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French Court Orders Google, Cloudflare, Cisco to Poison DNS in Anti-Piracy Crackdown

In a significant escalation against piracy, a French court has ordered Google, Cloudflare, and Cisco to tamper with their DNS resolvers to block access to approximately 117 pirate sports streaming domains. This decision stems from a legal battle initiated by the broadcaster Canal+ to enhance its site-blocking measures. The broadcaster, which holds lucrative sports broadcasting rights, sought to prevent viewers from accessing cheaper or free pirate streams.

ISPs and Third-Party DNS Providers Targeted: Initially, French ISPs were required to implement DNS tampering to block these sites. However, users circumvented these blocks by switching to third-party DNS providers like Cloudflare, Google, and Cisco. In response, Canal+ took legal action against these providers, resulting in the recent court orders.

These orders mandate that Google, Cloudflare, and Cisco implement similar blocking measures to those required of local ISPs, effectively preventing French internet users from accessing the specified pirate domains through their services. This decision leverages Article L333-10 of the French Sports Code, which allows rightsholders to demand measures against serious and repeated violations related to unauthorized sports broadcasting.

Google has indicated its intention to comply with the order. This move is expected to re-establish the blocks for users who had previously evaded them by using alternative DNS services. However, given the ease of finding new circumvention methods, the long-term effectiveness of this strategy remains uncertain.

Minimal Impact Expected Despite Legal Measures: Sébastien Proust, an attorney for Google, argued that the impact on piracy rates would be minimal. He estimated that only a tiny fraction (0.084%) of French internet users who utilize alternative DNS services would be affected by the new blocks. Furthermore, based on survey data, he concluded that only a negligible number of users would give up trying to access pirate streams due to these blocks.

Despite these arguments, the court upheld the injunction, emphasizing Canal+’s legal right to protect its broadcasting rights.

By CircleID Reporter

CircleID’s internal staff reporting on news tips and developing stories. Do you have information the professional Internet community should be aware of? Contact us.

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