This week, a new case goes to trial in the UK High Court as a test case on copyright infringement.
The Motion Picture Association (MPA) is seeking a court order for BT to block access to a website called Newzbin, which has films and TV shows available without permission of content owners.
This will mark the first UK case to use Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act to call for direct action by ISPs to prevent infringement using their services.
The MPA estimates that about 700,000 members use Newzbin, generating £1m+ per year for the site operators.
Newzbin was found to be infringing copyright in March 2010 and was ordered by the High Court to take down the offending material. The site went into administration, avoiding the payments, before re-opening as Newzbin2.
The site is based overseas with anonymous owners.
Chris Marcich, President and Managing Director (EMEA), MPA issued this statement: “Newzbin has no regard for UK law and it is unacceptable that it continues to infringe copyright on a massive and commercial scale when it has been ordered to stop by the High Court. We have explored every route to get Newzbin to take down the infringing material and are left with no option but to challenge this in the courts. The law of the land applies in exactly the same way online as offline and ISPs are best placed to deal with infringing activity via their services. BT’s own evidence confirms that it would be straightforward for them to prevent subscriber access to this site. This action is not an attack on ISPs. It is the result of not being able to identify and enforce action against off shore sites - nobody knows who they are run by or exactly where they are based. The growth of the legal download market is constantly thwarted by sites such as Newzbin which offer content without permission. Legitimate content markets help everyone. They enable the creators to keep their jobs and protect their work, provide tax revenues and ensure the content provided to consumers is high quality.”
Others speaking out in support of the MPA’s case include PACT, the Creative Coalition Campaign,the Film Distributors Association, and the BPI.