Newzbin 2 operators launch software to counteract site-blocking measures, reports say: “A copyright-infringing website has developed software to circumvent technology BT has been ordered to use to prevent its customers accessing the site, according to media reports.”
(Via OUT-LAW News.)
Legally speaking, the internet got a little more censored recently. The Telegraph is reporting that Hollywood has won a major court case in which they are now, for now, able to compel ISPs to block access to, really, any website they pick and choose in the name of combating copyright infringement. At stake was general access to a website known as NewzBin2.
NewzBin2 is a website that offers an index of NZB files. NZB indexing sites are generally simply a list of small files that are merely metadata. The NZB files points to a file made available on one of the oldest known file-sharing networks that is still used quite a lot – UseNet. The file is a bit like a .torrent file, only the file is on a server – or maybe several servers – instead of on other people’s computers. The actual downloading typically doesn’t happen on the NZB indexing site nor is the NZB indexing site keeping track of any data flowing to and from the user.
An NZB file may be convenient, but it simply isn’t necessary for downloading anything on UseNet (access to UseNet providers, sure, but not the NZB file)
So, knowing this, the only thing the court ruling really does is enable Hollywood to censor the internet in the UK. Blocking NewzBin2 will amount to nothing in the end except maybe a temporary minor inconvenience for some people. Many already point to the fact that an encrypted connection will circumvent whatever the ISP throws down against its own users – and if you’re using UseNet regularly, there’s a good chance you’d know about how to hide your connection from ISP level censorship anyway, I think.
What is a little disconcerting is what the judge said in his ruling. From the report:
‘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,’ said Justice Arnold.
In opposing the order, BT had argued that Newzbin2 also links to lawful content, but the court said it was far outweighed by pirated material and that ‘BT’s best shot was to point to a reference to the 1891 Lancashire census’.
If the judge is suggesting that ISPs know what everyone on their network is doing, then isn’t that like saying that the operators of a major subway network know exactly where everyone in the network is going? Sure, whoever is controlling the network might be able to track a handful of individuals, but trying to track every person is way too demanding as the amount of man hours to make sure it knows the movements of every user is simply impractical.
Even scarier is the suggestion that lawful content is no excuse to stop the blocking of a website. It’s very difficult to really know where to begin with that. How much content has to be infringing in order for the website to be blocked? Will it have to be more than 50% infringing content? 25% infringing content? One song that happens to have three notes that are similar to another song? Where’s the bar set here? That point is not reflected in the report and if the judgement doesn’t specify what the level is, it’s not completely illogical to suggest that Hollywood can really block every website in existence. How many websites have at least a reference to copyrighted material (i.e. a message on a forum saying ‘Listening to Kiss right now.’)?
The amusing part is the fact that the censorship of NewzBin2 will be put in place in the Fall. No doubt this will give NewzBin2 plenty of time to figure out how to bi-pass this measure for it’s UK users. Even better is the fact that this only affects BT currently and similar motions will be brought to other ISPs. I don’t see how NewzBin2 simply changing it’s website to another name for its British users won’t defeat this in any way. Call the site ‘Fuzzybunniesjumpinginthefield.com’ and allow access to the NewzBin2 services. If you plan on finding ways to circumvent British censorship in order to download the entire Adbobe Suites in the future, you only have until the end of the Summer holidays to figure it out!
In the end, this will do little more than damage the internet infrastructure as more methods to circumvent censorship measures will be developed. Activities like this will probably have an affect on users wanting to use the internet for legitimate purposes, but it’s unlikely that this will even come close to putting a dent on file-sharing.
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Motion Picture Association heads to high court seeking to block website that allegedly distributes pirated material
guardian.co.uk, Monday 27 June 2011 11.11 BST
Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush in The King’s Speech – there are said to be more than 70 pirate versions available online. Photograph: Weinstein/Everett /Rex Features
Hollywood film studios will take their battle against illicit downloading to the high court in London on Tuesday in an attempt to force Britain’s largest internet service provider, BT, to block access to a website that allegedly distributes pirated material.
Backed by studios including Warner Bros, Fox, Disney and Paramount Pictures, the Motion Picture Association (MPA) – the international arm of the US film trade body, the MPAA – is trying to get BT to cut off access to Newzbin2, a website that allegedly links to hundreds of pirated movies and music.
Tuesday’s high court case will be the first in Britain where an attempt is being made to force internet providers to block sites under the Copyright, Design and Patents Act. If successful, the ruling will pave the way for more music and film companies to go to the courts seeking the controversial blocking orders.
Spyro Markesinis, the vice president of legal affairs for Momentum Pictures, the distributor of The King’s Speech, said there were 75 different versions of the Colin Firth movie on Newzbin2.
‘The survival of our business depends on the revenues we receive for our content,’ he said. ‘Our recent film, The King’s Speech, is available on the Newzbin2 website without our consent. Neither we, nor the filmmakers, receive anything for this.
‘Lost revenues not only threaten our business and our employees’ jobs but also mean we have less money to invest in new films, so the whole industry – and particularly the independent film business – is at risk. That’s why we fully support this action against Newzbin.’
The film industry’s fight against Newzbin stretches back to March last year, when the high court ordered the site to remove all of its pirated material and pay damages to the studios. The firm behind the website, Newzbin Ltd, went into administration shortly after the ruling. However, a clone site soon appeared operated anonymously from Sweden.
Chris Marcich – the MPA president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa – said the group had ‘no option’ but to take its fight against Newzbin to the courts.
‘Newzbin has no regard for UK law and it is unacceptable that it continues to infringe copyright on a massive and commercial scale when it has been ordered to stop by the high court,’ he said.
Separately, the communications minister, Ed Vaizey, is leading a series of discussions with rights holders about setting up a voluntary web blocking body to curb illicit filesharing. Under the plans, ISPs would block access to websites such as The Pirate Bay on a list drawn up by copyright owners.
BT declined to comment.
Newzbin2 claimed to be ‘infringing copyright on an enormous scale’
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 28 June 2011 14.16 BST
The website Newzbin2 is claimed to have 75 illicit versions of The King’s Speech. Photograph: Allstar/Sportsphoto
Colin Firth’s box office hit The King’s Speech is at the heart of a landmark court battle over online piracy between Hollywood film giants and Britain’s largest internet service provider, BT.
Major film studios, including Paramount Pictures and Disney, asked the high court in London on Tuesday to force BT to block access to the website Newzbin2, which they claim is ‘infringing copyright on an enormous scale’ – including 75 illicit versions of The King’s Speech.
The case is the first of its kind in Britain and could pave the way for the biggest clampdown on online piracy yet.
Hollywood studios argued in court that illicit filesharing was a ‘very significant social evil’ and is responsible for ’several hundreds of millions of pounds a year’ in lost revenue. The studios – represented by their international trade body, the Motion Picture Association (MPA) – want BT to cut off access to Newzbin2 for UK internet users in the same way that it blocks child abuse websites on the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) list.
However, BT claims that such a blocking order would be the ‘thin end of the wedge’ and there would be ‘nothing to stop countless other’ rights holders demanding that hundreds of other contentious websites are banned.
In its skeleton argument, BT claimed in the high court that rights groups would like to see about ‘400 sites a year’ blocked by internet providers. ‘Rights holders in the music and movie industries have already identified 100 copyright infringing websites which they would like to see blocked,’ the ISP said. ‘Claimants would seek orders blocking access to websites alleged to contain defamatory allegations or private and confidential information.’
Richard Spearman QC, acting on behalf of the film studios, told the court that if a blocking order is granted, they will demand that other UK ISPs, including TalkTalk and Virgin Media, also blacklist the website or face court action.
He told the court that there was now ‘no other way of impeding the infringement of copyright’ than to obtain a court order. ‘[Newzbin2] allows repeat and mammoth-scale copyright infringement,’ Spearman said. ‘If BT could not see that happening then they have to be the biggest ostrich in history.’
The offshore-based Newzbin2 has about 700,000 members, with annual turnover of more than £1m, according to the rights holders.
According to the rights holders, Newzbin2 currently helps distribute about 115,000 illegal versions of films and 320,000 TV shows.
The film industry’s fight against Newzbin stretches back to March last year, when the high court ordered the offshore-based site to remove all of its pirated material and pay damages to the studios.
However, the company behind the site, Newzbin Ltd, went into administration shortly after the ruling and avoided compensating the studios. Within weeks, clone site Newzbin2 appeared hosting similar material. The rights holders claim Newzbin2 has about 700,000 members, with an annual turnover of more than £1m.
Chris Marcich, the MPAA president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said: ‘Newzbin has no regard for UK law and it is unacceptable that it continues to infringe copyright on a massive and commercial scale when it has been ordered to stop by the high court.’
The case continues and the high court is expected to make a ruling this week.
Film Industry Calls on Broadband ISP BT Retail UK to Block Newsgroup Website − ISPreview UK: “Film Industry Calls on Broadband ISP BT Retail UK to Block Newsgroup Website
By: MarkJ – 16 December, 2010 (12:47 PM) – Score: 199 – Fixed Line Broadband, Piracy
pirate flagThe Motion Picture Association of America (MPA, MPAA) has filed an injunction against BT Retail which, using Section 97A of the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, requires the broadband ISP to block access to a Newsgroup (Usenet) indexing website called Newzbin2.
The original Newzbin website was shut down earlier this year after the MPA accused it of helping to provide and host access to ‘illegal’ (unlawful) copyright files. However Newzbin2 promptly reappeared shortly after, using both the same domain name and website content.
An MPA Spokesperson told TorrentFreak:
‘The law which the Court referred to is Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, which provides for possible injunctions against internet intermediaries. Article 8.3 of the European Union’s Copyright Directive, of which S97A is the UK implementation, has been used successfully in Denmark to block rogue sites hosting illegal material, with further cases pending in Germany, Holland and Belgium.
In launching this case, the MPA is aiming to secure an order that will enable BT to block Internet access to the site, thus preventing the site from using the Internet to make money through infringement.’
BT, which is believed to have refused the MPA’s initial request to block Newzbin2, has confirmed the situation but chosen not to comment on the matter itself. As it stands the MPA may have a good case, supported by an earlier High Court win against the original website for copyright infringement.
Section’s 97A is also the UK version of Europe’s own Copyright Directive (8.3), which is similar to Denmark’s law where identical demands have recently been won. On the surface this might seem unfair as the website claimed to merely be indexing newsgroups, although the court case did expose some dubious activity.
It’s certainly a new move by Rights Holders, which have traditionally tried and often failed to target individual P2P file sharers. However it’s unlikely to be very effective. ISPs do not host internet content, they are ‘mere conduits’, and blocking access is little more than a placebo. It’s incredibly easy to avoid such skin-deep restrictions.”
MPAA Takes Legal Action To Force ISP to Block Newzbin: “Three months ago, TorrentFreak discovered that the Motion Picture Association were about to make an unprecedented move against file-sharing in the UK. Their targets were ISP BT and Usenet indexing site Newzbin.com. In discussions the MPA refused to confirm our suspicions. Yesterday, however, the MPA went to court to obtain an injunction to have BT block Newzbin in the UK.
In mid September this year, TorrentFreak received word from a previously reliable source and another anonymous one whose credentials we could not confirm, that the MPA/MPAA had the resurrected Newzbin site in their crosshairs.
The first tip said that the movie industry would try to force UK ISPs to block Newzbin in the UK. The second was more specific – that target would be one of the leading ISPs, BT.
After trying to gather more information, we contacted the MPA with what we knew and asked them if they could confirm our suspicions. At that stage, no information was forthcoming and Newzbin were also in the dark. The trail ran cold but in the last 24 hours the picture clarified somewhat.
Yesterday, the MPA went to court seeking an injunction against BT in order to force them to block Newzbin2, the resurrected version of the original Newzbin which lost a High Court battle earlier in the year.
In a statement sent to TorrentFreak, the MPA explain the process it has undertaken.
‘The law which the Court referred to is Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, which provides for possible injunctions against internet intermediaries. Article 8.3 of the European Union’s Copyright Directive, of which S97A is the UK implementation, has been used successfully in Denmark to block rogue sites hosting illegal material, with further cases pending in Germany, Holland and Belgium.’
‘In launching this case, the MPA is aiming to secure an order that will enable BT to block Internet access to the site, thus preventing the site from using the Internet to make money through infringement,’ the MPA adds.
In order for the MPA to obtain an injunction under section 97A it is believed that they must have approached BT already with a request to block Newzbin, but had it denied.
At this stage, BT have confirmed they have received paperwork but refused to comment further.
John McVay, Chief Executive of Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT), a UK trade association representing and promoting the commercial interests of independent films and television, welcomed the news.
‘PACT supports today’s announcement. It is a shame that a legal action has to be taken, but illegal websites such as Newzbin2 pose a grave threat to our membership who do not have the resources to combat online copyright infringement.’
In a response to the news, Newzbin state the following:
‘This is just an application and not yet a decision of any court. We will be looking to instruct lawyers to fight this on behalf of our UK users. The MPA application to engage in censorship of the Internet for their own petty interests would, if granted, set a dangerous precedent in a Western democracy.
‘We don’t want to engage in a polemic but we have fully cooperated with DMCA requests from content owners and we are careful to act lawfully: ‘drive-by’ litigation such as this will cut off access to substantial legitimate content and is entirely unwarranted & disproportionate.’
Article from: TorrentFreak.