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Acting on a notice from Sky, Google has removed the websites of several pirate IPTV services from its UK search results. The domain names in question were previously blocked by local Internet providers in response to a High Court order. The recent action shows that Google’s cooperation with rightsholders goes beyond targeting traditional pirate sites that host or link to pirated content directly.

white noiseThe United Kingdom is no stranger to website blocking.

The High Court granted permission for a blockade against Newzbin2 in 2011; The Pirate Bay and numerous other targets were blocked soon after.

A rough inventory carried out by TorrentFreak recently revealed that blocked domains, including subdomains, now exceed 10,000 separate targets. That’s a conservative estimate.

While people can still access pirate sites in the UK, it’s not as easy as it once was. The blocking efforts mainly make it harder for casual pirates to find content. To keep things this way, rightsholders have found an atypical ally in Google.

Google-Amplified Site Blocking

As covered previously, the search engine voluntarily removes pirate sites from its search results when rightsholders forward applicable site-blocking orders. As a result, domains such as ThePirateBay.org are no longer findable in the UK, France, and other countries.

Google’s compliance initially came as a surprise. After all, the tech giant previously opposed whole-site removals arguing that these would be counterproductive and jeopardize the free flow of information on the Internet.

Times have changed, however; Google has switched to a more cooperative policy which continues quietly today. New removal requests for torrent, download, and streaming piracy sites arrive regularly. Google has also removed thousands of YouTube-ripper domains after music group BPI alerted it to relevant court orders.

IPTV: Not Found

This week, we stumbled upon a new category to add to the list. After obtaining an IPTV-related blocking order last year, Sky asked Google to remove various domain names linked to IPTV providers.

In a recent notice, dated April 23, Sky reports geniptv.net, iptvmain.store, iptvmain.tv and iptvmain.uk as infringing domains. These are all linked to IPTV services subject to a High Court injunction issued in 2023.

iptv main

As far as we know, none of the mentioned domains host any content directly. Instead, these sites are used to sell IPTV subscriptions that provide access to unauthorized live broadcasts, including sports, plus on-demand films and series.

The IPTVmain.store website notes that this is all above board. “IPTV Main operates within legal boundaries, providing legitimate streaming services to our users,” its FAQ reads. However, Sky believes otherwise and the High Court agrees.

More IPTV Sites Removed

The High Court injunction allows for dynamic and time-sensitive IP address annd URL blocking. In addition, it requires local ISPs to implement static domain name blockades for the IPTV sites in question. Google followed suit, removing the infringing domains.

The latest notice isn’t the first of its kind. While thrawling through the Lumen database we spotted a few other notices where Sky urged the search engine to take action. These include other IPTVmain and GenIPTV domains, as well as CatIPTV, BunnyStream, EnigmaStreams and GoTVMix, all targets in the High Court injunction.

iptv targets

The effectiveness of these search engine removals is unknown, but it certainly won’t hurt Sky’s attempts to make IPTV services less accessible. Whether Google is open to follow-up actions, such as DNS blocking, or even more direct Chrome browser blocks, remains to be seen.

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