Pirate site blocking challenged by DNS resolver

(Image credit: Shutterstock / gonin)

After Germany's largest internet providers agreed to voluntarily block pirate sites (opens in new tab) earlier this year, the DNS (opens in new tab) resolver Quad9 (opens in new tab) has now appealed the blocking order from the Hamburg District Court.

As reported (opens in new tab) by TorrentFreak, these blockades are implemented at the DNS level though DNS blocking is easy to circumvent by switching to Cloudflare, OpenDNS (opens in new tab), Quad9 or another DNS resolver not used by one's ISP.

Since this workaround is widely known by copyright holders, Sony Music obtained an injunction that requires Quad9 to block a popular pirate site.

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While the targeted site was not named in the injunction issued by the District Court of Hamburg, it's likely Canna.to is the site as it is already part of the German internet providers' voluntary blocking agreement.

Quad9's appeal

The non-profit Quad9 foundation recently submitted an appeal to the District Court of Hamburg with the aim of hoping to overturn the blocking requirements.

Although the foundation does not condone piracy (opens in new tab), it believes that using third-party intermediaries to block users from accessing online content is a step too far. At the same time, Quad9 argues that Sony Music could track down the site operator, go after its web hosting (opens in new tab) provider or approach its domain registrar (opens in new tab) instead.

In a blog post (opens in new tab) announcing its appeal, Quad9 explained that browsers (opens in new tab), antivirus software (opens in new tab), firewalls (opens in new tab) and even VPN (opens in new tab) services could be targeted next, saying:

“This case is not just relevant for DNS recursive resolvers and their users – any service or software that can inspect and influence any part of an internet transaction between and end user and any content origin should be concerned with the result. Web browsers, anti-virus software, firewalls, spam filters, email clients, VPN providers, and many other intermediate software and infrastructure components too numerous to list are implicated as potential next targets, as their positions look extremely similar to that of recursive DNS providers in information flow diagrams.

We'll have to wait and see if Quad9 is granted its appeal but in the meantime, the DNS resolver has implemented a temporary hack to comply with the order that allows it to limit the blocking measures to German IP addresses (opens in new tab).

Via TorrentFreak (opens in new tab)

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.