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MPAA Succeeds In Forcing ISP To Block Alleged Piracy Websites

Posted by: , 17:08 AEST, Sat July 30, 2011

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A monumental court decision in the UK means rights holder can now force ISPs to block access to websites that are offering pirated content

The Motion Picture Association, the International arm of the MPAA, has succeeded in a court case to force British ISP, BT, to block access to Newzbin2, in a monumental decision that could change the course of anti-piracy action in the UK and elsewhere.

An earlier high court ruling has already ruled the Usenet indexing website Newzbin as being guilty of copyright infringement, and ordered the website, then operating in the UK, to be taken down. But since then, Newzbin2 has sprung up, this time overseas, and the MPA wanted to extend the earlier ruling to allow ISP BT to block access to this and all incarnations of Newzbin, even if the website is operated by different people, in another country.

This latest ruling means BT will now have to devise a system to block access to Newzbin2, or use their existing anti child pornography filter, Cleanfeed, to achieve the same.

The judge responsibly for this latest ruling dismissed the analogy between a typical utility company, such as the electricity company, and an ISP, on the grounds that BT has knowledge that some of its subscribers were users of Newzbin2 (unlike an electricity company which may not have knowledge of how its services are being used), and that BT offers these users a service which allows for the downloading of infringing content. 

Surprsingly, BT responded positively to the decision, citing that they've always believed that a court order is the way to go in order for rights holders to force ISPs to take action, as opposed to being forced to take part in a private deal with rights holders like the recent one that the MPAA and RIAA made with America's largest ISPs.

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