Archive for July, 2011

ISP Ordered to block website that enables copyright infringement – UK first

ISP Ordered to block website that enables copyright infringement – UK first

Six film studios (20th Century Fox, Universal, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Disney and Columbia) have successfully obtained a Court order which orders defendant BT (British Telecom) to block an Internet Website (Newzbin2) which clearly offers content that infringes the rights of the copyright owner.

The Studios yesterday (28th July) obtained an injunction under Section 97A of the Copyright Designs & Patents Act 1988 (the “CPDA”), forcing BT to block or at least impede access by BT’s subscribers to a website located at

Key knowledge (of BT) identified by the Judge (Mr Justice Arnold):

  1.       BT had actual knowledge of people using BT’s ISP service to infringe copyright;

  2.       BT has actual knowledge of Newzbin users infringing copyright on a large scale (notably the copyrights of the film studios).

  3.       BT knew which of its users used Newzbin2.

This is a substantial step forward on behalf of content owners (notably those in the UK) who have not had the ability to prevent access to this type of website via blocking at the ISP connection before now.

The specific terms of the Court Injunction will be decided in October.

BT believes that rights holders should pay for enforcement, and that in any event BT should be indemnified against false accusations of infringement (and demands of “takedown”).

The rights holders believe that the ISPs (such as BT) should be brought to account if they allow sites that clearly infringe copyright on a mass scale to be accessed by their subscribers.

It is a big step forward in the UK, but in New Media Law’s opinion - it will ultimately fail to stop the demise of the content industries, in their attempt to prevent free dissemination of their content online.

This is why:

1.       Newzbin2 is already operating offshore, in a jurisdiction where copyright infringement is not necessarily easily addressed.  Thus the content owners have turned their attention to the ISPs who are in a jurisdiction where copyright infringement can be effectively tackled at law.  Even if BT are forced to block it, the originating site is still available everywhere else in the world.

2.       If the Newzbin2 UK Injunction is to be effective, it will have to be applied to all ISPs (not just BT).  And again, worldwide.

3.       Infringing sites can move fast – and can change their domain name/URL overnight (how many content owners can afford to apply for a new “blocking” injunction each time? And in every country of the world?)

4.       Infringing sites and their users can use encryption technologies to encrypt downloaded content – thus making it impossible for the ISP to identify what they are downloading.

5.       Users can also use IP address masking – to prevent as ISP knowing where they are.

Thus this attempt to stop infringement of content will fail.  As has every attempt before it.

As will the solution proposed by the Digital Economy Act 2010 (see our earlier postings on this subject e.g. 10th April 2010: )

Thus New Media Law still proposes the “Music Charge” – which can easily be expanded to a “Content Charge” (to include films, TV, books and magazines and other content which is being stolen online).  See our posting of April 2011:  And the subsequent update:

Read the full BT / Newzbin2 case Judgment here:

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