In recent years, website blocking has become one of the most widely-used anti-piracy enforcement mechanisms in the world.
ISPs in several dozen countries prevent subscribers from accessing a variety of ‘pirate’ sites. While new blocks are added every month, research on the effectiveness of these efforts is rather limited.
Early Piracy Blocking Research
One of the earliest pieces of academic research, based on UK data, showed that the local Pirate Bay blockade had little effect on legal consumption. Instead, pirates turned to alternative pirate sites, proxies, or VPNs to bypass the virtual restrictions.
A follow-up study added more color and brought hope for rightsholders. The research showed that once a large number of sites were blocked in the UK, overall pirate site traffic decreased. At the same time, the researchers observed an increase in traffic to legal services such as Netflix.
These academic studies originated at Carnegie Mellon University. They were conducted…