LONDON (Reuters) - Major Hollywood studios won a test case against Britain’s largest internet provider in the High Court on Thursday in their fight against online piracy, the Press Association reported.
The judge said he would impose an order to restrict BT customers’ access to a site that aggregates pirated material following the legal action taken by the Motion Picture Association of America.
The victory for studios including Paramount Pictures and Disney Enterprises 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.
“I will make an order substantially in the form sought by the studios,” Mr Justice Arnold said.
The piracy website Newzbin2 has around 700,000 members who pay to download content from the site, which appears to have a large UK base, asking members to pay in pounds sterling.
Around 70 percent of the content available on Newzbin2 is television programs and films.
“Today’s result is an important victory in the battle against a commercial pirate site which refused to operate within the law,” said Lord Puttnam, president of the Film Distributors’ Association.
Simon Milner, director of group industry policy at BT told Reuters the company thinks the ruling is “helpful” and is not going to appeal against the decision.
He said that following the judgment, BT must now look at how the operation to cut off access to the Newzbin2 website would function but could not provide details of this immediately.
Milner added that more ,similar cases could follow after the order is imposed on BT.
BT said in a statement: “This is a helpful judgment, which provides clarity on this complex issue. It clearly shows that rights holders need to prove their claims and convince a judge to make a court order.”
The company added that it will return to court after the summer to explain what kind of order it believes will be appropriate.
Chris Marcich, president and managing director of the Motion Picture Association (EMEA) said: “This court action was never an attack on ISPs but we do need their cooperation to deal with the Newzbin site which continually tries to evade the law and judicial sanction.”
Created by Clare Kane; Editing by Steve Addison