Studio win: BT ordered to block pirate site

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Studio win: BT ordered to block pirate site

Judge suggests CleanFeed, Newzbin promises to undermine it.

A High Court judge has ordered Britain's largest ISP, British Telecom, to block Usenet search engine, NewzBin2.

The decision handed down on Thursday clears the way for studios to pressure other ISPs to block NewzBin2, which offers a subscription service that organises indexes the Usenet worldwide distributed discussion system.

BT was up against six of the studios that squared off with Australian ISP iiNet in 2009, including Twentieth Century Fox Films, Universal Studios, Warner Brothers, Disney Entertainment and Columbia Pictures.

The studios viewed the now successful injunction as a test case.

Motion Picture Association (MPA) vice president Howard Gantman said that it “sets a clear legal precedent which will enable content creators and distributors to secure greater cooperation from ISPs in the UK to address content theft on the internet and in particular to deal with websites that are focused on wholesale copyright theft.”

The judge recommended blocking NewzBin2 using CleanFeed, which BT already used to block alleged child abuse websites, arstechnica reported.

Newzbin issued a feisty response to the decision, hinting at possible attacks on the CleanFeed system to undermine the block.

Referring to the technical details of the system, Newzbin said: "Bad news: We know how it works. Security through obscurity doesn’t work. And after October neither will Cleanfeed.

"Nothing in the judgement will stop crooks & crackpots like the Scientologists censoring web content by the use of a ‘Newzbin2 Injunction’ (we predict it will be called that). Sue your defamer? Why bother with an expensive lengthy court case? Just get a Newzbin2 Order. No?," it added.

The MPA filed its application for an injunction in December 2010 in response to the emergence of NewzBin2 emergence after a previous ruling that outlawed the UK-based Newzbin1. 

Two weeks after Newzbin1 shuttered, NewzBin2 popped up with servers based in Sweden, outside British jurisdiction.

In his ruling under UK copyright law, Justice Arnold said BT “knows that the users and operators of Newbin2 infringe copyright on a large scale, and in particular infringe the copyrights of the Studios in large numbers of their films and television programmes, it knows that the users of Newzbin2 include BT subscribers, and it knows that those users use its service to receive infringing copies of copyright works made available to them by Newzbin2.”

Justice Arnold rejected BT’s argument that granting the injunction would open the floodgates to applications for it to block other sites. 

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