More ISPs asked to block access to file-sharing sites

A U.S. film industry body will apply for more court orders to force other major web providers in the UK to block websites that infringe copyright.

Three more British internet service providers have been asked by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) to block access to file-sharing site Newzbin2.

Virgin Media, TalkTalk and Sky have received written requests on Monday, which said the film industry body is planning to take the two companies to court to prevent its users accessing the torrent site.

This comes just over a fortnight since the MPA won a case against broadband giant BT to block access to the Newzbin2 site, and only days after a music representative body the BPI asked BT to block torrent search engine The Pirate Bay from its customers.

But there is hope for the free and open British web, which was cut short this week by the MPA's court order, as some ISPs are considering their positions in a possible fightback.

(Source: ZDNet)

While TalkTalk indicated it was considering its position after discovering "some objectionable elements to the proposed injunction", Sky suggested it would obey court orders, in the run up to the MPA applying for a formal court hearing.

Virgin Media also said it would only adhere to the request if forced to by a UK court, which could result in its customers ultimately paying for the cost of having restricted web service.

But because BT was ordered to block its customers from accessing the site, rather than voluntarily doing so upon the MPA's request, the broadband and telecoms giant had to pay about £5,000 ($8,000) to do so, with an added £100 ($160) for each subsequent blocking notification.

BT has six million customers, and is the largest internet service provider in the UK. Though an MPA spokesperson said that "we don't rule out any options" regarding tackling smaller broadband providers, it would concentrate its efforts on the larger providers for "reasons of practicality".

The MPA said it will focus its efforts "only on the most harmful sites".

Before BT's court order was issued, the only web-blocking technology that was implemented on the British web was Cleanfeed, which flags and restricts access to sites hosting or linking to child abuse imagery. But since the court order went into effect, with BT forced to block access to the Newzbin2 site, the British web was no longer 'open'.

Though British web providers are not taking this lightly, it is clear that once the initial court order was given, forcing BT to block the Newzbin2 site, the set precedence alone would make it difficult to retreat from.

Newzbin2 said on the day that BT began its court-ordered block that 90 percent of its members had downloaded a workaround to bypass the restrictions.