BT ordered to scupper online pirates

The High Court has ordered BT to block access to Newzbin2, an illegal filesharing site. The original Newzbin site was shut down following a successful action for copyright infringement. However, it appears the operators simply upped anchor and moved offshore, beyond the reach of the UK courts, and set up Newzbin2, an almost identical website located at the same URL. So now the industry has set its sights on the ISPs.

The successful test case against BT was brought jointly by 20th Century Fox, Universal, Warner Bros, Paramount, Disney and Columbia Pictures, all members of the Motion Picture Association (MPA). The landmark ruling has generated headlines, debate and trended on Twitter. However, the blocking technology won’t be finalised until October. Ironically, the movie industry bosses have ensured that now more people than ever know about the notorious Newzbin site and they have three months to plunder and pillage the site’s content.

This is clearly not the silver bullet in the fight against online copyright infringement. Blocking sites via ISPs naively underestimates the ability of the internet to evolve and circumvent restrictions. It also raises questions of censorship, initiated by deep-pocketed Hollywood moguls protecting their commercial interests.

Perhaps, rather than suing every variant of every website and cutting off one head to watch two grow back, the industry should listen to its customer base. The music industry is getting the hang of legal downloads, why not TV and movies?