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Hollywood wins U.K. piracy battle

Telco BT ordered to block access to Newzbin2

The Hollywood studios have won a landmark legal victory in the U.K. against online film and TV pirates.

London’s High Court ordered telco BT to shut down access to file-sharing website Newzbin2, which it deemed guilty of copyright infringements.

BT, the U.K.’s biggest Internet service provider with 6 million customers, has 14 days to comply with the Hon. Justice Arnold’s order. Wednesday’s judgment confirmed a ruling made by the same judge on July 28.

The case, brought by 20th Century Fox, Universal, Warner Bros., Paramount, Disney and Columbia Pictures, is the first of its kind in Blighty and creates a precedent that will allow the studios to move against similar sites.

David Puttnam, prexy of the Film Distributors’ Assn., said, “This is a very significant day for the U.K.’s creative industries. The law is clear. Industrial online piracy is illegal and can be stopped.”

Chris Marcich, the Motion Picture Assn.’s prexy and managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “This is a win for the creative sector. Securing the intervention of the ISPs was the only way to put the commercial pirates out of reach for the majority of consumers. This means that we can invest more in our own digital offerings, delivering higher quality and more variety of products to the consumer.”

BT will be liable for all costs associated with the action and has been instructed to block any new website that Newzbin2 sets up.

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