Industry reacts to BT site blocking ruling

'Pointless', 'dangerous', 'helpful' and 'great'

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The news that judge has ruled that BT must block a site known to be illegally distributing films and music has prompted a slew of reactions from the industry, ranging from euphoria to fear.

BT sent us a rather diplomatic response to the ruling, stressing that no ISPs were willing to voluntarily block the Newzbin2 site, but only BT had the injunction to deal with because it was deemed to be the largest ISP.

A spokesperson told us, "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.

"BT has consistently said that rights holders need to take this route. We will return to court after the summer to explain what kind of order we believe is appropriate."

Site blocking plans

The comments from BT seem to support the proposals to fast-track website blocking requests through a peer-managed court process, as put forward to Culture Minister Ed Vaizey by a group of copyright holders.

The court route is also supported by the Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA) in a suspiciously similar statement to BT's: "ISPA has long maintained that this is an issue that rights holders should seek to address in court, rather than through voluntary means, and today's ruling should go some way to offering clarity on what is a complex area."

Nicholas Lansman, ISPA secretary general adds that it isn't the be all and end all of curing piracy: "However, concerns about over-blocking, ease of circumvention and increased encryption are widely-recognised which means that blocking is not a silver bullet to stop online copyright infringement."

Pointless, dangerous

Meanwhile, the Open Rights Group branded the move 'pointless and dangerous', claiming that the move would do little to stop piracy.

Copyright campaigner Peter Bradwell said, ""Website blocking is pointless and dangerous. These judgements won't work to stop infringement or boost creative industries.

"And there are serious risks of legitimate content being blocked and service slowdown. If the goal is boosting creators' ability to make money from their work then we need to abandon these technologically naive measures, focus on genuine market reforms, and satisfy unmet consumer demand."

The many and varied members of the Motion Picture Association are all pleased as punch, however.

The Kings Speech's successors are safe

Stressing the need to curb piracy in order to secure money to make future films, Spyro Markesinis from Momentum Pictures applauds the ruling and says that it will help to "safeguard the future of the [film] industry."

Lord Puttnam CBE, President of Film Distributors' Association, said, "Finally, it seems we have a way to deal with rogue sites which will benefit the film industry including UK independent distributors and, more broadly, the entire creative sector."

"Good sense has prevailed," is John McVay of PACT's view, representing independent film and media companies.

"We now need some clear action to ensure that this judgement acts as a real deterrent to pirates."