Hollywood victory over online piracy with injunction against Usenet indexing site Newzbin

Yesterday the MPA (Motion Picture Association of America) won a High Court battle against the online Usenet indexing service Newzbin, as a London judge ruled that they have violated studios copyrights.

For those unfamiliar with Newzbin, users pay a small monthly fee to be able to use the site. It indexes all the minute files that are listed on Usenet servers, a service that allows people to read and post public messages to one or more categories, known as newsgroups. These tiny files can then be downloaded by anyone through their own Internet Service Providers server. Over the years this has become a way not just to share news but to distribute films and music by breaking files up into smaller parts, and this is where Newzbin comes in. Users can search Newzbin and then download an NZB file which then retrieves all the minute files from Usenet needed to create the whole file, whether it be a news item, discussion or film. So although all these files are available to anyone through their own Internet Service Providers free newsgroups server, finding them would often be impossible without services like Newzbin.

Newzbin feel they have been unfairly attacked by the MPA as they don’t actually host any of the content – they merely index everything on Usenet it and have said that “any of the material we index can be found on any one of thousands of sites on the internet so pursuit of us is a futile waste of everyone’s time and money.”

Although the terms of the injunction and any damages have yet to be awarded, this is sure to close the site down completely, just as torrenting sites and music site Oink have closed following similar court cases. The injunction will presumable rule that Newzbin has to filter out all copywrited film content, an all but impossible task so this marks the end of one more piracy route.

The most surprising thing about this announcement for me is how little press it seems to have attracted. This is a momentous decision by the judge and surely will set a precedent for not just other film companies to take Newzbin and other torrent sites to court, but also for the music industry to follow suit. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the complex world of newzbin and Usenet are really only by understood and used by ultra geeks and the major press outlets haven’t really cottoned on to how powerful and much Newzbin is used by downloader’s, but this is truly a momentous leap against film piracy.

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3 Responses

  1. chris meacock

    I’m guessing the Judge will be shutting down ‘Google Search Engine’ aswell then as you can access the most disgusting and perverted sites from there. Surely this is more of a concern than links to a few poor quality movies?

    Reply
  2. MrMoney

    No big deal. Newzbins big issue was that it charged for its service. There are lots of indexing sites that dont. The only people who seem to think this is a ‘giant leap against film piracy’ really dont understand how it happens.

    Reply
  3. Rude Roger

    They will never be able to censor or close down usenet. by definition of the way its set up its absolutely impossible.

    Reply

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