As reported this morning, Justice Arnold in London’s High Court has ordered leading UK ISP BT to block subscriber access to Usenet indexing site Newzbin2.
Needless to say, the admins at Newzbin2 aren’t particularly impressed out the outcome. Here is their response to the ruling in full – and uncensored.
An infamous day in the UK
We have an astonishing result in the UK court case of MPA v the Internet (aka 20th Century Fox v BT): the MPA wins. We were only more surprised to hear that Liberace was a piano player.
Despite being an entirely different crew from Newzbin1 (as we stressed in our earlier press release) we have, it seems, ‘inherited’ their legal liability for copyright infringement. In the previous case liability arose only because of the conduct of the Newzbin1 crew and what Caesium and his guys did. The judge then went on to say we ‘moved’ offshore. We are a new group and were never ‘onshore’.
Arnold J listed a large number of features of the site which, while assisting those infringing copyright, aren’t illegal under US or UK law without aggravating features not shown on the evidence here. He then went on to refer to a study by the MPA of content of Usenet showing most was infringing. On that basis he seemed to suggest that we must magically know this. We don’t analyse Usenet content and we don’t care. We index Usenet but we do not statistical analysis of the content: it’s of no interest to us or our subscribers.
Good bits? One piece stood out:
The Studios relied on two recent studies of the scale of the problem so far as the film and television industries are concerned. A study by Ipsos MediaCAT dated April 2010 analysing the scale of film and television piracy in the UK in 2009 estimated the overall loss from film piracy at £477 million and the overall loss from television piracy at £58 million. A study by Tera Consultants dated March 2010 concluded that in 2008 the audio and audiovisual industries in the UK lost almost 670 million euros in revenues to physical and digital piracy, with the larger proportion of that lost revenue attributable to digital piracy.
i.e. the horse shit the MPA has been selling for years: pay a bunch of rent-a-study phonies to say what you want them to say and then parrot it as the objective & independent truth. But the judge was a little wilier on the topic:
21. I cannot ignore the analysis of Professor Ian Hargreaves in his recent report. … [estimated the losses from piracy ~ 1.24% of the contribution made by the core copyright industries to the UK economy]
I accept that online copyright infringement is a serious problem for copyright owners such as the Studios and the other rightholders who support this application, but in general it is one whose impact is difficult to quantify with any confidence. the measured impacts to date are not as stark as is sometimes suggested by the language used to describe them.
Yea, we agree: the MPA stats stink worse that Victoria Beckham’s masturbation finger.
The worst thing about the whole judgement is that it is clear that other smaller ISPs will now be railroaded into web censorship. Nothing in the judgement will stop crooks & crackpots like the Scientologists censoring web content by the use of a ‘Newzbin2 Injunction’ (we predict it will be called that). Sue your defamer? Why bother with an expensive lengthy court case? Just get a Newzbin2 Order. No?:
Even if the present application succeeds, it does not automatically follow that applications in respect of such websites [e.g. defamatory/anorexia/whatever] would succeed.
Great, so there is a massive roadblock to free speech abuse. The free Internet in the UK just had a heart attack.
What of this humble blog being blocked?
Finally, I recognise that the order would potentially prevent BT subscribers from making use of Newzbin2 for non-infringing uses. On the evidence, however, the incidence of such uses is de minimis.
Nice. we don’t consider our blog to be earth shattering literature to rival Graham Green, but our readers are entitled to hear our views and news: if by uncensoring ‘blog.newzbin.com’ from Cleanfeed that can happen it seems a tad disproportionate not to do so.
As for Cleanfeed web censorship the judge said:
18. the parties were agreed that it was undesirable for me to condescend to too much technical detail in a public judgment.
Bad news: We know how it works. Security through obscurity doesn’t work. And after October neither will Cleanfeed.