London's High Court of Justice has ruled against popular online forum site Newzbin in a lawsuit filed by top Hollywood studios including Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox, Universal and Disney, holding it liable for the copyright infringement done by its members when they used it for downloading movies and music.
The ruling is being hailed as a new precedent for helping music and film companies in defending the copyright of their properties. Judge Justice Kitchin found that Newzbin allowed its members to keep on downloading copyright infringing material even after being warned about it.
However, Newzbin argued that it was not responsible for the activities of its members and claimed that all it did was to let users create forums so that they could share information and knowledge, somewhat similar to what Google does.
Legal representatives of the Hollywood studios said that the ruling made by the London court will call for ISPs to monitor their online traffic and aid creative arts companies in protecting their copyrighted material on the internet.
Commenting on the ruling, Simon Baggs, partner at the law firm which represented the Hollywood studios, said in a statement that “I don’t think ISPs need to be proactive [in policing content on their networks] but the judgment supports the view that ISPs can be required to block websites.”
Good Precedent? This one could be a rather dangerous one which could put ISPs under a lot of pressure as they have to dedicate both financial and human resources to policing an ever growing amount of online traffic.