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Hollywood studios take BT to court to block filesharing site Newzbin

Major movie studios are seeking an injunction against BT that would force the ISP to block its customers from visiting filesharing website Newzbin.

Hands across the ocean are giving us a slap on the wrist -- major Hollywood movie studios, including Paramount, Fox and Disney, are seeking an injunction that would force BT to block its customers from accessing filesharing website Newzbin.

Newzbin allegedly hosts links to copyright material, including Hollywood blockbusters, by searching Usenet discussion groups. That's why movie studios -- under the banner of the Motion Picture Association (MPA) want the site shut down.

In a statement reported by the BBC, the MPA said, "Newzbin has no regard for UK law and it is unacceptable that it continues to infringe copyright on a massive and commercial scale when it has been ordered to stop by the High Court."

If successful, the block would be the first of its kind in the UK.

Understandably though, BT isn't too keen on blocking its customers from accessing the site. BT doesn't suffer directly from movie piracy, but if it's forced to curtail users' Internet access it could experience a strong backlash from its customers -- and find itself deluged in complaints from other copyright holders.

BT told the courts yesterday that the injunction would be the "thin end of the wedge" -- implying that it would open the floodgates, leading to petitions for BT to block more sites, or sites that contained "defamatory allegations or private and confidential information". In short, it would be a slippery slope, and before very long there wouldn't be any Internet left at all. 

Newzbin has been shut down before, in March of last year, when the High Court ruled against it, but since then it's resurfaced under the name Newzbin2, operating from the Seychelles. The MPA clearly thinks that if it can't shut the site down, it can at least block Internet users from accessing it.

Should Newzbin2 be blocked? Or is the very notion of movie studios stepping in to decide which sites you can and can't visit enough to make you vomit out your own eyeballs somehow? Let us know in the comments section, or sound off on our Facebook page.