BT given two weeks to block Newzbin2 website

By Lee Kaelin on October 27, 2011, 7:00 PM

UK ISP British Telecom (BT) has received 14 days to block access to the members-only usenet-aggregating site Newzbin2 after a high court judge ruled that BT knew the site was being used for copyright infringement on a large scale.

"It follows that BT has actual knowledge of other persons using its service to infringe copyright: it knows that the users and operators of Newzbin 2 infringe copyright on a large scale, and in particular infringe the copyrights of the studios in large numbers of their films and television programmes," said Mr Justice Arnold when making the latest ruling (PDF).

In a written judgment, Mr. Justice Arnold enforced the original ruling made in July that the UK-based ISP must prevent its customers from accessing the aforementioned site in order to protect the right holders' revenues. This marks the first time a British ISP has been ordered to block a particular website by UK courts.

The original July proceedings were brought on by US film studios 20th Century Fox, Universal, Warner Bros, Paramount, Disney, and Columbia pictures, which are members of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

"In my judgment, the costs of implementing the order should be borne by BT," Justice Arnold said. "BT is a commercial enterprise which makes a profit from the provision of the services which the operators and users of Newzbin2 use to infringe the studios' copyright. As such, the costs of implementing the order can be regarded as a cost of carrying on that business."

BT is required to pay the £5,000 (~$8,000) required to implement the block using its cleanfeed tool, usually reserved for blocking pornographic sites, to filter and stop all traffic to all of Newzbin2's URLs and IP addresses, as well as pay costs incurred by the motion pictures companies for fighting the appeal. Justice Arnold acknowledged the firm would be unable to block encrypted traffic using VPN services, or those accessing through proxies.

The parties will return to court in November to determine how the blocking will work, and BT has stated they will not appeal the new ruling. Newzbin2 released a client in September that they say will allow users to bypass BT's cleanfeed systems.

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