UseNeXT Threatens Litigation Against Blogger

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Earlier this month an article appeared on a German site, purporting to detail the manner in which hugely popular Usenet company UseNeXT conducts its business. The article, titled "UseNeXT: Legitimate downloading of pirated movies" caught the eye of UseNeXT, which immediately sent threats of legal action to the author.

usenextUseNeXT bills itself as offering “next generation downloading” and is one of the most popular Usenet services around today, advertising extensively within the BitTorrent community and on many torrent sites.

Earlier this month, blogger Aldor Nini (who also works for anti-piracy solutions company Easycom) wrote an independent article that was published on BuildBlog.de.

The post titled “UseNeXT: Legitimate downloading of pirated movies” gave a highly detailed account of UseNeXT’s operations, along with information on how the service operates in respect of pirated movie content. For anyone interested in the company or Usenet in general (and can take the anti-piracy objective and language with a pinch of salt), it is a must-read – but not without controversy.

As many people who have written potentially negative pieces or forum posts about UseNeXT will confirm, the company is very quick to notice such items, and in this case the reaction was no different.

Within two days the author and publisher of the post received “pre-litigation” letters from UseNeXT’s lawyers, ordering it to censor certain claims made in the article. UseNeXT says that they received information that the article had been sent to an employee at Warner Bros and are insisting that claims made within are erroneous and will negatively affect UseNeXT’s public image.

Article author Aldor Nini gave TorrentFreak a list of claims made in the article which he says are being disputed by UseNeXT’s lawyers;

The article claims that:

  • It is possible to download illegal content from the UseNeXT service.
  • The UseNeXT software somehow has the functionality to automatically unpack passworded archives containing infringing content. The same content is not available for other non-UseNeXT Usenet users without knowing the password.
  • Spam and fakes are sorted by the community and/or UseNeXT software.
  • UseNeXT has a ratings system which lists the “best” content most prominently, i.e a full-length high quality pirate movie trumps lesser quality ones, and they all trump a legitimate movie trailer.
  • Whereas Usenet is an open network, “UseNeXT is a closed environment” and while it is possible to take down infringing content, there is no standard way to take down the same from UseNeXT due to the fact that 3rd parties have no access to the UseNeXT database.
  • UseNeXT’s system takes measures to access content that has previously been taken down by so-called Usenet “cancel” commands by pulling it from other non-compliant Usenet providers.
  • UseNeXT’s software indexes available Usenet content and allows its users to upload content to the global Usenet system anonymously and free of charge, and allows other UseNeXT users to download it by paying a fee per gigabyte.
  • More than 90% of German content is uploaded by UseNeXT users, with more than 24% of international Usenet content being uploaded by UseNeXT users.
  • Two unnamed men created UseNeXT and other products with a goal to “generate money – fast, secure and mostly in a legitimate way. It shouldn’t be as complicated as Facebook, YouTube, or MySpace is – no, it should have a development period of 3 months and an ROI of a maximum of 6 months.”
  • That network usage peaks forced UseNeXT to bring a third vendor into the business – US Usenet provider Giganews.
  • Undeterred, Nini says that he stands by his claims. “The comments are correct and true,” he told TorrentFreak, “and we’re looking forward to proving that!”

    Nini also points out a section about free-speech on UseNeXT’s website, translated from German below;

    “Everyone has the right to gain knowledge as well as to make public and disseminate, in written and spoken, his word by using the UseNeXT service. Nobody should be afraid to be discriminated due to his religious or political position by using the Usenet.”

    Nini says that he believes that this is a great statement that should apply to everyone. Therefore his article will stand uncensored on both Usenet and the web.

    TorrentFreak will monitor the situation closely and report on further developments and (possible) threats against ourselves.

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