Site blocking efficacy study: United Kingdom 2015

Incopro has compiled this report on behalf of the Motion Picture Association (MPA) to further assess the efficacy of site blocking in the UK. This study is an update to a report written six months earlier, to look at the ongoing impact of site blocking in the UK, to analyse the impact on usage of unblocked sites, and to look at the ways in which users attempt to circumvent these blocks.

There have also been further court ordered blocks since Incopro last report, which will be included within this analysis.

This report evaluates the efficacy of site blocking in terms of:

  • The direct impact on relevant blocked sites in the UK;
  • The impact on similar sites that are not blocked;
  • The impact on the overall piracy landscape.

The report considers the measures that may be taken by users to circumvent the blocks and aims to assist in understanding the longer term effectiveness of site blocking as an enforcement tool.

Two key assessments are applied in this report:

  • Sites that have been blocked in the UK are assessed by reference to the impact on usage for the particular site (taking account of all relevant proxies where possible).
  • The global usage of the site, excluding UK usage, is analysed as the control; The impact of site blocking on the wider piracy problem in the UK is also assessed.

These same assessments were undertaken in the expert evidence given by Helen Saunders of Incopro in the Cartier case (Cartier International AG & Ors v British Sky Broadcasting & Ors), although the assessment in the Cartier case was narrower than is undertaken in this report. This is further explained in Appendix C.

This report has been prepared under the supervision of Ms Helen Saunders, Head of Projects and Analytics at Incopro.

Download the report