High Court orders BT to block Newzbin2 web site within 14 days

By Derek du Preez
26 Oct 2011 View Comments
Royal Courts of Justice

The High Court has today ordered BT to block filesharing web site Newzbin2.

According to the judgment, BT has 14 days to block Newzbin2 and any other IP address or URL it may choose to use. BT has also been ordered to pay the implementation costs of the blocking order.

Further reading

It is estimated that the initial cost of blocking the web site will be £5,000, and then £100 for each subsequent notification of a web site that appears to be operated by Newzbin2.

Newzbin2 offers users access to copies of films and television programmes without permission from the copyright holders.

In July of this year the High Court ruled that BT must block user access to the web site in a case brought by the Motion Picture Association (MPA), which is supported by the creative industries.

The decision marks the first time an ISP will be required to block a web site under UK copyright law, and potentially paves the way for similar orders to be granted in the future.

The news has been broadly welcomed by the creative industries.

"This is a win for the creative sector," said Chris Marcich, president and managing director (EMEA) for MPA.

"Securing the intervention of the ISPs was the only way to put the commercial pirates out of reach for the majority of consumers," he added.

"This move means that we can invest more in our own digital offerings delivering higher quality and more variety of products."

The judge also ruled that BT, which had resisted the MPA's application, must pay the lion's share of the costs of the application.

"BT did not consent to the order or even adopt a neutral stance on the application," said Justice Arnold of the High Court.

"On the contrary, BT's stance was one of all-out opposition. To that end, it served evidence in opposition, instructed two leading counsel and resisted the application on eight different grounds.

"Each of those grounds failed. In my view the costs of the application from 17 December 2010 to 28 July 2011 should be borne by BT."

The news has not been well received everywhere, however, as digital campaigners the Open Rights Group argue that the MPA and creative industries should focus on creating new business models to suit the digital era, rather than censoring content.

"Website blocking simply will not work. It's a dangerous technological intervention when the legal markets are still a mess," said Peter Bradwell, campaigner for the Open Rights Group.

"Consumers have moved online a lot quicker than the creative industries. The focus should be on making sure they catch up with consumer demand instead of these deranged plans to censor what people are allowed to look at."

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