A High Court judge ruled that British Telecom (BT) must block access
to Newzbin2, a usenet search engine that links to pirated content,
in direct violation of a previous order against it.
The landmark case is the first time that an ISP has been ordered to
block access to such a site, and it paves the way for other sites to
be blocked as part of a major crackdown on piracy.
In his ruling, Justice Arnold stated:
"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 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 those users
use its service to receive infringing copies of copyright works made
available to them by Newzbin2."
The judgment rejects BT arguments that they have no responsibility
to act against copyright theft and states that the order is
The ruling had been sought by the Motion Picture Association (MPA),
supported by the creative industries in the United Kingdom to
prevent Newzbin2 from using BT?s internet service to make money
through copyright theft. An estimated 700,000 members use the
Newzbin service, generating the operators in excess of $1.6 million
US dollars profit off stolen content a year.
Chris Marcich, President and Managing Director, of our sister
organization?s European office, said:
"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."
And Christine Payne, Chair of the Creative Coalition Campaign, a
partnership of trade unions representing workers in the creative
industries and organizations in music, film, TV, publishing and
sports in the UK, said:
"Thousands of businesses and millions of workers now know that the
law of the land applies to the internet. Online copyright theft
deprives businesses of up to 20% of their revenues every year.
Finally, this little known law will help us to protect our
MPAA believes that this judgment "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."