This week the Motion Picture Association took part in a three-day judicial hearing in England seeking a legal ruling which would prevent internet users in the UK from accessing the seemingly invincible usenet index site Newzbin through unprecedented means: by forcing British ISP BT to block the site from its own customers. Those expecting a ruling on the controversial subject will have to wait a while longer.
Coverage of the now-concluded hearing has confirmed that a decision won’t be issued until July. Both MPA and BT representatives argued their cases, however Judge Arnold – who oversaw the legal proceedings – is ostensibly holding off until another case with a tangential connection to the one broached in his court this week is resolved.
One party noticeably absent from the courtroom was Newzbin. The popular site was shut down per a 2010 court order only to be given a second chance by a group dubbed “Team R Dogs” – rebel coders led by the furtive “Mr. White” who stole the original site’s code and launched the new 2.o model within months. Though the site operators had no say in court, “Mr. White” had no problem mocking the entire situation in an interview with TorrentFreak.
“A Newzbin2 themed costume party, with horsehair wigs, and no-one invited us,” said Mr. White. “The MPA didn’t invite us, BT didn’t invite us, the court didn’t invite us. Team R Dogs would have loved to have had some say.”
The secretive spokesperson more seriously predicted that should the MPA’s injunction be granted, the group will then seek to close other sites that “offend them” – The Pirate Bay, in particular. He also said his cadre was already looking into workarounds for an ISP block, calling such actions “futile.”
Of course, the MPA is not the only group hoping for a court-sanctioned Newzbin block. The site, after all, provides links to music as well.
Feargal Sharkey, a UK Music chief, offered mixed feelings about current anti-piracy efforts, though wasn’t thrilled with Newzbin’s unceremonious return and seems to view the current legal situation as a last resort. Sharkey’s opinion on the subject arguably carries more weight than a typical executive’s: he’s a former musician himself.
While the UK courts ponder how to rule in this provocative case, those in Finland have already decided. This week, a Finnish judge ordered ISPs to cease providing an internet connection to accused pirates.
How do you think the court will rule? Let us know in the comment section.