Newzbin2 folds after court-ordered ISP block in the UK

Turns out piracy don't pay

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Newzbin2 has closed its virtual doors a year and a quarter after courts ordered UK ISPs to block the link-sharing site.

Copyright holders, including the Motion Picture Association (MPA), went to court to request the block as Newzbin2 allowed users to share links to illegal film and music downloads.

Newzbin2 thought it could circumvent the block using VPNs and other workarounds, but the blackmarket trade proved less lucrative than it hoped.

The site admitted in a statement, "Newzbin2 was always hoped to be a viable underground commercial venture. The figures just don't stack up."

The statement goes on to explain that Newzbin's active user base was actually much smaller than thought – Newzbin2 had around 40,000 active users when it shut, with the number of premium users "is in the small thousands".

Pal-less

It didn't help that Paypal abandoned ship after the MPA sued it, and turned their attentions to the site's other payment provider, Kthxbai Ltd.

The original site Newzbin was forced out of business after legal action by the MPA left it with crippling costs, but from the ashes rose Newzbin2, resurrected by a hacker coalition named Team R Dogs.

Unsurprisingly, the MPA weren't too keen on Newzbin2 either, and in July 2011 a UK court ordered BT to put its child porn filters to work blocking Newzbin2. Not long after, most of the UK's other ISPs were ordered to follow suit.

Newzbin2 feels hard done by. It said in its rather over-the-top closing statement, "The tragedy is this: unlike Newzbin2 we are 100% DMCA compliant.

"We have acted on every DMCA notice we received without stalling or playing games: if there was a DMCA complaint the report was gone. Period.

"That was a condition of our advertising and payment partners so we complied but we never got a single complaint from the MPA. Not one."

Do not block

Jim Killock, of the Open Rights Group, said of the news, "Newzbin were rightly pursued through the courts and found to be encouraging infringement. That is the right approach.

"However, censorship and block orders are disturbing and we think unnecessary given the success in tackling the businesses and payment mechanisms involved.

"Web blocking is a blunt instrument and is a dangerous practice. We wish copyright owners the best in enforcing their rights and building their businesses, but urge them not to resort to further requests for censorship."