News-Service.com, one of the leading Usenet providers with many prominent resellers, has terminated its services with immediate effect. The shutdown is the direct and unavoidable outcome of a two-year battle with Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN, which was eventually decided against the Usenet provider. News-Service announced that it will appeal the decision “out of principle” as it threatens the entire 30-year-old Usenet community.
Two years ago BREIN, representing the movie and music industries, took News-Service.com (NSE) to court.
Although the name NSE might not ring a bell with many people, it is the largest usenet provider in Europe and has many high-profile resellers such as Usenext.
Through the court BREIN demanded that the NSE delete all infringing content from its servers, and six weeks ago the Court of Amsterdam sided with the copyright holders.
In an attempt to keep their service operational, NSE asked the Court to put the execution of the verdict on hold while the Usenet provider appealed its case, but this week that request was denied. As a result NSE was forced to shut down its services.
“This means that we are forced to cease our operations with immediate effect,” NSE said in a statement.
Despite the setback the Usenet provider will persist with its appeal, not least because the landmark verdict could have disastrous consequences for other Usenet providers.
“For reasons of principle, News-Service.com will not accept the verdict and has lodged an appeal,” NSE announced.
The verdict of the Amsterdam Court is very similar to the one that decimated BitTorrent site Mininova two years ago. It requires NSE to finding a way to identify and delete all copyrighted files from its servers, which is practically impossible.
Aside from threatening many other Usenet providers, a similar judgement would also mean the end of file-hosting sites such as Megaupload, and other cloud storage services including Dropbox. All these services remove copyrighted files when they are asked to, but policing their own servers proactively may prove to be impossible.
BREIN is nevertheless delighted with the verdict of the court. “It is a breakthrough step to further dismantle the availability of illegal content on Usenet,” director Tim Kuik said previously.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if BREIN now waves this verdict in the face of other Usenet providers, in the hope of shutting them down. Using this same tactic BREIN has already managed to pull hundreds of (small) torrent sites offline in the Netherlands.
TorrentFreak contacted NSE to ask what the decision means for their resellers and whether they have plans to “go abroad” in some shape or form. We will update this article when a response comes in.