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back to article Film studios thrash BT in Newzbin site-block test case

In a landmark test case, the High Court in the UK has ordered BT to block access to the pirate site Newzbin2. The site makes movies, music and applications available and describes itself as "the Google of Usenet". It's a stunning victory for six major Hollywood film studios who brought the case, with counsel from the Motion …

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Stop

oh dear

Well, there goes the neighbourhood ...

I can understand why the judge has come to that ruling, but you know the floodgates are going to open now to every litigious little creep out there

it's a sad day

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Facepalm

One word: unenforceable

This is a poor decision by all parties involved. Does no one understand modern technology or open access? The principle in this judgement will likely be overturned by higher courts in time, BT will lose subscribers if they try to enforce, Newzbin has just received massive free publicity and now alternatives will be offered for and searched by UK users, There are hundreds if not thousands of such sites - after all its just a link. Does the MPA think this will increase sales? That people will stop downloading and go buy a copy instead?

Even the history of the Internet shows this never works: first websites were shutdown (SupraNova, Mininova), then around the same time, P2P networks appeared (Napster, Limewire) but were ruled against and shutdown, then there was BitTorrent a whole P2P protocol created for just content distribution, now there's thousands of sites like Newzbin.

How do they expect to enforce this? What about Google? Google provides links to infringing content all the time. So, why is Google not being blocked? Will they block OpenDNS? What about anonymizers? Or VPNs like HideIPVPN.com, Overplay.net, or my-private-network.co.uk? What about anonymity networks like TOR?

BT's highly controversial "Cleanfeed", originally intentioned only to block a sliver of traffic that relates to child porn that is illegal (illegality due to obvious "supply" reasons), now becomes a high profile target for even the most casual of hackers. Guess when people told BT their product was unnecessary, they should have listened since that any individual ISP-level censorship opens them up to arbitrary responsibilities and accusations they have the tools. You think ISP censorship products will be allowed to operate quietly, hidden, un-circumvented and even unimpeded? They will be attacked, disclosed, opened just like everything else...

All this just because an industry with more money than sense is willing to spend a fraction of its funds bullying the rest of society by litigation, media campaigns and political means to preserve and increase its incumbent technology instead of recognising how much the world has changed and innovating their delivery system. People will gladly pay out of their ears for a Netflix-like flat-rate service, and yet even today such services are broadly not available in the UK or most of Europe ...

One cannot talk of human right breaches or Internet censorship in other countries like China and Australia while on the other hand enshrining in law the very right to practice the same in the UK. In fact, even talk of net neutrality and open access starts to lose all meaning if censorship its taken to its logical, slippery slope conclusion.

What about mission creep, first it was child porn, now piracy, what next? Far right propaganda (Anders Behring Breivik style)? Animal rights campaigners? Political activist sites? "Violent" but consensual porn? "Violent" or sexually graphic animations (hentai, manga)? At what point are you attempting to censor thoughts?

Internet routes around damage, because life finds a way. Learn to deal with it, properly...

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Stop

Next step I see is

blocking unfavorable reviews of their Films/Music as they are 'damaging' the copyholders product.

Doomed I tell we are all doomed!

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Happy

Bravo

Bravo sir / madam (as you were anon)

You said in a large nutshell what we are all thinking.

I am getting some popcorn in for when they go after google.

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Devil

MP Ed Vaizey, Culture Secretary, laughing all the way

Looks like MP Ed Vaizey, Culture Secretary, has just won or at least gained a massive lever for his secret proposal for industry-led Internet censorship by the back door.

Previously, the Courts effectively ruled that links have no association to content and ISPs. This new judgement may have very costly repercussions for ISPs (large and small) since they can now be sued for NOT censoring *enough*! This could also have a disproportionately costly and chilling effect on smaller ISPs since it opens them up to litigation.

What a mess!

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Anonymous Coward

I'm ignorant, I know but ...

What is actually wrong with ".....litigation, media campaigns and political means to preserve and increase its incumbent technology"? Why should they innovate "..their delivery system"?

This person definitely won't "... gladly pay out of their ears for a Netflix-like flat-rate service" I'm not alone and I guess that is why "...even today such services are broadly not available in the UK or most of Europe".

It angers me that people who should know better think it is a good idea to copy the works of others and put them on the internet apparently free of charge but making money for themselves in the process. They're no better than Google! and that is a damning statement. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

By all means innovate, that is a good thing and I applaud it. But when you've been nailed, as is the case now, STFU and move on - unless you believe a principle is at stake. BT obviously have the dosh and may not care about principle - they brought us Phorm, after all.

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WTF?

@AC (12:20) I agree

--> What is actually wrong with ".....litigation, media campaigns and political means to preserve and increase its incumbent technology"? Why should they innovate "..their delivery system"?

I couldn't agree more, I think we should ban portable players, CDs, cassette tapes, even vinyl. Things were much better when people could only listen to what was played on the radio to them. That'll teach those plebs who want more from the creative arts industry.

On a more serious note, I think you've entirely missed the point, the writer wasn't asking for sites like NewzBin to innovate, he was asking for the media industry itself to, thus making sites like NewzBin superfluous to all but a marginal section of society (piracy always occurs to some extent)

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Excellently Worded Response

Bravo Sir.

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Unhappy

Hmmm

I don't agree with internet users being able to rip-off creative content, even the scumbag mega-corps have a right to protect the artists IP, but you are right this will get a little nasty as people sue each other left anf right for the most minor infraction. This will go on for a long time before we see some sense and the whole affair has to be rought to heel. Can't wait for a slew of pathetic cases because someone made a tiny 150x150 PNG icon on a webpage and others have borrowed it without consent.

Sadly you only have to look at the mess the patent stuff is in to see that common sense may take a very, very long time to come!

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Joke

Radio, Radio?

Damned subversive things, letting the proles have access to music for almost nothing. Make them dress up in their finest suits and pay through the nose for a concert ticket like the rest of us do.

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Re: I'm ignorant, I know but ...

My kids like Batman. Series, such as The Batman and Batman Beyond aren't available on DVD in the UK. Given the technology available, why aren't WB making legal downloads available? I'd happily pay for them.

So long as record labels and film studios continue to push customers into the arms of pirates, their customers will forsake them for the pirates.

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Big Brother

So one more act of control, turn the screw, tighten the control a bit more. :(

This legal ruling means that the film and music industries have finally got what they have always wanted. Unfortunately they now have a legal way to force censorship over the Internet and sadly we all know this is just the beginning.

@"There are hundreds if not thousands of such sites"

True there are, but never the less, unfortunately the film and music industries will happily employ rooms of people to scour the Internet and add every site they can to domain black lists and if anyone complains (and they will struggle to have their complaint heard) the rich film and music industries now have the this legal ruling to throw in their face, backed up with an army of highly paid lawyers to drag out any legal battle for years until the already closed down (and therefore censored) sites and companies go out of business.

So yes it won't stop piracy, but it will add a huge growth industry into Internet censorship which is the real danger. Plus you can bet the governments will secretly be only too happy to support this legal ruling as well. Censorship doesn't stop the determined from finding what they seek, it never has, but in time, it will reduce what the masses can find and whilst the film and music industries say that's good, the undeniable bad is the ability to censor the Internet leading to governments exploiting this ruling as well, allowing them to help keep the majority of people more in the dark about what they are really doing, whilst they pretend its all in our best interests.

The core problem is we desperately need a free Internet. In decades past we could at least rely on the main newspapers to show some journalistic integrity to show us what our governments were really doing behind our backs. But these days as Murdock's close connections with the politicians shows so completely, we cannot trust the newspapers at all to tell us the truth, so we badly need a free Internet to leak government documents (which should be public documents, but they refuse to show us the truth, as they know we will be pissed off with them if we find out the truth). The problem is governments will happily abuse this legal ruling into a way to add more censorship.

This legal ruling is so bad its obscene, but sadly its not entirely unexpected. We all know they have always wanted this for years. The question now is what is done about it and you can bet the governments will secretly obstruct any attempt to overthrow this legal ruling in court, as they know they can abuse this legal ruling for themselves as well. So they will want this legal ruling to stick in some way, regardless of the freedom the majority of society wants.

So its one more act of control, turn the screw, tighten the control a bit more.

While you're at it, turn the heat up on that boiling frog, it should be almost cooked by now.

So one more step toward Totalitarian control, all in the name of the media distributors. :(

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: MP Ed Vaizey, Culture Secretary, laughing all the way

Er, site blocking is already law. Has been for a year. The ISPs are already exposed to litigation.

Vaizey wants voluntary industry self-regulation to *replace* the clauses in the Digital Economy Act. This will certainly be cheaper than Hollywood picking them off one by one in the High Court.

You need to be aware of the facts before ranting.

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Facepalm

c'mon dude

The company name behind Newzbin2 is: "Kthxbai Ltd ".

0.3% of teh content on Newzbin2 was not protected by copyright.

Seriously. Can this ever have been anything other than illegal?

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WTF?

Who's next on the block then?

Google. A search engine that facilitates copyright infringement on a massive scale.

Blocking is not the answer in much the same way that shutting down the web site is not the answer. Take away the reason for copyright infringement (the over-inflated cost of music and video) and the problem will (largely) go away. Blocking this web site will merely prompt the use of proxies or a proliferation of additional IP address.

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Joke

"Things were so much better when people could only listen to what was played on the radio to them"

You evil advocate of piracy you! Don't you know that radio stations play valuable intellectual property lovingly crafted onto 78 shellac discs that have only been licenced to be played in the home to family members only? The record industry will perish, I tell you, perish...

Sorry, I've just been told by the Edison company that 78s are in violation of their patented wax cylinders which are obviously the right and proper way to listen to recorded music, so...

Ah, a telegram from the makers of player pianos pointing out that Edison's wax cylinders are killing their business and that hundreds of poor people paid 50 cents a day to punch out the piano rolls will be thrown onto the streets...

But what's this? It's eminent composer John Philip Souza proclaiming to all and sundry that the player piano will KILL OFF LIVE MUSIC and NOBODY WILL LISTEN TO AN ORCHESTRA EVER AGAIN!!!1!

And so the depressingly familiar pattern continues: the entertainment industry continues to prefer to throw more and more money at keeping their cosy little monopoly than they'd ever spend working out how to adapt to a changing world.

I shed no tears for NewzBin, but I fear for the original small film-makers and musicians who will be hit by big business who regard themselves as the One True Way to sell entertainment to the masses, and have just been handed a large, legal sledgehammer to do the hitting with.

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A thought or two

Why consider banning portable players, CDs, cassette tapes and vinyl? If I want to make a recording for my own use from the radio or other medium I'm permitted, by law, to do this. If I want to access and download material out of copyright I'm permitted to do this, legally. What I'm not permitted to do is infringe copyright and this case appears to me to be all about that. Two profit making organisations are stealing or aiding and abetting the theft from law abiding citizens.

What have I missed?

The music, print and film industry should innovate in their delivery processes. They definitely wont while wholesale thieves are out there. Why should they? Were is their incentive? They innovate and somebody steals their next solution. They cock up the innovation as Sony did with their rooting of PCs and they get screwed. They have the law on their side as has just been shown by this ruling. While they can continue to access and influence feckless politicians and 'civil servant' the law must be applied. What did BT expect??!! Clowns!

I've no idea how to change the law but that is one strand of the solution. It is certainly not acceptable to condone or support theft by BT, NewzBin or whoever. Show/prove the Media are stealing and then you might have the beginings of a change plan?

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: "Things were so much better"

Souza was talking about phonographs (record players), not player pianos. The part of the story never told is that Souza became a big supporter of the record player once a royalty agreement was reached that rewarded composers.

See? There's a moral in there somewhere, that even a 'tard can see.

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Big Brother

The Player Piano

Comments from people like Souza managed to get a specific clause inserted in the US Copyright act of 1908. That clause is still in force today. John (Maddog) Hall (well known FOSS Supporter) was recently threatened for breaching this clasue. why? He wanted to restore some original Player Piano rolls. The Player Piano Company has a monopoly on the production of rolls even though the music they use is out of copyright, they still have copyright on the paper/card rolls after more than 100 years.

This is why Disney can keep renewing copytight on Mickey M.

Be careful what you wish for. Things may get out of hand and have consequences long into the future.

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The content isn't hosted on Newzbin2

It's hosted on Usenet servers scattered across the globe, in binary newsgroups. Newzbin2 provide an index.

Also, Newzbin2 were not even represented in court, this is a case of party a asking the court toforce an ISP to block an overseas site. That precedent has now been set and you can expect everyone from Scientology to the Chiropractors tobe applying for "Newzbin2" orders in the near future.

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Anonymous Coward

"People will gladly pay out of their ears for a Netflix-like flat-rate service"

Well put.

I pay around £40/month for my internet connection and access to a usenet server with 3 years binary retention - that's what I consider to be my flatrate film/tv source, if the tv/movie industry would stop being so amazingly stupid they'd setup a legal, viable alternative and they'd attract more than just the knowledgable internet user, they'd attract the general public which is a much much larger market.

Sadly I don't think that'll happen, too bad for the tv/movie industry (although I don't feel too sorry when they're too busy trying to punish people instead of trying to make money by offering the people what they want).

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Why?

How is this ruling going to affect original small film-makers and musicians who want to put their stuff on the web for people to download? I suppose BT, in order to protect itself, could say that henceforth nobody can download anything, but that doesn't seem likely.

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WTF?

Whack-a-mole

Newzbin3? 4? 5? 1337?

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Precedent

But now that a legal precedent has been set, all the IP owners need to do is notify the ISPs of a list of sites serving material they don't like and the onus is on the ISP to prove in court the exceptions. I think that sounds expensive for the ISPs and therefore not in their interests.

A whole lotta stuff is about to get banned.

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www.newzbin3.com

"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"

Newzbin2 make no copyright works available, if all the content was removed from newsgroup providers (such as giganews), then what Newzbin2 do wouldn't help with providing content at all.

Will be interesting how they propose to do the block, like greem says this is probably the birth of newzbin3.

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Unhappy

welcome to china

that is all.

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worse than China

You can pretty much stream any film you want in China on youku.

In this narrow respect the UK is worse than China.

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Thumb Down

I'm not keen..

..on our version of Capitalism either. Nor our policy on energy conservation. Environmentally we win because we're smaller but China seems to be more keen to mend its ways so time will tell there. Human rights..hmm. That one's up for debate but I bet the average working Joe(*) goes home and watches TV or goes out to the pub just like I do.

So I would say this is one of several areas where the UK is worse than China and as time goes on there seem to be more and more of them.

(*)But only the working Joe. The poor buggers out in the countryside have a raw deal.

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willing to bet

that something as simple as dialectizer breaks this let alone getting technical

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Coat

I wonder what would happen...

... if pirates decide not to pirate one certain film, what would the effect on that film's sales be? From the studio's point of view it would help sales, from the pirates point of view it is the lose of free publicity coming from people who won't buy it any way. I real want to know which one of these 2 views is real and which one is wishful thinking.

I'll confess to this, there are few films that I _might_ have bought, had I not found a rip for them earlier. The only reason I didn't buy those films is because they weren't wroth watching a 2nd time, and few weren't even worth finishing! But again, they are few films that I bought _because_ I watched the rip (while lazying around), and decided that they are worth watching on the big TV screen at home, plus I wanted to see the extras that come on the disc!

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Thumb Down

Same as music

It's the same as music. Basically no one wants to buy these things because they really aren't worth it. I wouldn't give most modern music / film shelf space, let alone pay for the privilege.

Only now that DVDs are sold for £1 or so am I thinking of buying a few classics, which I may watch again. If the studios offered an unlimited, free streaming service for a fair price (and given the lack of quality in anything new I'm talking £5 / month here) then I'd consider paying for new stuff but otherwise, no way.

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Meh

Lovefilm streaming

Lovefilm already offer a streaming service. IIRC the cheapest package with unlimited streaming is £5.99. The bitrate is piss-poor and the catalogue isn't great, although there are some hidden gems in there.

The real thing I don't get is why they think anyone would pay extra for the latest releases on that service; reduced picture quality, less time to watch *and* no extra features when compared to the blu-ray in the disc based service.

All in all a mixed bag, middle of the road "could do better" offering. But it is very convenient and I would completely ditch the discs if the issues were addressed. (All of those issues are fixable)

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Meh

proxydust.com

That is all.

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more problesm

cleen feed may have worked whail it was only blocking child porn there was not meny pepol atacking it but now it has just actratcted a hold swarm of atackers a lot of who have at least tasit public suport how long do you think till somone finds a way round or throught it or even brakes it completley and then there gose all the blocks not just the pirate ones

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Anonymous Coward

master Bascule

iz that u?

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Flame

So how is it not like Royal Mail carrying pirate DVDs by post?

And can BT be done for piracy in respect of other ISPs' subscribers, since it will at some stage travel over BT cabling? And if it is their duty to moderate content, can they be done for every CP image that has crossed their network?

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Envelopes

Royal Mail isn't (ordinarily) legally allowed to open the envelope to find out what it contains or who sent it.

ISPs, on the other hand, are apparently allowed to look inside your packets to work out what the data is and where it is coming from.

Presumably it only needs some kind of encrypted tunnel (meaning the ISP couldn't see inside your packets even if it wanted to) to work around a block.

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Coat

Re: So how is it not like Royal Mail carrying pirate DVDs by post?

I know that I'll hated for this, but I'll answer any way: Unless you are using an encrypted connection, then the ISP _can_ know which website you are visiting and which file you are downloading. The same can't be said about the post office, since they are dealing with a sealed package.

if the above is confusing, you might wish to read a bit about the http protocol and how it works!

ya, I am leaving

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Silver badge

Re: Envelopes

>Royal Mail isn't (ordinarily) legally allowed to open the envelope to find out what it contains or who sent it

This isn't what BT are being asked to do. They are being asked to block traffic to a site known mainly for providing links to copyrighted material. They know the provider and they know the likely content they won't be analyzing the actual content, the request will simply be blocked.

Mail packages do get inspected and some are more likely to be inspected than others. If you were to receive a package from Colombia with a return address of "White Powder Leisure Supplies Inc." then it would be understandable if it was examined by HM Customs and Excise, granted not RM. So consider the BT internet block to be the same as a RM block on packages from this company.

All the Google analogies are a waste of space, google does not provide mainly links to copyrighted material.

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FAIL

Technically...

There's nothing to stop the post office opening your parcels and inspecting them either, so they _can_ inspect your postal traffic. The difference here is that they're not legally allowed to, whereas ISPs are _required_ to inspect user's traffic.

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Big Brother

Shoot yourself in the foot with the Royal Mail argument

On a one off "connection", Royal Mail will deliver your pirate DVD.

But when they suddenly get a bulk delivery into a depot, they are required to consult the authorities if they suspect illegal activity. It's about what flies below the RADAR - if a user/customer starts sending 1,000 packages a day, they get suspicious. Might be legit, might not. But they do investigate.

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Anonymous Coward

@Chris

So you're saying that if Newsbin were to start hosting pages of links to other files/sites in a comparable number to the supposed copyright infringing material they would be safe?

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Devil

Mail Systems

Once things are inside the mail system there are two people who can open it, Her majesty the queen and yourself.

The police etc can only intercept post if it is sat in customs.

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@AC Re: @Chris

If you need further explanation of the difference between sites which primarily provide links to copyrighted material and sites like Google then my time would be wasted on your single brain cell.

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FAIL

Pfft

So newzbin2 didn’t see this coming, haven’t already put plan B in place and there is not already a FireFox plugin available then?

Welcome to the internets we haz teknolowgy

Fail – next drama please

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Black Helicopters

Now they have a taste of it

how long till some judge decides to extend a super injunction to blocking - say twitter and then say google and Oh look you can still find out the big secret of who kissed who (like anyone gives a s*1t) and blocks the whole damn network.

ring ring... Support here, can I help you?

*&^%*(()

Sorry, did you say your network connection does work?

)^%£$^&*&%^

I'm very sorry but I'm not allowed to tell you why

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Making way for Phorm?

Does this not give BT ammunition for authorising DPI for its subscribers to ensure they are not copyright infringing?

Seems a lot of weak (short?) planks in the defence...

Did it rollover for a greater purpose?

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Silver badge

Re: Making way for Phorm

When did BT rollover? They fought the case in court and the judgement went against them.

Site blocking does not provide ammunition for authorising DPI, if that were the case then all the sites that are already blocked would provide a far greater argument. But why let reasoning get in the way of paranoia.

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Silver badge

Bad news for water companies, too

Since they must know that their product kills people I can't see how they can now be permitted to keep supplying customers with a lethal product. Merely arguing that they have no knowledge of what "their" water is used for after it comes out the tap is obviously no excuse.

It's deadly and must be stopped.

Or is an unproven theory that some entertainment companies may, possibly, be losing an unknowable amount of money a more important factor than actual people drowning or dying in other water-related ways?

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Silver badge

See this

http://www.dhmo.org/facts.html

for why water companies should be stopped.

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