It's obvious that Hollywood is still trying to kill a fly with a stick of dynamite. The MPAA convinced a British court to force BT to block access to Newzbin.com back in July. Now the BBC reports that BT has two weeks to implement a block of the popular Usenet indexing site. Of greater interest is the fact that the judge has ruled that BT is responsible not only for blocking the current site, but also any future IP address or name that they may move their site to.
While it’s true that the site gives users the ability to find and download copyrighted material, the question as to who should be liable has been a hotly contested debate. Newzbin.com is nothing more than Google for Usenet binary forums and isn’t actually partaking in any illegal activity, so should the site be responsible? It’s almost impossible to stop access to a site on the internet as people in China can attest to. The MPAA has to realize that there are a dozen ways to move the site and since access is only blocked in the UK, a proxy server is one of a number of simple workarounds.
In addition, the fact that the courts believe BT is responsible simply because the infringement occurred using their network is also a slippery slope. Is AT&T responsible when a crime is organized using their cellular network? Is FedEx responsible for an illegally copied DVD shipped via their service? The lines are definitely blurred in the digital age.