Athens Tackles Internet Piracy

Although most in the country might have other things on their mind at the moment, it seems Greece is joining other European countries in tackling Internet piracy.

The Athens First Instance Court handed down a ruling ordering the country’s Internet service providers to begin censoring websites the music industry says are infringing their copyrights on a grand scale.

The UK and The Netherlands have already started trying to blockade sites such as The Pirate Bay.

The Greek blocks will be initiated in two ways. ISPs will have to tamper with their DNS records so that subscribers trying to access the sites will be redirected elsewhere, probably to an ISP holding page.

To thwart people trying to visit the sites without the use of a domain name at all, the IP addresses for the sites will be filtered out.

It’s difficult to gauge how effective the Athens court ruling will be.

In Greece, the main sites that need censoring are, a music-sharing forum once very popular with locals, and

Ellinadiko already appears to have shut down, while Music-Bazaar is operated and hosted in Russia and beyond the reach of Greek and European law.

Apart from that, according to discussion on Greek file-sharing forums, the IP addresses for both sites listed in the court order are no longer in use. Both were changed some time ago.

There is still an ongoing argument as to whether blocking websites infringes European laws on human rights. Two weeks ago, Neelie Kroes – the European Commission’s vice president for the digital agenda – said she doubts it will be possible to enforce laws restricting the use of the Internet.

“We have recently seen how many thousands of people are willing to protest against rules which they see as constraining the openness and innovation of the Internet,” she explained. “This is a strong new political voice. And as a force for openness, I welcome it, even if I do not always agree with everything it says on every subject.”