On April 26th in EU S District Court for the Southern District of New York a federal jury judge ordered all Internet service providers within the United States to block three pirate streaming services operated by doe defendants. The defendants never showed up to court and hid behind false identities online. The order effects Israel.tv, Israel-tv.com, and Sdarot.tv. Each ruling provides a list of 96 ISP’s that are expected to block the websites. These ISP’s include Comcast, charter, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. The ruling goes so far as to say that all ISP’s must comply even if they are not on the list.

The court went on to order that all Internet service providers within the United States would block the access to the websites listed in the court case. It even extended the order to any website the “doe defendants“, which is a fictitious defendant, may create in the future. It isn’t clear how this is going to be enforced since the defendants were never identified. It went on to say that Internet service providers were allowed to block them by any technical means that they had on hand. That included blocking users from being able to connect or refusing to allow DNS, which is your domain name server, to connect to the website.

The three lawsuits were filed by Israeli TV and movie producers and providers against the doe defendants who operate these websites. Each of the rulings awarded $7.65 million in damages. The order also contains permanent injunctions against the defendants themselves and other types of companies that provide services to the defendants or may do so in the future. These companies include Cloudflair, GoDaddy, Google, and Namecheap. In all three of the cases none of the defendants responded to the complaints. Nor did they appear in court.

“Defendants have gone to great lengths to conceal themselves and their ill-gotten proceeds from Plaintiffs’ and this Court’s detection, including by using multiple false identities and addresses associated with their operations and purposely deceptive contact information for the infringing Website,” the rulings say.

The ruling went further to target web hosts and banks. The judge ordered domain registrars and registries to transfer the domain names to plaintiffs. The ruling included injunctions against third parties providing services used in connection with the defendants’ operations. This included web hosts, content delivery networks, DNS providers, VPN providers, web designers, search based online advertising services, and others. Financial institutions also faced a similar ban on doing business with the blocked websites. It stated that the plaintiff shall have an ongoing authority to serve this order to any party controlling or otherwise holding such accounts until they have recovered the full payment of monies owed to them by the defendant under this order. This would apply to PayPal, banks, and all payment providers.

Although this would look like it is a piracy crackdown taken from another angle it could like look like legalized theft. Since the defendants were never identified the plaintiffs now have a blank check on anyone they accuse of being doe. This means that you might be considered doe and lose your bank accounts and ability to operate online. This was at the very least an unconservative judgment. The court must have a defendant and a plaintiff in order to move forward with recovering restitution. Without an identifiable defendant anyone can be blamed in this court case as the defendant.



Kutztown grad specializing in political drama and commentary. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter.