High Court orders major ISP to block usenet site due to piracy

By on July 29, 2011, 7:04 AM

On Thusrday, the British High Court ruled that British Telecommunications, one of the largest ISPs in the world, must block public access to Newzbin2, a popular source for downloading illegitimate copies of television shows and other media. The ruling is unprecendented in the United Kingdom and serves as a landmark victory for the Motion Picture Association, the MPAA's international counterpart, comprised of Hollywood heavyweights such as Fox, Warner Brothers, Universal and Walt Disney.

This is not the first time Newzbin has been the subject of legal matters. Just over a year ago, Newzbin was found guilty by a British judge for knowingly providing unauthorized access to copyrighted content. The usenet site was ordered to be shut down but Newzbin2, a clone of Newzbin, cropped up shortly after its closure. Unlike the original, Newzbin2 is hosted on the island nation of Seychelles and thus cannot be shut down by British courts. As a result however, it seems the High Court chose to simply block access to the usenet site all together.

BT, the world's oldest telecommunications company, has said it will not appeal the decision and calls the judgement "helpful". Simon Milner, Group Policy Director at BT, also commented on another precedent set by the judgement, requiring copyright holders to prove in court that a website infringes upon their copyrights before forcing websites to be blocked or shut down. This is the first clear ruling in the UK which requires copyright owners to do so prior to legal action.

"This is a helpful judgement, which provides clarity on this complex issue. It clearly shows that rights holders need to prove their claims and convince a judge to make a court order. BT has consistently said that rights holders need to take this route. We will return to court after the summer to explain what kind of order we believe is appropriate."

-- Simon Milner, Group Policy Director at BT

Not surprisingly, advocates for digital freedoms have shown mostly lament for the ruling, calling it a "dangerous" precedent with "serious risks" and have lambasted it as another method by which "our digital rights are to be determined by Hollywood, not parliament." 

"Website blocking is pointless and dangerous. These judgements won't work to stop infringement or boost creative industries. And there are serious risks of legitimate content being blocked and service slowdown. If the goal is boosting creators' ability to make money from their work then we need to abandon these technologically naive measures, focus on genuine market reforms, and satisfy unmet consumer demand."

-- Peter Bradwell, representative from the Open Rights Group

On the other side of the aisle, parties which have a vested interest in the protection of copyrighted works applaud the judgement, iterating the importance of protecting creative arts, upholding laws and encouraging proactive responsibility among ISPs.

"This ruling from Justice Arnold is a victory for millions of people working in the UK creative industries and demonstrates that the law of the land must apply online. This court action was never an attack on ISPs but we do need their cooperation to deal with the Newzbin site which continually tries to evade the law and judicial sanction. Newzbin is a notorious pirate website which makes hundreds of thousands of copyrighted products available without permission and with no regard for the law."

-- Chris Marcich, President of the MPA




User Comments: 15

Got something to say? Post a comment
dedparrot said:

the answer is easy.

boycott BT. which isn't very hard to do since they provide pretty crap speeds and crap prices.

Tomorrow_Rains said:

If i understand correctly, Which i do.

This is just the beginning, But then again...British Telecommunication Customers can just use a proxy or get a vpn.

Until the MPAA decides to ban that too. Which i'm pretty sure they are working on it.

fimbles fimbles said:

BT are the most overhyped of the british isps.

Over priced, over managed, And soon to lose a lot of customers it seems.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This will only be the start you can feel. Who knows now where the censorship could end.

dedparrot said:

the good thing about the uk is we can switch isp's pretty quickly, and there's a million to choose from. a privilege unfortunately our fellow americans do not have.

cuerdc said:

Newzbin2

Never tried this site before thanks for advertising it will start using it now

yRaz yRaz said:

If the goal is boosting creators' ability to make money from their work then we need to abandon these technologically naive measures, focus on genuine market reforms, and satisfy unmet consumer demand.

I could not agree more with Peter Bradwell. The way we consume media has changed so the market has to change with it.

dedparrot said:

the good thing about the uk is we can switch isp's pretty quickly, and there's a million to choose from. a privilege unfortunately our fellow americans do not have.

I have comcast, my ONLY other option is verizon DSL...

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

So when are they going to block access to Google?

howzz1854 said:

it seems with all the blocking that's going on around the world.... Proxy is becoming more and more reasonable solution. and i am not even talking about pirating. but simple sometimes when i watch too many netflix online, clocking in too much bandwidth at a time, my ISP somehow throttles down the speed. and this is not just me, other people have experienced this. Proxy solves the problem.

HiDDeNMisT HiDDeNMisT said:

Lol there's no use blovking websites. People will just use proxies and/or VPN's. There's no way to stop it unless they shutdown the internet entirely. Let me not give them any ideas lol. MPAA is just a group of people that sues a 70 year old woman when she barely knows how to click or surf websites, these are the people that sues dead people, these are the people that sued a 12 year old lil gurl.

PinothyJ said:

cuerdc said:

Never tried this site before thanks for advertising it will start using it now

I am binsearch.info man myself...

fpsgamerJR62 said:

If the intent was to block the site for copyright violations, why should the court order apply only to BT and not the other British ISPs ?

Leeky Leeky said:

I have to agree, BT themselves are one of many ISPs in our country. There must be a hundred or more ISPs that run off of BT infastructure alone.

BT speed or that of ADSL are usually crap anyway - its precisely why I've been a fibre-optic customer with Cambridge Cable/NTL/Virgin Media for more than a decade!

Where I live now is a perfect example: BT's ADSL (or anyone else using ADSL) is like 2.2MB, or Virgin Media fibre-optic is 10/20/30/50/100MB... Erm, I'll take fibre-optic then!

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Leeky said:

I have to agree, BT themselves are one of many ISPs in our country. There must be a hundred or more ISPs that run off of BT infastructure alone.

BT speed or that of ADSL are usually crap anyway - its precisely why I've been a fibre-optic customer with Cambridge Cable/NTL/Virgin Media for more than a decade!

Where I live now is a perfect example: BT's ADSL (or anyone else using ADSL) is like 2.2MB, or Virgin Media fibre-optic is 10/20/30/50/100MB... Erm, I'll take fibre-optic then!

Yeah I don't get it either.

BT called and said they have the fastest speed my house can get, 8Mb down, 512Kb up.

In the real world I got 3038Kb down and 212Kb up.

I then spoke to BE, my current provider, on the same line BT provided (which I have canceled because it really was apalling, Ping time to anything was always above 300ms)

They said I can get a Annex M line if I wanted higher uploads. So I installed them and these are what I get.

Annex A

12.5Mb Down

1.2Mb Up

Annex M

10.5 Down

1.9 Up

So my question is simple, Why can't the biggest ISP in the UK offer the fastest speeds? I mean, they have the network and the money for the tech?

I just wish Virgin Media was possible down my road Although BE have really impressed me, My average ping to UK servers on TF is is between 7ms and 13ms!!!

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

So my question is simple, Why can't the biggest ISP in the UK offer the fastest speeds? I mean, they have the network and the money for the tech?

So I take it you've never considered the whole "shareholder profits" versus "losses due to improvement to infrastructure" thing?

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