The High Court has given BT fourteen days to implement its blocking of Newzbin following a judgment on 26th October. The blocking will be accomplished using the CleanFeed technology that BT already uses to block sites on the IWF block list.
The question of how much of the BT Group should be subject to the blocking was raised and the decision passed down is that the blocking should be carried out for any connection where CleanFeed is incorporated or available as an option to the customer. This means that connections sold via BT Wholesale where CleanFeed is not available are not affected.
- In respect of its customers to whose internet service the system known as Cleanfeed is applied whether optionally or otherwise, the Respondent shall within 14 days adopt the following technical means to block or attempt to block access by its customers to the website known as Newzbin2 currently accessible at www. newzbin .com, its domains and sub-domains and including payments. newzbin .com and any other IP address or URL whose sole or predominant purpose is to enable or facilitate access to the Newzbin2 website. The technical means to be adopted are:
- IP address re-routing in respect of each and every IP address from which the said website operates and which is notified in writing to the Respondent by the Applicants or their agents; and
- DPI-based URL blocking utilising at least summary analysis in respect of each and every URL available at the said website and its domains and sub-domains and which is notified in writing to the Respondent by the Applicants or their agents.
- For the avoidance of doubt paragraph 1 is complied with if the Respondent uses the system known as Cleanfeed and does not require the Respondent to adopt DPI-based URL blocking utilising detailed analysis.Extract from England and Wales High Court (Chancery Division) Decisions Conclusion
The applicants who are Twentieth Century Fox Film, Universal City Studios, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Disney Enterprises and Columbia Pictures are expected to take further action to see blocking carried out by other broadband providers once the blocking is in place and running for BT connections, though reading the full decision it appears the Applicants are hoping to avoid further lengthy court cases with providers simply following the lead from BT in blocking Newzbin. BT was chosen for no other reason than being the largest provider.
The costs of running the blocking will fall upon BT, and BT themselves estimate the cost as £5000 for the initial setup and £100 for each subsequent IP/url that is reported for re-routing/blocking. The danger here being that Newzbin may attempt to fight the blocking by constantly changing IP address or creating thousands of unique url's. The danger here is that the CleanFeed system may have problems coping, as well as eat up significant time/money, BT does have the ability to temporarily stop the blocking, but this is only allowed with the written consent of the Applicants or their agents.
There are other newsgroup aggregator services, that charge for access, so we would presume that in the near future, sites offering similar services to Newzbin will end being subject to blocking requests. The Daily Telegraph coverage highlights research from the Open Rights Group which indicates that only 58% of Bafta Best Film Award winners films are available via lawful downloads. It has been said before and it has to be said again, if a company is going to use the stick approach it should offer a carrot. One idea would be to offer relatively low quality streamed versions of older films for almost free, only charging the current £3.50 to £4.50 for the very latest high definition rentals.