In a landmark ruling, BT, Britain’s largest internet service provider, has been ordered by the High Court in London to block access to the illegal website Newzbin2 within 14 days. This is the first time a website has been blocked by an ISP in the UK under copyright law and sets an important legal precedent going forward.
Newzbin2 features stolen content on their website, providing unlawful copies of film, television, games, music, and other creative material.
In March 2010, Newsbin 2’s predecessor Newzbin was found to be infringing copyright and was ordered by the High Court to filter out the illegal content. The site did not comply with the order and re-launched itself as “Newzbin2”. The new site is based outside of the UK and its owners are operating anonymously.
After Newzbin refused to filter infringing content, the MPA had no option but to ask Britain’s largest ISP to block the site. The High Court ordered BT to block the site in July and the details on the implementation of that blocking order were released today.
Today’s news has been widely welcomed across the UK’s creative industries. Newzbin has profited to the tune of over £1 million per year from wholesale content theft and this injunction will go a long way in stopping their unlawful profit stream.
Lord Puttnam CBE, President of the Film Distributors' Association, had the following to say: “This is a very significant day for the UK’s creative industries. The law is clear. Industrial online piracy is illegal and can be stopped.”
Today’s ruling was also welcomed by BT. A spokesman for the telecom giant called the ruling "helpful” because of the “clarity that it brings." The block will also apply to any variations of the Newzbin site to prevent operators of Newzbin from circumventing the law.
In the future, content creators and distributors should be able to secure greater cooperation from ISPs to address sites that are focused on wholesale copyright theft.
This precedent is essential because the growth of the legal download market is thwarted by sites such as Newzbin 2, which offers stolen content and destroy jobs for honest citizens.