Hollywood Studios are at the High Court In London today in an attempt to force BT to block a website that is allegedly infringing copyright. But in a separate development, a document has emerged which outlines wider plans, by the rights holders, for blocking injunctions.
The request for the injunction was filed within the last week or so by the
Motion Picture Association (MPA) on behalf of its members - namely the Hollywood film studios. It concerns the Newzbin website. The film studios want the UK courts to make BT block the Newzbin site. In particular, they want BT to do so using its Cleanfeed technology, which is intended only to be use for blocking child abuse sites.
The case is brought under UK copyright law - Section 97a of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act . This is the UK implementation of EU law, namely Article 8.3 of the Copyright directive and Article 11 of IPRED. It enables rights-holders to bring an injunction against intermediaries.
This is the first case of its kind in the UK and thus it will be a test case, which could set a legal precedent, especially if the judge rules in favour of the applicants.
The rights-holders, including the MPA, previously took action against Newzbin and won. However, it seems that Newzbin has been moved out of UK jurisdiction and its owners have disappeared - at least, that is how it is being reported .
For this reason, the MPA wants to get the ISPs to block. BT is being targetted because it is the largest, although other ISPs appear to be included in the action.
20th Century Fox, which is named as the claimant, is part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.
The basic facts of the case are reported by Dow Jones Newswires, in the Wall Street Journal.
However, a document has been prepared for presentation to the British Ministry of Culture, which sets out wider plans by the Motion Picture Association for web blocking injunctions under Sections 17 and 18 of the Digital Economy Act. This document emerged last week and was made public on the Open Rights Group website.
Sections 17 and 18 are the controversial provisions for enabling faster and easier web blocking injunctions.
The document calls for "co-operation" from ISPs for the purpose of implementing such blocking injunctions (such calls for ‘co-operation' will be familiar to iptegrity readers from the Telecoms Package):
" We look forward to engaging in further discussion with the aim of security in co-operation from ISPS in addressing the infringements of copyright that take place where websites are focussed on infringement".
The document was prepared by the Motion Picture Association and the BPI, together with the Premier League. It states that it is without prejudice to legal action by the MPA aimed at blocking the Newzbin site, making the connection between the two amply clear.
What is totally astonishing though, is how the right holders are moving the goal posts again, this time with a proposal for ISPs to carry kitemarks.
And it's interesting how the rights holders twist the argument to appear favourable. They highlight the fact that a court order will be required as a benefit - when in fact, the whole point is that this is a court injunction. They are trying however, to bring the matter outside the courts jurisdication by setting up some kind of third-party ‘expert body' to run blocking injunctions as a new scheme. At least, I think this is a reasonable interpretation of the document.
Please attribute this article: Monica Horten (2011) 20th Century Fox v BT - and Hollywood's latest plan for ISP co-operation http://www.iptegrity.com 28 June 2011 .
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ It may be used for non-commercial purposes only, and the author's name should be attributed.