emergency blocking

  • mooted blocks of Facebook and Twitter following London riots in 2011.[22]
"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."

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
  19. Cartier vs Sky 2014
  20. Cartier International AG & Others v British Sky Broadcasting & others (2014), 2014-10-17
  21. Pressure grows on producers of illegal streaming devices and thieves of paid-for content, GOV.UK, 2018-10-22
  22. Riots: David Cameron's Commons statement in full, BBC, 2011-08-11