Have you ever gone to stream your favorite show online for free, only to find the site blocked? I know how frustrating that can be!
Recently, a major anti-piracy organization called the Motion Picture Association (MPA) added over 15 free streaming sites to the UK site-blocking list. These included popular sites like MoviesJoy, Soap2Day, and CouchTuner.
As a fellow streaming enthusiast, I wanted to dig deeper into this news. What‘s really behind these latest blocks? How might it impact our ability to stream in the future? And most importantly, how can we continue watching safely and legally?
In this article, I‘ll provide some history and context around the MPA‘s anti-piracy efforts. I‘ll analyze the pros and cons of site blocking, and what alternatives there may be. My goal is to help equip you with the knowledge needed to keep streaming, while avoiding legal risks or malware.
Ready? Let‘s dive in.
What is the MPA and What Do They Want?
The Motion Picture Association (MPA) is a trade organization representing major Hollywood studios like Netflix, Disney, Paramount, and more.
Formed in 1922 as the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA), its mission has been to promote the film industry and tackle copyright infringement for nearly a century.
The MPA spends over $2 million annually lobbying for stricter copyright laws and enforcement. Most recently, they‘ve set their sights on offshore streaming sites that allow users to watch movies and shows for free.
Why Does the MPA Claim Site-Blocking is Needed?
The MPA argues these "pirate" sites undermine their profits, costing them between $40-97.1 billion per year according to various studies . By making films freely available, these sites divert viewers away from legal services like Netflix or Disney+ where the studios earn revenue.
The MPA also claims sites can expose users to malware, identity theft, or other scams . And kids might find adult content on these sites unchecked.
But privacy advocates counter that the MPA is exaggerating these risks. Most just want you to pay for content rather than stream for free .
The Whack-a-Mole Game
In recent years, the MPA has played an intense game of "whack-a-mole" trying to block streaming sites around the world.
As soon as one site gets taken down, another pops up using a different domain. Users simply move on to the next free option.
Since 2018, the MPA has requested over 9,300 site blocks globally. Some of their major targets:
123Movies – After the original 123movies.to was shut down, clones continue popping up.
Cuevana – Authorities blocked Cuevana3.io last year, but mirrors like Cuevana2 still work.
SolarMovie – While solarmovie.ph is down, solarmovie.ms emerged as an alternative.
And this is just a small sample. The list goes on and on!
But do these blocks even work? Questionable.
While traffic may dip temporarily after a block, users quickly find ways around it like virtual private networks (VPNs). And new sites consistently emerge due to the demand.
MPA critics argue there is often "collateral damage" associated with large-scale blocking orders:
Overblocking – At times, legitimate sites get blocked unintentionally .
Archival sites affected – Even sites hosting public domain or creative commons works have been targeted .
Internet Freedom – Blocking sites without judicial review violates principles of net neutrality and free speech, some claim.
Limited transparency – The specific criteria for blocking sites is unclear in many cases.
This collateral damage highlights the complexity of enforcing copyright law on the internet. More nuance may be required.
What Fans Can Do
So with the MPA ramping up blocks, what‘s a streaming fan to do? Here are a few tips:
Consider paid services – While it‘s tempting to find free options, services like Netflix offer reliable quality with less risk. You may discover it‘s worth the monthly fee, especially for exclusives.
Use a VPN – A virtual private network (VPN) masks your IP address so your internet service provider (ISP) can‘t see the sites you visit. This allows access to blocked content. I recommend ExpressVPN [affiliate link].
Beware fake sites – Fake "copycat" sites with names close to popular streaming apps try to lure fans and hit you with scams or malware. Carefully check the URL before entering any info.
Use Antivirus software – To avoid viruses from unverified sites, be sure you have Antivirus software installed and running scans regularly. Here‘s my recommended free Antivirus guide [internal link].
Seek legal alternatives – Lawmakers are slowly modernizing with the times. You can now digitally rent the latest movies or stream shows legally in many regions. Search for options in your country.
Yes, staying on top of the cat and mouse game the MPA is playing takes diligence. But with some common sense precautions, we can keep streaming safely and legally.
I‘ll be sure to keep you updated as more changes arise around site-blocking and copyright crackdowns. But in the meantime, I welcome your thoughts and feedback! How has MPA site blocking impacted your streaming experience? Let me know in the comments.
And as always, happy streaming!