Great news in London today! A High Court judge ruled that British Telecom (BT) must block access to Newzbin2, a notorious site that links to thousands of stolen movies, television programs, games, music and books in direct violation of a previous order against it.
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 property.”
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.”
This is a significant judgment that reflects a clear recognition that under the existing law, Courts can issue orders to prevent illegal activity online. It rejects BT arguments that they have no responsibility to act against copyright theft and states that the order is proportionate.
This comprehensive and unequivocal 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.
In the end, to effectively fight content theft all the players in the Internet ecosystem – creators, ISPs, pay processors, advertisers, Internet users and more – need to work together to keep rogue sites from reaching and profiting from the global marketplace. This judgment recognizes that.