U.K.'s Largest ISP Forced to Use Porn Blocking Filter in Piracy Case

Oct 26, 2011 7:30 AM PST

LONDON — Britain’s largest ISP, BT Group Plc, is being forced to use porn-blocking filtering to stop users from accessing a website promoting movie piracy.

Bloomberg Businessweek reported that as a result of a case won by News Corp’s Twentieth Century Fox and five other studios last July, a U.K. judge told BT that it had to use the Cleanfeed content-blocking system to block Newzbin — a website that allegedly promotes online piracy.

London-based Cleanfeed is currently being used to bar access to child porn websites in the U.K. and other countries.

This was the first ruling of its kind and may open the doors forcing other ISPs to follow.

According to the report, in March 2010, Fox persuaded a U.K. court that Newzbin infringed its copyrights at which time the website went into liquidation to avoid damages. It then resurfaced with more than 700,000 members as “Newzbin 2.”

Fox claimed that BT and other ISPs must block the site to prevent infringement, while BT argued a court order would be inappropriate because it isn’t a customer of the company.

Fox, Universal Studios, Warner Bros., Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures and Sony Corp.’s Columbia Pictures received support from the Motion Picture Association of America in the case.

“Copyright owners can take a great deal of comfort from today’s decision,” said Simon Baggs, a lawyer who represented the MPAA in last year’s case. “The court has conclusively recognized the critical role that ISPs can be required to play in preventing infringement of copyright.”

A Newzbin2 “casual editor” claimed that the website is now more legitimate and Napster-like containing more non-infringing material, however the court refused the plea.

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