Free Speech

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
censorship, free speech, newzbin, uk

bt, mpaa

UK Court Upholds Its First Web Censorship Order: BT Has 14 Days To Block Access To Newzbin2 & Gets To Pay For The Privelege

from the that's-one-slippery-slope dept

Back in July, we noted that a UK court ordered ISP BT to begin censoring the web, beginning with a blockade of Newzbin2, which the MPAA has been trying to destroy. After a user petitioned the court to seek alternatives to censorship, the court rejected that request and has issued a ruling giving BT just 14 days to figure out how to block users from accessing Newzbin. Not surprisingly, the entertainment industry is thrilled. Any new opportunity to put the entire burden on ISPs is one that it celebrates. Why should the entertainment industry have to adapt to a changing world when it can run to court, and have the court force tech companies to pretend that new technologies don't exist.

A few scary specifics in the full ruling, starting with this: the expense to implement the blocking is entirely dumped on BT. The judge seems to say that since BT is a commercial enterprise, and profits from people using its services to infringe, it must pay. That's ridiculous. Just because people use BT's service to break the law, shouldn't make BT responsible for the costs of stopping user activities.

Next up, rather than just block URLs, BT has to block the URLs using intrusive, privacy-destroying deep packet inspecting... and "re-route" IP addresses. The studios and the MPAA are apparently allowed to just keep submitting any URLs or IP addresses it finds that lead to Newzbin, and get them easily added to the blocklist. And, at Hollywood's urging, the judge left that expansive, such that even if a URL or IP address point to other legal content, along with Newzbin, those URLs and IPs can be censored.

Finally, and most amazingly, the judge seems to admit the court's technological cluelessness in admitting that it did not realize that a full on IP block (rather than re-routing) might lead to overblocking of innocent sites. And yet it still went forward, despite this rather blatant admission of ignorance.

And with this, the UK goes one step closer to more blatant web censorship.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    out_of_the_blue, 26 Oct 2011 @ 6:51am

    Censorship? WHERE? See NO actual speech, just invitations to pirate!

    I'll put some mere facts here to confuse you freetards, from:

    "Displaying 1 to 50 of 143,386 reports"

    FIrst two were "Transformers" (2011) and "Great Muppet Caper" (1981).

    Clicking the latter to avoid the slightest taint from "Transformers", I got to a log-in page where read:
    "Newzbin is a member-only site (see signup page). You need an account to proceed."

    That requirement by Newzbin undermines your "free speech" defense notion in two ways:

    1st, it's NOT a public information site: they "charge" something to join, I'm not going to find what, but even if pnly eyeballs on ads and an email address, that's charging.

    2nd, the non-public nature gives it the air of a criminal conspiracy. Users "agree" to join a club that's based solely on copyright infringement. -- There's probably VERY little non-infringing material. -- And whether the links as such aren't /technically/ infringing in fullest legalistic weenie word-wiggling, they're absolutely connected to infringement, and it's just sleazy to be profiting from that.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.