TV and broadband provider Sky is the second UK Internet Service Provider (ISP) ordered to block access to pirate link-sharing website Newzbin 2.
Back in July, we reported that BT had been ordered to block access to the site, after the Motion Picture Association (MPA) had applied for a court order, stating that it was targeting BT specifically as the UK’s most popular ISP. The wheels were finally set in motion in October, when BT was given a 2-week ultimatum to block access to the site.
So it comes as little surprise that Sky, as one of the country’s biggest Internet providers, has revealed that it too has been ordered to block Newzbin 2. It said:
“Sky is a business which has invested billions of pounds in content for its customers. We do this because we know how much our customers value high-quality content. It’s therefore imperative that companies like Sky do what they can, alongside Government and the rest of the media and technology industries, to help content companies protect their copyright. Such protection will ensure that consumers continue to benefit from TV programmes, movies and music both now and in the future. This means taking effective action against online piracy and copyright theft.
Increasingly content owners are turning to the courts to present evidence of copyright theft by those websites who offer content illegally to users. When they do so, and the court agrees that copyright theft has occurred, content owners can seek a court order which can compel internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to those sites over their broadband networks.
This happened with a website called Newzbin 2. We have received a court order requiring us to block access to this illegal website, which we did on 13th December, 2011. Moving forward, as and when clear and legally robust evidence of copyright theft is presented, we will take appropriate action in respect to site blocking, which will include complying with court orders.”
It’s believed that neither Talk Talk or Virgin, the UK’s two other prominent ISPs, have been issued with court orders as of yet, but the MPA has previously called on all the UK’s ISPs to block access, and it has previously indicated that court orders will be issued to all companies.
When BT’s hand was forced by the court order, this was deemed a landmark moment as it was the first time that an ISP had been ordered to block access to such as website.
Newzbin is a UK Usenet indexing website, and it introduced a number of tools to help facilitate access to content on Usenet. Newzbin is a members-only site, and it’s well known as an aggregator of illegally copied content found on Usenet discussion forums.
The original Newzbin was forced to close in 2010 following a High Court ruling, but Newzbin 2 was quickly set-up outside of the UK’s direct jurisdiction, which is why the MPA went for the ISPs instead.
Chris Marcich, President and Managing Director (EMEA), MPA said at the time:
“This ruling from Justice Arnold is a victory for millions of people working in the UK creative industries and demonstrates that the law of the land must apply online. This court action was never an attack on ISPs but we do need their co-operation to deal with the Newzbin site which continually tries to evade the law and judicial sanction. Newzbin is a notorious pirate website which makes hundreds of thousands of copyrighted products available without permission and with no regard for the law.”
Quality legal alternatives have often been mooted as the best solution to combating illegal file-sharing, and Virgin inked a deal with Spotify earlier this year. But with the MPA aggressively targeting all ISPs, this could see further media partnerships come to fruition, with the likes of movie-streaming service Netflix launching in the UK in early 2012.
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