back to article Why the Newzbin ruling helps web hosts

ISPs, indexing services and other online service providers will rest a little easier this week after a High Court ruling yesterday that gave much-needed clarity to UK copyright law. The High Court has effectively said that they will only be on the hook for 'authorising' infringement by their users if they fail to put in place …


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  1. SuperTim


    I am glad the clarification has helped. You can't set up a business to exploit other peoples copyrighted material. It is wrong in law and morally wrong.

    It is also morally wrong to advertise a film as being good when it's shite, but we have no mechanism to get our money back for shit films that we have to pay to watch.

    Maybe all the hollywood lawyers can devise such a scheme and make everyone happy.

    1. Richard Jukes


      So what have google done then?

      1. SuperTim


        have not JUST done that. They have provided a handy service in market cornering too.

        Bless em.

      2. Disco-Legend-Zeke

        Google DOES...

        ...or at least did, index newsgroups, but certainly not exclusively.

        Newsgroups are more or less the Youtube of Open Source. Like IRC, they have taken on "underground" status, probably because there are no profits seen by the bean counters.

        Newsgroups are a very effecient distribution mechanism for low traffic and archival material, since the ISP only downloads once. For high demand content, some form of cascade distribution, such as Microsoft's Avalanche or Bit Torrent, bypasses the ISP

        There is certainly a business model in spam filtering an index to all this, directing it toward freetards fukkered up a great idea.

        Tonight someone handed me a glass of something called Hennessey Black. Served in a deep glass with heating cube instead of ice cube. Brandies are the only legal Sniffing Intoxicant, hence snifters. There being no snifter icon, ill use the pilsner glass. There being no top shelf brandies in my house*, I'll have another 211. Hmmm, I wonder what color it is.

  2. LAGMonkey

    fair enough.

    At least some good will come out of this.

    Now there is precident it shouldnt be too hard to get an automated system up and running to do what the editors did. albeit with some rather interesting results from time to time. OR we just get a new "newzbin" that isnt located in any country that observes copywrite rules (Russia perhaps).

    but newzbin didnt do themselves any favours by the sounds of it.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Richard Jukes

    Well Google use web crawlers to build their search database. They don't employ "editors" to build it for them. Google do have a functional "notice and takedown" process. Google do no encourage people to download copyrighted material. Google do not take money for doing so. So Google and other search engines comply with the law.

    The "Google do it" argument is popular among freetards, but it is nonsensical. Google and other mainstream search engines index everything they can find on the web. That's all they are, big automated web indexers. Copyright law like any law relies to an extent on intent. The court found that there was clear evidence that Newzbin intended to assist in copyright infringement and to profit therefrom. Where is the evidence that Google set out with intent to assist in copyrigt infringement.

    Next you'll be telling me that the Highway's agency are breaking the law because they have created a road network that allows people to drive in a manner that breaks the law.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Thin end of the wedge

    This is simply the thin end of the wedge, the guys in charge of this will use the verdict as a bully boy tactic as we well know to pound on the doors of search engines, indexers, etc. The only people they will probably not target is Google, although I expect they will try to enforce some nice rules like searches with the term "torrent" in them becoming censored.

    I mean its not like they have any form for doing this before, bullying people/companies based on limited evidence and even more limited laws is it?

    They won this verdict on limited ruling, but that is not how the precedent will be used by their lawyers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      First they came for the pornhounds...

      Ah yes, the Tinfoil Hat Theory of History.

      See you in the bunker.

  5. Grease Monkey Silver badge


    Newzbin aren't the only ones. Look at thepiratebay, their arrogance was (and continues to be) staggering. Either these people believe that the law is other than it is, or they have a peculiar view of morality and a belief that the law will reflect their moral beliefs.

    Of course there are a lot of people out there with a curious view of morality. For example there are those who think it's immoral that some of us go out to work and earn money to buy nice things and it is therefore moral for them to break steal that property. Some people are surprised to learn that many thieves do believe they are morally in the right even when they know they are legally in the wrong, but this is in fact the case.

    1. Disco-Legend-Zeke

      Somehow...'s illegal to teach morality in US schools.

    2. Mark 65

      Not quite

      Although TPB did come across as particularly arrogant, they had reason to be. They were operating in a country where the laws favoured them as shown by repeated legal victories. As they found out to their detriment though, if you get to big for your boots there's always someone in power that can take you down irrespective of legal right or wrong (morality is legally optional).

  6. Haydies
    Thumb Down

    I'd pay

    If they movie industry provided the same service.

    If I could go to an official site and download the last episode of a show currently on air in america I would, I'd even watch adverts embeded in the stream. But it wont happen simply because Sky will pay millions for a show, and then it's there problem to make the money back. Its a better deal for the studios if they get their money in one hit from every one in the UK that might want to see it. Of course we are all pay for a mountin of inain crap as well.

    Using Usenet ingenerall isn't free, it costs money for a server to get the conent from and it costs money to use newzbin, its not about getting it for free. Its about getting it when I want it. Not having to wait months.

    If you think about it, a few years ago we'd have waited 6 months, maybe a year or more for a movie to move from American cinimars to the UK, now often they release at the same time. Now you tell me thats not because of piracy?

    Of course if I wanted to see a 3d movie I go to the cinimar, it cost me more or less £50 for me and my partner to go and see Avatar, and I paid it because it was a brilliant movie. I'd even pay it again to see it in the IMAX. If they make good content, then I will pay to see it. If they give me the content when I want it.... guess what? I'll pay to see it.

    In the moden world why shouldn't it be on demand. If nothing else newzbin and usenet servers prove that it possible to have thousands of hours of content avalible to download and watch at any time. Maybe the MPA should consider ways to provide the same service as people clearly want it.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thanks for the effort, though it doesn't clear much for me.

    But then I'm a bit of a techie, and look at how it works: This thing indexes, but does not host. Therefore, not infringing. Trying to divine ``intent'' is what makes law murky, and in my limited opinion, needlessly so. But then lawyers need to eat, too.

    But alright, if this is in fact what you say it is, namely a message saying that with a working takedown and no sillyness about how silly the law is you're home free, then well, I might accept that. Except that it also shows just how finnicky the law is. And in my techie mind, needlessly so.

    Plus that whatever the law says and quite regardless of what moral viewpoints you could take regarding infringing of the law including based on original intent of the law, the copyright holding conglomerates have long since lost my respect by their repeated display of utter greed and contempt for their revenue generators, nee customers. And that is still perfectly legal. It may not be so legally but it certainly feels like industrial scale abuse of law. That recently made it explicitly into someone's business model to boot.

    It doesn't exactly fill me with a warm fuzzy feeling of trust in the system. Spelt more accurately thus: The certainty they'll find new innovative ways to screw over the common man makes me want to puke.

  8. Daniel Owen

    Personally having read the verdict...

    I think the MPA kinda dupped the judge into thinking life without newzbin would be much worth than it really is.

    Ok so newzbin points you to files where normally you would have to use a bit more time finding the files, but it's not like you would have to read every header and indiviually select each one.

    Supersearch for example would search the headers for you and whilst maybe not quite as accurate could give similar results.

    Caseium (or however you spell it), has talked about moving away from editors to an automated process for a while, it will be interesting to see where newzbin goes next and how it effects the other nzb index services.

    1. Nexox Enigma


      """Ok so newzbin points you to files where normally you would have to use a bit more time finding the files, but it's not like you would have to read every header and indiviually select each one."""

      There are actually programs that'll siphon headers constantly and drop you an nzb file when there's something that matches patterns you've defined. Not nearly as friendly as Newzbin, but it'll function as long as there are newgroups providers.


    Sanctioning Copyright Infringements

    "Another important factor for the Court was the fact that enabling copyright infringement seemed to be the company's entire reason for being in business."

    Unlicenced mass commercial copyright infringement is Phorm raison d'être too.

    Hopefully, Phorm and BT Directors will face a High Court for their crimes.

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