U.K. Filesharing Block Ruling to Be Far-reaching

LONDON — British Telecommunications, the U.K.'s largest ISP with 6 million customers, must block access to filesharing site Newsbin.com within two weeks, according to a high court ruling.

The site, now known as Newzbin2,  has been promoting illegal filesharing "on a grand scale," a coalition of Hollywood studios said in their suit, which was ruled on today. Those studios include Warner Bros., Paramount, Disney, Universal, Fox and Columbia Pictures.

The decision is far-reaching because High Court Justice Richard Arnold said that "the studios have made it clear that this is a test case: If they are successful in obtaining an order against BT, then they intend to seek similar orders against all the other significant ISPs in the U.K."

Arnold said that the mainstream studios contend  that the only way in which they can obtain effective relief to prevent, or at least reduce the scale of, infringements of their copyrights is by means of an order against BT — and thereafter the other ISPs.

The adult industry, like the mainstream biz, has lost large revenue streams in the past few years due to Internet piracy, typically facilitated through illegal distribution via BitTorrent networks and other means.

Wednesday's order by Arnold also allows for the blocking of any other IP address the operators of the Newzbin2 site might look to use to continue to offer copyrighted content to users.

The court said BT must foot the bill for the cost of implementing the block on Newzbin2.

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