South African ISPs Instructed To Block Torrent And Piracy Websites

It is being reported that the Southern African Federation Against Copyright Theft (SAFACT) has asked South African Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block access to torrent websites and any websites which infringe on the rights of content copyright holders. These are typically websites that allow users to download pirated content such as music and movies.

This is not the first time a similar move has been made in South Africa, earlier in 2017 a South African Usenet provider, NewsHost, and its torrent analog Bitfarm were also shut down by SAFACT. This came after a mandate given by the Motion Picture Association to target websites that enabled copyright infringement.

The recent SAFACT proposal is said to have been presented to the Internet Service Providers’ Association of South Africa (ISPA) and has also attracted the attention of Rightscorp - a USA company known for its data analytics and litigation services, as well as copyright infringement protection services.

"Since 2011, we have warned that U.S. ISPs risk incurring huge liabilities if they fail to implement and enforce policies to terminate the accounts of subscribers who repeatedly infringe copyrights. Piracy, of course, is a worldwide epidemic and this recent news from South Africa reinforces the idea that efforts to reduce piracy should start with the ISPs," said Christopher Sabec, President at Rightscorp.

The SAFACT proposal to ISPs is said to also include a clause that statea that it is the responsibility of the ISPs to block the infringing websites. ISPs apparently have so far dismissed the proposal as impractical and likely to increase their operational costs.

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