The latest move in the ongoing fight against online film piracy has seen filmmakers challenge one of the biggest technology companies in the UK.
In a legal first for this country, British Telecom (BT) has found itself facing an injunction that would force it to cut off customers trying to access the Newzbin website.
The action has been taken by the MPA (Motion Picture Association), an industry body that represents the major movie studios. They intend to target BT as it is the biggest Internet Service Provider in the UK. BT has confirmed a court appearance later, but made no further comment.
Chris Marcich, European president of the MPA says:
“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. We have explored every route to get Newzbin to take down the infringing material and are left with no option but to challenge this in the courts”
BT already has the ability to block sites using its Cleanfeed service, and it supplies this to many ISPs, but this service is typically used to block access to child abuse images and not pirated material.
Newzbin highlights the struggle the MPA and other organisations are facing when trying to shut down such websites.
Having successfully taken the previously UK-based site to the High Court and forced it to go into administration when copyrighted material was removed, the MPA now says that Newzbin has returned with operations run from the Seychelles.
Currently the UK Digital Economy Act states that ISPs must help identify pirates, but does not give legal powers to rights holders.
If the action is successful it would be the first targeted blocking in the UK. It could also open the way for other websites to be blocked and therefore a significant blow to those obtaining their films and music illegally