Although the ink is barely dry on the order forcing ISP BT to block the Newzbin2 Usenet indexing site, the MPA isn’t wasting its momentum. Through its UK proxy the Federation Against Copyright Theft, Hollywood has taken another Usenet indexing site offline, and for its owner the situation doesn’t look good.
Although widely condemned by anti-censorship proponents, there can be little doubt that the MPA win over UK ISP BT, which last week culminated in the latter being ordered to block Newzbin2 within 14 days, is a historic one.
No other site has ever been blocked in the UK on copyright grounds before, and based on the reasoning behind the decision, Newzbin2 won’t be the last either.
The MPA is now working away in the background to come to agreements with other UK ISPs so that they too will block Newzbin2, but the ruling is a powerful tool – do other sites really want to get beaten over the head with it?
One site that didn’t, but now has been, is UK-based NZBsRus. According to the site’s owner, on Friday his site received a cease and desist notice from FACT, the Federation Against Copyright Theft.
While FACT, the MPAA’s UK proxy, are veterans of cases against sites such as TV-Links and FileSoup, in recent times they have usually got the police in to provide the muscle. According to unconfirmed information from an anonymous source, this time pressure was applied to NZBsRus’ host, but when they failed to take the site down quickly enough FACT targeted the owner of the site instead.
NZBsRus, which provided similar services to Newzbin2, was a much-loved site and naturally its users have been asking why it can’t simply be transferred to a more friendly host to avoid FACT. The site operators, however, aren’t giving off signals which suggest that’s going to happen any time soon. And that’s hardly surprising.
It took TorrentFreak a ridiculously short amount of time to personally identify and locate the owner of NZBsRus. Unfortunately for the owner, this means that FACT knows exactly who he is too. And when the big boys know where you live, things can get messy if you don’t play ball. They knew where the original Newzbin guys lived, and no one can deny that ended pretty badly.
Despite the protestations of NZBsRus that they are “just a search engine” and that they “don’t break the law”, given their lack of anonymity and the High Court’s stance against Newzbin2, their position seems hopeless. Besides, even if NZBsRus were on solid ground and up for a fight, the battle of who can afford to fight the case in court is already lost.
One reassurance that has come from the site is that private user information “is safe” and logs of user downloads haven’t been kept. NZBsRus might come back in some shape or form, but at this stage it seems highly unlikely that any return will be business as usual.