Online Censorship Goes To UK

Motion Picture Association of America won a test case against British Telecom (BT) to restrict access to a site accused of providing links to download movies without authorization. The interesting fact is that the site causing the problem, Newzbin, is not distributing copyright infringing files but merely giving links. As Newzbin says, they are the Google of Usenet.

The victory for the big Hollywood studios is believed to be the first case in the UK in which an internet provider has been forced to block access to a website under the 1988 Copyright, Design and Patents Act.

Details of how the block will be done by BT are not clear. The judge ordered BT to block access to every IP address associated with newzbin.com and its subdomains but experience says that such blocks can be circumvented. Even the judge writes “I agree with counsel for the Studios that the order would be justified even if it only prevented access to Newzbin2 by a minority of users“.

What’s most interesting though is that more studies are proving that file sharing is good for artists. Former Google CIO  Douglas C Merrill revealed that his profiling research at the label found that LimeWire pirates were iTunes’ biggest customers. Merrill said similar things when he was President of Digital Business at EMI Records, that poached him from Google. He lasted less than one year: fired for stating the obvious?

Article first published as Online Censorship Goes To UK on Technorati.