Rightsholders were cheering yesterday after the British high court ordered ISP BT to block access to filesharing site Newzbin2. The case was brought by the Motion Picture Association, and sets an important precedent for future action of this kind from rightsholders. 

”In my judgment it follows that BT has actual knowledge of other persons using its service to infringe copyright: it knows that the users and operators of Newzbin2 infringe copyright on a large scale, and in particular infringe the copyrights of the studios in large numbers of their films and television programmes,” ruled Justice Arnold. 

The original Newzbin site was shut down after a high court ruling last year (Bulletin, 19-May-10), but the Newzbin2 site sprang up later that year, run out of Sweden. BT had opposed the case, but its director of group industry policy Simon Milner has now welcomed the “helpful” ruling: “It clarifies a complex area of law and shows that rights holders can use the copyright laws in this country. It means they have to prove a site is infringing before court and get a court order.” 

Consumer rights groups have criticised the ruling as a form of censorship. The question is what happens next? Music and movie industry bodies may be drawing up a hitlist of other sites to pursue similar orders. BPI boss Geoff Taylor hailed the ruling, saying it shows the role of ISPs involves “protecting their customers from rogue websites that exploit and profit from creative work without permission, ignore takedown notices and locate themselves beyond the reach of law enforcement.” 

Source: Guardian Source: Music Week

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