LONDON – British Telecom (BT) has been ordered to block access to the alleged filesharing website Newzbin2
BT has been given 14 days to block access to a website accused of promoting illegal filesharing “on a grand scale” by Hollywood studios, in the first high court ruling of its kind under U.K. copyright law.
Justice Arnold J. handed down a written judgment to BT – which, with about 6 million customers, is the U.K.’s biggest internet service provider – to block its customers’ access to the website Newzbin2 at the high court in London on Wednesday, said The Guardian.
The judge backed the argument brought by a coalition of Hollywood studios, including Warner Bros., Paramount, Disney, Universal, Fox and Columbia, who have argued that Newzbin2 has made millions profiting from exploiting other people’s work. Wednesday’s court order also allows for the blocking of any other IP or Internet address that the operators of the Newzbin2 site might look to use to continue to offer copyrighted content to users.
In addition, the court said BT must foot the bill for the cost of implementing the web block on Newzbin2
The order is viewed by the creative industries as a landmark case that could set precedent for the widespread blocking of illegal file-sharing websites by ISPs, helping to stem the flow of digital piracy in the U.K..
“The law is clear. Industrial online piracy is illegal and can be stopped,” said Lord David Puttnam CBE, president of the Film Distributors Association said in a statement. “”This is a very significant day for the UK’s creative industries.”
Chris Marcich, managing director of film industry trade body the MPA, added that the “win” would allow for more investment in digital services from TV, film, music and publishing companies: “Securing the intervention of the ISPs was the only way to put the commercial pirates out of reach for the majority of consumers,” he said. “This move means that we can invest more in our own digital offerings delivering higher quality and more variety of products to the consumer.”
BT said that it is “helpful” to have a court order to bring “clarity” to the site blocking process.