British broadband internet, phone and television provider BT currently does not block its customers from accessing Newzbin, an index site that touts itself as “the Google of Usenet.” The Motion Picture Association, however, would like to see that change and soon. The MPA is now pursuing a legal case that if successful would force the ISP to essentially render the site inaccessible to its customers.
Technology and computer news site PCPro discussed the MPA’s far-reaching maneuver in a report on Tuesday.
Chris Marcich, MPA European division president, claimed in a statement that the website “has no regard for UK law,” citing its history of ignoring court rulings. A previous legal battle brought by the MPA resulted in a victory against Newzbin that forced the site to close down. The legal win was short-lived, however. The site rebounded within months on a new server with new management, but back to its old tricks.
In a cloak-and-dagger interview, a representative for the “new” Newzbin known only as “Mr. White” (we’re almost positive that’s a pseudonym) alleged he “liberated” the original site’s code after its closure and promised that future attempts to shut it down again would be useless. “We’ll just do a Piratebay on them,” said Mr. White. “We can run faster than them and shapeshift.”
Marcich admitted that the MPA has “explored every route to get Newzbin to take down the infringing material.” The group’s new direction, aimed not at the site itself but the ISP which inadvertently provides access to it, could “set an alarming precedent” if successful, wrote Wired UK. But according to those representing the MPA, it’s necessary.
Richard Spearman, a lawyer for the organization, called Newzbin’s operation “socially evil” in a statement to the court on the opening day of the hearing. Some have already predicted the injunction attempt will fail.