Backed by some of the biggest players in Hollywood, the Motion Picture Association (MPA), will head to the high court in London this week seeking to prevent BT’s broadband customers having access to the Newzbin2 website which the MPA claims is distributing pirated material.
The case, which comes before the high court on Tuesday, could be a landmark ruling if the MPA is victorious and could lead the way for the film and music industries to bring many more, similar actions. The MPA, which is the international arm of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), is being backed in this application by among others, Warner Bros, Fox, Disney and Paramount Pictures. They will attempt to force BT, Britain’s largest broadband provider, to block access to the site. This is the first such case in the UK where ISPs could be forced to prevent access to a site under the Copyright, Design and Patents Act.
The issue was highlighted by Spyro Markesinis, the vice president of legal affairs for Momentum Pictures, who told the Guardian that it’s Oscar-winning film the King’s Speech was widely available on the site: “The survival of our business depends on the revenues we receive for our content. Our recent film, The King's Speech, is available on the Newzbin2 website without our consent. Neither we, nor the filmmakers, receive anything for this"
“Lost revenues not only threaten our business and our employees' jobs but also mean we have less money to invest in new films, so the whole industry – and particularly the independent film business – is at risk. That's why we fully support this action against Newzbin," he added. Last March Newzbin was ordered by the high court to remove all copyrighted material and pay damages to the film studios affected. However the firm behind the website went into administration soon thereafter but a clone website popped up in Sweden within days.
The outcome of this high court case will certainly have wide-reaching implications for the music and movie industries but considering how long they’ve been battling such websites, is it realistic to imagine that they will be able to prevent the distribution of such material on the web? We don’t think so.