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Film Industry Calls on Broadband ISP BT Retail UK to Block Newsgroup Website

Posted: 16th Dec, 2010 By: MarkJ
pirate flagThe Motion Picture Association of America (MPA, MPAA) has filed an injunction against BT Retail which, using Section 97A of the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, requires the broadband ISP to block access to a Newsgroup (Usenet) indexing website called Newzbin2.

The original Newzbin website was shut down earlier this year after the MPA accused it of helping to provide and host access to "illegal" (unlawful) copyright files. However Newzbin2 promptly reappeared shortly after, using both the same domain name and website content.

An MPA Spokesperson told TorrentFreak:

"The law which the Court referred to is Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, which provides for possible injunctions against internet intermediaries. Article 8.3 of the European Union’s Copyright Directive, of which S97A is the UK implementation, has been used successfully in Denmark to block rogue sites hosting illegal material, with further cases pending in Germany, Holland and Belgium.

In launching this case, the MPA is aiming to secure an order that will enable BT to block Internet access to the site, thus preventing the site from using the Internet to make money through infringement."

BT, which is believed to have refused the MPA's initial request to block Newzbin2, has confirmed the situation but chosen not to comment on the matter itself. As it stands the MPA may have a good case, supported by an earlier High Court win against the original website for copyright infringement.

Section's 97A is also the UK version of Europe's own Copyright Directive (8.3), which is similar to Denmark's law where identical demands have recently been won. On the surface this might seem unfair as the website claimed to merely be indexing newsgroups, although the court case did expose some dubious activity.

It's certainly a new move by Rights Holders, which have traditionally tried and often failed to target individual P2P file sharers. However it's unlikely to be very effective. ISPs do not host internet content, they are "mere conduits", and blocking access is little more than a placebo. It's incredibly easy to avoid such skin-deep restrictions.
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