UK ISP BT Given 14 Days To Block Newzbin2

Following a High Court ruling in July, UK Internet service provider BT now has just 14 days to carry out a full subscriber access block of Usenet indexing site Newzbin2. While the ruling will be seen as a victory for the major Hollywood studios behind the action, BT will have to pick up the bill for enforcing the block. The blocking order is flexible in order to reduce the effect of any countermeasures employed by Newzbin2.

After BT lost their case earlier this year opposing the blockade of Newzbin2, this month the ISP and the MPA were back in court looking over the final details in the landmark case.

At the last-minute a Newzbin2 and BT user stepped up to intervene in the proceedings but his appeals have fallen on stony ground.

Today, Justice Arnold handed down a written judgment to BT which orders the ISP to completely block subscriber access to Newzbin2 within 14 days.

As previously noted, BT will use its ‘Cleanfeed’ system to censor Newzbin2, a technology normally used to block images and sites connected to child abuse. However, the court took note that Newzbin2 have already released a tool designed to circumvent the system and judged accordingly.

“Since the main judgment was delivered, the operators of Newzbin2 have made available client software which is designed to allow a user to access the Newzbin2 website independently from, for example, an installed web browser, and thereby circumvent any block imposed by BT pursuant to the order,” wrote Justice Arnold.

“For this and other reasons, it is common ground that the order should permit the Studios to notify additional IP addresses and/or URLs to BT in future in order for those to be subject to the same blocking measures as www.newzbin.com.”

According to the Judge, the MPA and BT were in conflict over the extent of this flexibility.

The MPA preferred the block to encompass “any other IP address or URL whose sole or predominant purpose is to enable or facilitate access to the Newzbin [2] website,” but BT wanted “and any other website whose sole purpose is to provide access to the Newzbin [2] website.”

The Judge agreed with the MPA and noted that the studios should not have to “return to court for an order in respect of every single IP address or URL that the operators of Newzbin2 may use.”

Interestingly, BT asked permission to have the blocking order set aside “in the event that the [Studios] fail, within a reasonable time after the date of this order, to apply for and obtain an equivalent injunction against other UK ISPs.”

The Court denied the request but noted that the MPA are already trying to persuade other ISPs to submit to injunctions voluntarily.

BT was told that it will pick up the costs of the blocking case from 16th December 2010 to 28th July 2011. Any costs incurred after this date will be paid by each party.

BT will also have to foot the bill of implementing the blocks which are estimated at an initial £5,000 plus £100 for each amendment.

The Blocking Order

1. In respect of its customers to whose internet service the system known as Cleanfeed is applied whether optionally or otherwise, the Respondent shall within 14 days adopt the following technical means to block or attempt to block access by its customers to the website known as Newzbin2 currently accessible at www. newzbin .com, its domains and sub-domains and including payments. newzbin .com and any other IP address or URL whose sole or predominant purpose is to enable or facilitate access to the Newzbin2 website. The technical means to be adopted are:

(i) IP address re-routing in respect of each and every IP address from which the said website operates and which is notified in writing to the Respondent by the Applicants or their agents; and

(ii) DPI-based URL blocking utilising at least summary analysis in respect of each and every URL available at the said website and its domains and sub-domains and which is notified in writing to the Respondent by the Applicants or their agents.

2. For the avoidance of doubt paragraph 1 is complied with if the Respondent uses the system known as Cleanfeed and does not require the Respondent to adopt DPI-based URL blocking utilising detailed analysis.

3. The Respondent shall not be in breach of paragraph 1 if it temporarily suspends Cleanfeed or the addition of IP addresses or URLs thereto with the consent in writing of the Applicants or their agents.

4. The parties have permission to apply on notice in the event of any material change of circumstances including, for the avoidance of doubt but without limiting the generality of the foregoing, in respect of the costs, consequences for the parties and effectiveness of the aforesaid technical means from time to time.

5. The Applicants shall pay the Respondent’s costs of this application down to 16 December 2010. The Respondent shall pay the Applicants’ costs of this application from 17 December 2010 to 28 July 2011 inclusive. Such costs shall be assessed on the standard basis if not agreed and set off against each other. Each party shall bear its own costs since 28 July 2011.

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