Today, UK ISP BT and representatives from the MPA will appear at the High Court to thrash out the final stage of the ground-breaking web-blocking case against Newzbin2. But in a surprise last-minute move, a David and Goliath battle seems to be on the cards. A Newzbin2 user has stepped up to defend his site by intervening in the blocking process, and is reportedly already being bullied by his Hollywood opponents with threats of bankruptcy.
Following a High Court battle earlier this year, Justice Arnold sided with the MPA and ordered ISP BT to block Usenet indexing site Newzbin2.
The case was brought against BT by Twentieth Century Fox and five other major Hollywood film studios who had demanded that Newzbin2 should be stopped from providing links to unauthorized content.
Justice Arnold stated that BT had “actual knowledge” that people using its service were infringing copyright, and that users and operators of Newzbin2 infringe the copyrights of the studios.
Today, BT and the MPA are back in court to work out the final stage of this precedent-setting web-blocking case, but there will be a surprise last-minute addition to the proceedings. Following an earlier appeal from Newzbin2, a BT user has stepped forward and is bravely preparing to take on the MPA.
Speaking with TorrentFreak, Mr White of TeamRDogs, the team behind Newzbin2, has confirmed that the individual has intervened in the case with an aim to prevent the site being blocked. His application will be heard today along with the blocking order.
“Already the MPA are trying to intimidate him by sending him a bill for $10,000 in costs,” Mr White told us. “They are trying to intimidate him by telling him he will be bankrupted if he loses!”
“We think that it’s typical of the MPA to say ‘noone from the site objected’ and then try to bury them in huge legal bills when they do,” he added. “We are providing him with moral support and we will be trying to encourage people to chip in for his legal costs if he loses, and we will help him out too.”
TorrentFreak has learned that the individual, who is both a user of Newzbin2 and BT, is attempting to intervene to prevent a full block of the site and make the MPA specifically identify which URLs should be blacklisted instead.
It is felt that both BT and the MPA have failed to correctly inform the court of the legal content to be found on Usenet and as such is under the impression none exists. Selective URL blacklisting will allow the legal content to continue as usual.
The ruling against Newzbin2 marks the first time that a site in the UK has been ordered to be blocked on copyright infringement grounds. More on this today when news from the hearing breaks.