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UK: Telco/Net Provider, BT, Ordered To Block Access to Pirate Site

 1:21 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

UK: Telco/Net Provider, BT, Ordered To Block Access to Pirate Site [bbc.co.uk]
A High Court judge has ruled that BT must block access to a website which provides links to pirated movies.

Newzbin 2 is a members-only site which aggregates a large amount of the illegally copied material found on Usenet discussion forums.

The landmark case is the first time that an ISP has been ordered to block access to such a site.

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 Newzbin 2 infringe copyright on a large scale, and in particular infringe the copyrights of the studios in large numbers of their films and television programmes."



 3:19 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

next stop..... china-like internet.


 3:39 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)


I'm not keen on the ruling by that judge.


 4:05 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

One of the few decisions I have liked but have not read it fully. Theft is only beneficial to thieves to begin with. If you're honest you just end up footing the bills for the thieves to make up for the lost revenues. China deals with the suppression of free speech they feel is counter to the government. You can barely say China is challenging intellectual property theft especially with Apple incidents cropping up right in front of everybody's noses.


 4:31 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's like free drugs. The thieves don't benefit as there's no money involved, the recipients get their fix without paying for the production.

The ISP is an easy target. Can you guess what will happen shortly after the site is blocked? You can, of course; a new method of delivery will pop up.

Asking the ISP to block a site is a problem in more than one respect. It's not the ISP that is to blame, it's the theives in the first place, follwed by the end user choosing to get their free fix.

Where does this lead to with other sites and what is the next site to be blocked? It's rocky road to ruin, imho.

Oh, and don't get me wrong, I completely support the idea of paying for the material so that the artists and performers get their cut. I just don't agree with the method employed in this ruling.


 5:25 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

So is it now the job of ISPs to police what sites resolve?

Are the ISPs responsible for finding every IP that the site resolves at and blocking them? What if the site changes IPs faster than the ISP can add them to the block list?

What happens when an IP they blocked gets reallocated to "a site in good standing?"

It seems like a lot of police and administration work to ask of an ISP, just to protect the copyrights of another private company. Why is it their job to stave this activity off?

If you're honest you just end up footing the bills for the thieves to make up for the lost revenues.

And who is footing the bill for all the extra admin and policing labour and responsibility placed on the ISP? I guarantee it isn't the people using the offending site in question.

It is likely this ruling will have the affect of having customers of the ISP paying the costs of policing and blocking a website just to protect the copyrights of major entertainment groups.

I don't agree that it the responsibility of ISPs to protect the copyrights of major production companies, and I find it appalling that the costs of this "shift of burden" will likely be placed on the customers of the ISP, rather than coming from the companies being infringed on and law enforcement dollars.


 3:34 am on Jul 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

@outland, imagine if you get into a copyright dispute with a big corporation.

Rather than suing you, they ask ISPs to block you.

ISPs have little to lose from blocking one site, have no idea of the facts of who is in the right in the dispute, and do not want the cost of going to court to fight it, so they block you to be safe.

There has been a recent crop of cases of misuse of DMCA notifications (i.e. people make false copyright claims to remove something they do not like, or event to strengthen a negotiating position). That has mostly affected stuff posted on sites like Youtube. This would allow the same to be done to what is on your own site.

We have also had libel allegations in the UK with very little merit used to take sites down. The people making the threats never actually sue anyone, but by threatening intermediaries with liability (e.g. hosting companies) they can take sites down very effectively.


 5:39 am on Jul 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Another aspect of this is interesting.

BT seems to have lost a "mere conduit" protection they would have had under EU law because they had installed a censorship system to block child #*$!.

Those ISPs (mostly small ones) that provide unfettered access to everything may be safe from these injunctions.


 6:25 am on Jul 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Rather than suing you, they ask ISPs to block you.

Not quite

"It clearly shows that rights holders need to prove their claims and convince a judge to make a court order. BT has consistently said that rights holders need to take this route. We will return to court after the summer to explain what kind of order we believe is appropriate," the firm said in a statement.


 1:57 pm on Jul 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

before you know it these "rights holders" and "copyright enforcers" will be pleading to shut down the internet.

seems this electronic stuff scares the pants off these guys. If they spent the brainpower figuring how to to create new money instead of chasing down people that were never going to give them money in the 1st place.


 5:10 am on Jul 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

@piatkow, the problem is that it allows them to sue the ISP, rather than you. Is the ISP really going to spend money defending your site in court? The site owner needs to have their day in court.

Then there is the issue of whether, and when, links can be copyright infringing.


 9:17 am on Aug 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

@graeme_p: English law includes the concept of being an accessory to a crime. If you faciliate a theft (and that is what we are talking about) then you may be liable.


 10:07 am on Aug 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

@piatkow, not really applicable in this case, because no has been convicted of a crime, nor is it clear to me that any crime has taken place (copyright infringement is not usually a crime).


 7:48 pm on Aug 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

nor is it clear to me that any crime has taken place

You weren't by any chance webmaster who ripped off one of my photos the other week? Stealing my IP is no different in my mind to stealing my car or my phone.


 8:11 pm on Aug 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

@piatkow There is also the probability that some level of the offence being committed is being committed outside the jurisdiction of the court (Ultra Vires). It is a can of worms. The "mere conduit" argument would be similar to the "common carrier" argument that was used in the US in the 1990s from what I remember. I still think that when it comes to internet copyright problems a lot of the legal business is a set of 17th Century minds applying 18th Century solutions to 21st Century problems.



 12:21 am on Aug 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

First line of piracy defense and offence should come from the ISP in the first place. IMO that ruling should be carried also to almost every parts of the internet world in each government and/or country.


 4:52 pm on Sep 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

spyjunior, that's fine when you have a well-regulated system. It wouldn't transfer globally as each country has differing laws. That's why the best way is to make it clear what's legal and what's not. There will always be a way of hosting stuff on the net, however, if you know it's illegal to download/upload, or own pirated material, it'll be a up to the individual if they decide to break the local laws. That way they would face the penalties should they decide to break the local laws. Just like it is in the real world.

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