Yesterday Mr Justice Arnold handed down his decision in Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp & ors v British Telecommunications plc  EWHC 1981 (Ch), ordering the UK's incumbent ISP to block access to the pirate Newzbin2 site. Newzbin was a commercial web site that facilitates access to pirated films, music, games and books on Usenet. In a decision of 29 March 2010, the High Court had held that the site owner was infringing copyright by making pirated files available to the public from newsgroups, by authorising infringements by downloaders from Usenet and by engaging in a common design to infringe with the site's users (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp & ors v Newzbin Limited  EWHC 608 (Ch)). The site disappeared, only to pop up again hosted outside the UK as Newzbin2, allegedly under new management.
The MPA Studios accordingly sued BT under section 97A of the UK's Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 for an order requiring the blocking of access by BT's subscribers to that site. Yesterday Arnold J gave the victory to the studios, effectively ordering BT to add Newzbin2 to the list of sites it blocks using its Cleanfeed service. Culture Minister Ed Vaizey tweeted his view that this would benefit the creative industries.
This decision must smooth the path to a voluntary site blocking regime in the UK - much to the Minister's relief.