The Indianpost

Hollywood vs BT: Web blocking ‘arms race’ predicted

Website blocking only treats the symptoms, not the cause of why consumers infringe copyright. Blocking access to Newzbin2 is short-sighted and will not reduce demand for Hollywood movies.

Consumers will seek out other sources and the only long term solution is more and better legal alternatives.

“Release windows” imposed by Hollywood studios drive some UK consumers to access movies through unlicensed sites. Currently Sky has an exclusive deal so that for 15 months after cinema release it is the only provider that can show a Hollywood movie online or on television.

The Competition Commission has been looking into this situation since August 2010 with a decision due next month.

Content producers want a market structure that generates maximum profits – meeting consumer demand for movies by offering services legally with different price points, either through subscription or pay-per-view, is the only viable long-term solution. The issue is not that consumers won’t pay – after all Newzbin2 is a subscription service.

We are heading into a blocking injunction arms-race -what we really need is the members of the Motion Picture Association to be innovative and focus on meeting UK consumer demand legally.’

Although the law on which the movie studios rely to block access to Newzbin has been in force for some time, this is the first occasion that a court has upheld it in relation to an ISP. This is a welcome victory for rightsowners, who have been deprived of income due to Newzbin’s illegal activities.

However, as a test case, it has set a precedent that has the potential to result in a flurry of less worthy court applications to block infringing content. Innumerable websites carry user-uploaded content and could equally now be the subject of a request for ISP blocking. YouTube is but one example.

On a broader level, time will tell if this case will have a meaningful impact on piracy, or whether persistent serial infringers and pirates will find, as they have in the past, other ways of circumventing the law. ”

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