back to article BT gets 14 days to block Newzbin2

Websites and IP addresses will become unreachable for the first time in the UK for copyright reasons. The High Court has ordered BT to block subscribers access to Newzbin 2, as well as any other sites or end points it uses. BT has 14 days to implement the measure, and must pay for it, too, a cost estimated at £5,000 initially …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    good luck with that. It'll be a bit like whack a mole, except the isps only have a cripple hand and their hammer is broken.

    1. Mark 65

      So, alas, VPN it is.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Ashton Black

    Pissing in the wind.

    So to speak.

  3. Annihilator

    Wedge. End. Of. Thin. The.

    Rearrange the above words into a sentence summing up my feelings

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Greg J Preece


      The thin end of the wedge was when they used these powers to block child porn. Now they're blocking copyright material on the basis that "well, you already have the capability to block, right?" It's good old function creep. It'll go something like this:

      Block child porn (Think of the kiddies....not that way!)

      Block anything considered extreme by middle class white people (The terrorists want to kill you.)

      Block copyright infringing sites (You're a filthy pirate.)

      Block any porn considered a bit much by middle class white people (It's filth. Think of the kiddies!)

      Block anything you like so long as you can get the Daily Fail to support the ban. Site mentioning drug use? Ban it. Site potentially used for prositution? Ban it. Site reflecting real life? Ban it!

  4. Dante

    What a win! there is already a way around the block to newzbin and the costs of the block get past onto BT's customers. Got to love those movie studios.

  5. Foose

    Site blocked

    Oh over to a proxy then

    1. Wayland Sothcott 1
      Big Brother

      Proxy only gets you somewhere else. When the banning system becomes 'harmonized' then all ISPs will comply or else the UN will provide humanitarian aid.

  6. Z-Eden
    Big Brother

    And so the game of whack-a-mole begins.

  7. Velv
    Big Brother

    Legal Precedent

    From the BBC coverage:

    ""The judge ruled that the ISP is closely related to the wrongdoing, it happened on its pipes and therefore it should pay," said Simon Baggs, a partner at Wiggin LLP law firm."

    Right, off to sue Mercedes and Edinburgh Council for my recent speeding ticket. It was their roads and car that made the speeding possible so they must be "closely related to the wrongdoing".

    While Newzbin is encouraging illegal actions, it is only an index, a facilitator. Will Twitter and Facebook be blocked next since they facilitate riots? Or are they the hero as they facilitate civil action against tyrannical governnments? One mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter. The wedge just got a little thinner.

    1. deains

      Re: "Will Twitter and Facebook be blocked next since they facilitate riots?"

      Basically, yes.

    2. Gavin McMenemy

      You were speeding on an Edinburgh road??

      Gosh. Well done. I didn't think that was possible any more.

  8. TonyHoyle


    "In case you’re wondering, “site” means destination. Soon after the earlier judgement, users could access Newzbin2 unlicensed material thanks to a browser plug-in. The judge said that was still accessing Newzbin2."

    By that reasoning BT woud have to block all proxies, all kinds of VPN, and anything they couldn't immediately identify as 'safe' before they could comply.

    And even then someone would find a way though. Like using a different ISP...

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      "BT woud have to block all proxies"

      Not so. If you read the ruling, they have to block every access to newzbin[2] _when notified by the studios_.

      So now it's a matter of who's fastest: newzbin in changing URLs and IPs, or the studios in finding the new ones. My money's on the former, which makes it a dubious victory for the studios. Of course it won't block newzbin2, it will at most mildly inconvenience them, at a great cost for the studios. What it does, however, is set a precedent: you can now block network ressources at the ISP level for copyright reasons. That, I am sure, has Big Music all wet and sploochy.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Like using a different ISP...

      I doubt that will work. An ISP who knows that his competitor has just lost in court on a point of law would surely be unwilling to do exactly the same thing. Legal precedent would presumably mean that *their* trial was an open and shut case.

      Related to this, it would presumably be both polite and in their interests for BT to notify their rivals of any blocking orders they receive, just so that all UK ISPs are blocking the same stuff. :)

  9. Not Fred31



  10. Arrrggghh-otron

    14 days to block...

    14 seconds to fire up a VPN connection...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How will the block be reported to the user?

    A 403 Forbidden message (or 410 Gone) saying the site has been deliberately blocked and the reason why along with links to the studio involved and court documents?

    A 503 Service Unavailable ?

    A 404 Not Found ?

    A 418 I'm a Teapot?

    Or just redirected to - with advertising on the redirect page to make some money back?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      A 455 Proxy or VPN Required

      Then an advertising link to Proxy and VPN providers.

  12. Pete 2 Silver badge


    > Websites and IP addresses will become unreachable for the first time in the UK for copyright reasons.

    There have been other sites blocked from the tender eyes of UK surfers for other reasons. ISTR the New York Times (or somesuch) was blocked so that we couldn't read all the secret information that the above book revealed - although it was perfectly alright for the rest of the world to know it. I also seem to recall that the workarounds to let people read the blocked content were published and widely circulated within hours of the measures coming into effect.

    I am in little doubt that this judgment will be enforced with the same level of efficacy.

    1. David Neil

      Are you quite sure about Spycatcher?

      Published in 1987, gagged in England but not in Scotland, gag overturned in 1991 by ECHR

  13. Wonkydonkey

    Interesting to watch

    I wonder how long it will take Newsbin2 to become newsbin3? Will that be different enough to not be covered by the same court order? How about binnewz4?

    If I understand correctly they also have a tor version of the site and an application available for download, are either of these being blocked? Can they? Are they covered by the same court order?

    What about the firefox plugin? Fire something? Can't remember what it's called, but will that get round what BT do?

    Not sure I rate BT's chances of this that highly...

    I also wonder how fast the other ISP's will follow...

    1. Tom Chiverton 1

      "any other sites or end points it uses"

      So BT has to block all of Tor now ? Really ?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " users could access Newzbin2 unlicensed material thanks to a browser plug-in. The judge said that was still accessing Newzbin2."

    So this is going to be a game of cat and mouse, except that the cat isn't actually bothered or trying very hard. Presumably Newzbin2 and friends are going to put in far more effort producing workarounds than BT are going to put in blocking them. Ergo, Newzbin2 already wins. Nice one judge...

  15. James 12

    Give it 30 seconds

    Oh no wait newzbin Already offer a around the block, even before the block happens.....

  16. squilookle

    Maybe if we were encouraging/forcing the ISPs to spend money on improving their infrastructure rather than on things like this, broadband in [large areas of] this country wouldn't be so crap.

    I don't condone copyright infringement, but I feel the studios should be looking at the reasons for it and addressing them, rather than branding everyone a criminal.

    1. K

      Like ridiculously high movie and music costs? ... While it costs more to stream a movie than buy the physical DVD, then you know theres a problem.

      The fact is they have lost control of the distribution, which has effectively broken their cartel, they now need to partake in "pricing competition", which should be seen as healthy!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whose words are they

    It's interesting that the judge says that the wording of the order was proposed by the studios - "In my view the wording proposed by the Studios.."

    Wonder how much a judge goes for these days..

    1. Gordon 10


      You do know it's customary in cases like this for the judge to request both sides to come up with the settlement texts and then mix and match the sections to his satisfaction.

      It's actually a very efficient use of courts (tax payers) time.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Think Of The Children...

    I wonder how happy the MPA will be when the overloading of the CleanFeed system permits access to Child Pornography that would have been blocked if CleanFeed weren't too busy protecting the pockets of the MPA.

  19. jon 72

    14 Days?.. Sounds optomistic

    This is BT we are talking about, a firm so tech savvy it took 'admin' over three weeks to change the avatar of a user in the business support forum.

  20. John A Blackley

    Obtuse or just silly?

    I wonder if the honourable Thingy, in giving his judgement, employed any actual knowledge (native or supplied) of how the internet works.

    In his opinion the honourable Thingy might have been setting precedent so that censoring of the internet in the UK could continue to grow. In my opinion, all he's done is order a gate to be placed on a field. With no fence around it.

    1. Dodgy Pilot
      Thumb Up

      "In my opinion, all he's done is order a gate to be placed on a field. With no fence around it"

      What a cracking analogy. Nice one Sir.

      This case could indeed set a very alarming precedent that is going to cause all manner of trouble over the next few years.

    2. Wayland Sothcott 1

      I think he is making a case for Tor.

      A virtual network overlaid onto an existing network. People will make their sites more virtual. We already have P2P, why not use P2P to host websites?

      The traffic could be masked to look like BT Vision and YouTube. You could rebuild the whole IP system on top of this virtual network. Virtual servers would be distributed.

      Ah but then this is probably why the PC and Laptop are being replaced by iTabs and Androids.

  21. John Robson Silver badge


    They can just turn off their core routers for three minutes before they get ordered to turn them back on?

    Or maybe just cut off access to anything from the judge...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BT Business

    What block? I use a BT business line and can access Newzbin fine here.

    I also doubt anybody would notice if I did all my illegal downloading here and took them home on a pen drive.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All these will come out of your pockets.

    I see BT's gonna reduce their service level even more and increase their broadband pricing to cover all these expenses.

    This isn't just a problem between BT/or any ISP vs movie studios.

    This is indirect cost to broadband consumers.

    The court was stupid to think this is anything other than a complete waste of money and clearly not the way forward.

    Penalizing internet access providers like this is like penalizing privately-held toll roads. Simply because that road is often used to illegally transport imitation designer goods

    at the request of the fashion industry and asking the companies to check all traffic for contraband.

    Clearly, if you try and put real-world examples into effect, the only real option is to have a great firewall around the entire country's communication system. Oh but then you'll be Chinese. Though one can argue there is little difference here now, it's just more distributed (as in individual ISP are responsible instead of a central authority).

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: All these will come out of your pockets.

      £5,000 initial cost.

      £1m+ to defend fight Newsbinz and the DEA - both lost.

      Two avoidable costs.

      1. Andrew Macrobie
        Big Brother

        To be fair, we'll be paying for the whole bloody thing - start to end, taxpayers paying for court time and due process, customers paying for the costs incurred by BT and their "legal support" and ultimately, we'll be paying the copyright holder whatever they ask (and the removal of secondary sources of supply will guarantee this is the case) for access to their materials.

        We will also end up paying, one way or another, for the implementation and management of any filtering systems required by the courts to support their judgements.

        Awesome. Out of curiosity, is there /anything/ we're not paying for out of all this ??

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only bad things to come out of this

    The last country to do this not only gained mobs of people angry at the existing government, it also attracted Anonymous and Lulz Security's attention, and invoked the wrath of the (otherwise docile) local hackers.

  25. andreas koch

    another victory!

    So Newzbin will be gone within 2 weeks, just like the Pirate Bay has been destroyed a year ago. The studios win yet another battle! There can't be a lot of these awful copyright-infringers left now, it will be all peace and contentment soon...

  26. Alexis Vallance


    Surely anyone savvy enough to use Newzbin would be savvy enough not to be with BT Broadband?

    1. Cucumber C Face

      re: BT

      Surely anyone savvy enough not to be with BT Broadband would use a usenet provider directly anyway.

  27. ph0b0s

    ISP's different to every other utility provider

    So the courts have set the precedent, that ISP's are different to every other utility provider. In that they have to police that the service they provide is not used for something illegal. This is unlike electricity, water or phone providers who don't have to police what users do with the services they provide.

    1. Gordon 10


      Not a great analogy - they have had to police phone lines for decades.

      I'm sure the electricity co's report massively high domestic usage to catch cannabis factories.

      Most utilities are required to help their elderly customers - positive policing but policing all the same.

    2. Wayland Sothcott 1

      I suspect you can see where this is going...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's not unlike electricity. People using more than the expected amount of electricity have been receiving visits from plod looking for hemp farms. And surely you can't say that phone providers haven't stumped up the odd Mb of information to the police.

      In a way, the ISPs have made themselves vulnerable to this sort of either run a dumb pipe or you traffic shape. Once you've made the decision to interfere in the flow of data, all else is mission creep.

  28. Fuh Quit

    Congratulations to raising awareness

    I never knew about this site. So a heartfelt THANK YOU to those wanting to block it.

    Am I alone? Doubt it! Oh and there are lots of tunnelling sites on the Internet, ctunnel, vtunnel....and that's beyond what seems to be happening elsewhere.

    Fail and move to China?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If BT block copyrighted content, it's only reasonable to assume that they allowed me to download it, then it mustn't be copyrighted... your honour!

  30. Fred 4
    Paris Hilton

    Im not sure...

    from reading the article -

    Is this decision from a High court? (in the US it would be the Supreme Court), or is this some local constabulary court making this decision??

    in other words, is there an appeal possible by BT?

  31. LarsG

    The SLIPPERY slope

    To censorship, however under the European Human Rights Act.....................

    1. TonyHoyle

      Not much of a slippery slope, more like a vertical drop. This *is* censorship.

      Only BT Broadband right now, but how long before other ISPs are pressured into it (My own ISP blocks nothing, and says they never will without a court order.. but it seems courts like censorship too).

  32. David 45
    Thumb Down

    Who actually pays?

    BT is supposed to fund it but we all know who will pay eventually! Little old you and me.

  33. arrbee


    So why do I get the feeling that if a copyright holder complains about illegal (infringing as was) content of a site belonging to a major corporate then nothing will happen ?

  34. Herby

    Why not...

    Block spammers and botnets? I have a feeling that it would be more palatable to the general public.

    Everyone should take note: The Internet notes censorship and routes around it. Always has always will. The form makes no difference. This dates back to the beginning of Usenet.

  35. Sonny Jim

    Electricity companies and Cannabis factories

    Electric companies will not report excessive usage to the police, it's just plain not in their interest. What's more likely to happen is that the police will approach the electric company rather than the other way round, but even then that's unlikely to happen as a large electric bill is circumstantial evidence at best.

    You are much more likely to get caught by the smell, neighbours reporting suspicious activity and good ol' thermal imaging cameras on helicopters.

    1. Wayland Sothcott 1

      They don't do all these things at once. This is coming. They are supplying little wireless meters which tell the users how much they are using. They are supplying smartmeters than can tell what devices are using the electricity. They are publishing your bill online. Once it's as easy as using google earth to spot swimming pools then expect them to use electricity usage to find cannabis growers.

  36. Fui

    hmmm... newzbin is overloaded!?

    This must just be a ploy to generate more traffic, surely?

  37. This post has been deleted by its author

  38. chris00


    Since NB2 can be used for legal purposes, surely blocking it is actually in breach of Human Rights.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Business exempt?

    According to the documentation on BT's site for leased business lines, Clearfeed is an "optional extra" that can be opted out of.

    So the public gets screwed and businesses are exempt... sounds about right.

    Perhaps, like a reverse of businesses in the states having themselves declared to have the same rights as a member of the public, we the public would garner more protection and rights if each of us declared ourselves to be businesses?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple gets order blocking Samsung

    Samsung gets order blocking Apple.

  41. Sam Therapy
    Thumb Down


    Whack a mole or not, it's - as stated above - a classic example of function creep and a clear cut demonstration that our current government is every bit as bad as the last lot of merkins when it comes to personal freedom.

  42. LittleTyke

    Would the people with the big stick frown on an NZB parser?

    You see, I've been following this saga with Newzbin because some while ago I developed a Visual Basic 6 application for parsing the contents of an NZB file and after several updates it works pretty well. Now if I were to provide this as freeware, would I get a bunch of fives through my letter box, so to speak? Just wondering like...

  43. ShaggyDogg

    Think outside the box

    These actions stink of a desperate attempt by an industry fast running out of ideas of how to conduct its business in a technically evolving world.

    Wouldn't it be a good idea for the 'media industry' to wake up to the 21st century get on-board and embrace ‘free’ file-sharing sites as a very cost effective means for them to distribute their own content? By simply throwing their weight around playing ‘big brother’ to restrict ISP with court orders only makes users more determined to undermine them (note the relatively easy workarounds commented in the article).

    By taking control back, they can drive out the "piracy" element of file-sharing, and put them back in driving seat of distributing quality and quantity media.

    With a little creative thinking there must be plenty of revenue streams open for possible financial exploitation. How about advertising through distributed content during download, adding additional files in the torrent, or on the distributor websites themselves. Cinemas, DVDs content, search & social network websites have been exploiting this for years. Like most, I hate advertising, but if it’s a means for this industry to quit with their draconian, narrow-minded approach, then why not?

    Another revenue stream could be having other ‘media’ type websites paying to advertise ‘teaser’ trailers sending traffic to the download site?

    Or, build a closer relationship with ‘free’ distribution of artists’ material with merchandising sold. There surely must be a market link between distribution and exposure with merchandise sales as a result?

    Or for studios to pay studios for quantity of downloads on whichever sites become most popular over time?

    These are just a couple of ideas off the top of my head, and I’ll leave the viability open to comment. My point is there's surely plenty of alternative revenue streams to selling DVDs.

    All that's needed is a little thinking outside-the-box.

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