Six U.S. film studios won a judgment in the High Court of England and Wales, directing Internet service (“ISP”) provider BT Group Plc to block access to Newzbin2, a website that promotes copyright piracy by aggregating links to unlawful copies of movies on the Internet. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. v. British Telecommunications Plc  EWHC 1981 (Ch). The High Court had previously entered an injunction directly against Newzbin Ltd., the operator of the “Newzbin” website. The website eventually was shut down. However, on or around 28 May 2010 a new piracy website–dubbed “Newzbin2”–began operating amid public statements by its operators that they had taken measures to avoid UK legal sanctions. Their evasive maneuvers included registration of the newsbin.com domain name to a company in Seychelles, and hosting of the website on servers in Sweden.
In its July 27, 2011 decision, the High Court directed the UK’s leading ISP to prevent its subscribers from accessing the Newzbin2 site. The court relied primarily on Section 97A of the Copyright, Patents and Designs Act 1988, part of the UK’s legislation implementing the EU Information Society Directive. Section 97A provides, in relevant part, that the court “shall have power to grant an injunction against a service provider, where that service provider has actual knowledge of another person using their service to infringe copyright.” The court concluded –
BT has actual knowledge of other persons using its service to infringe copyright: it knows that the users and operators of Newbin2 infringe copyright on a large scale, and in particular infringe the copyrights of the Studios in large numbers of their films and television programmes, it knows that the users of Newzbin2 include BT subscribers, and it knows that those users use its service to receive infringing copies of copyright works made available to them by Newzbin2. For the reasons given above, that knowledge satisfies the requirements of section 97A(1).