Usenet Index Site, Newzbin, Found Liable For Copyright Infringement

Newzbin is a usenet indexing site that basically indexes everything on the binary usenet servers. You cannot actually download any content from Newzbin, except for “NZB” files (like a torrent file) that will allow your “news reader” to easily download the necessary files to extract whatever content you are downloading (legal or illegal). To actually download, you will need access to binary usenet servers, such as UseNetServer (free trial available).

Newzbin has been in court for some months now, against several Hollywood movie studios: Twentieth Century Fox, Universal, Warner Bros., Paramount, Disney and Columbia Pictures.

The judge, Justice Kitchin, found Newzbin liable for copyright infringement, contrary to what Newzbin felt would be the actual outcome, after the trial ended.

Justice Kitchin found that:

i) Newzbin operates a site “designed and intended to make infringing copies of films readily available to its premium members”.
ii) The site is structured to promote infringement by guiding members to infringing copies via NZBs.
iii) Use of the NZB feature “inevitably” results in the creation of an infringing copy.
iv) Newzbin encouraged and induced its editors to make reports of movies protected by copyright and assisted users to infringe by providing advice.
v) Newzbin profited from infringement.

It’s not over yet, though. The next hearing in court is mid April, but until then, Newzbin will have no other choice than to implement a default blocking policy of blocking movies and TV reports.

Press release from Newzbin:

We are very disappointed with the judgment. Regrettably the court has accepted the distorted and flawed evidence that Hollywood presented. Contrary to the finding of the court our site has not deliberately sought to index infringing material, nor to assist those of our users who use it for that purpose. The site provides a generalised search facility for binary content found on Usenet and not just infringing material. Any of the material we index can be found on any one of thousands of sites on the Internet so pursuit of us is a futile waste of everyones time and money.

Sadly the MPA are stuck in a technology stone age. Rather than addressing their own broken business models & monopolistic commercial practices they seek to curtail innovation and freedom on the Internet. It is notable, for example, that the MPA are the sponsors behind attempts to introduce Chinese internet censorship into the UK through the Digital Enterprise Bill. Perhaps if they used their energy providing what people want, rather than buying laws to sustain their own house of cards, they might have a stronger future. We certainly reject their attempt to use this decision and our site as an excuse for rushing through undemocratic laws in a wash-up just before an election.

We lacked the limitless legal funds and legions of lawyers the MPA had and that is the only reason for their win. That said, we are looking at our grounds of appeal and how we move forward to continue to provide innovation and useful search resources for our users.

Ultimately, the dinosaurs of the content industry will need to face reality; the sad thing is that winning cases such as this only damages them and puts their own future in doubt.

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