UK court ruling on ISP filtering: copyright victory or download defeat?

A fully regulated internet may have come another step closer. Horia Varlan

Last week, the English High Court ordered British Telecom (BT) to block access to a members-only website that offers links to pirated films.

NewzBin2, the site in question, offers links to pirated films on what’s been described as a “grand scale”.

The ruling – which gives BT just 14 days to act – follows legal action by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) earlier this year.

It’s the first copyright infringement case of its kind, legally requiring an internet service provider (ISPs) to deal with the thorny issue of illegal downloads.

The High Court outcome is already being hailed as a major win for movie studio bosses in their ongoing copyright protection battles.

Chris Marchich, managing director of the Motion Picture Association in Europe stated: “Securing the intervention of the ISPs was the only way to put the commercial pirates out of reach for the majority of consumers.

“This move means we can invest more in our own digital offerings delivering higher quality and more variety of products to the consumer.”

BT, which has for some years employed an internet filtering system called Cleanfeed to block access to child pornography, welcomed the High Court outcome.

That same system – created in 2003 and live since June 2004 – will now be used to filter NewzBin2.