The Motion Picture Association (MPA), which is the international arm of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), is taking the British ISP BT to court this week in the hopes that they can ban/block BT ISP customers from visiting the website Newzbin2. This really isn’t anything new to the Newzbin name, the name that gave us the oh-so-lovable NZB Format. In 2010 Newzbin lost a court cast to the MPA and collapsed under the burden of the fines. In about a nanosecond, the Newzbin code was “leaked”, copied, and viola: Newzbin2 appeared.
This time the MPA decided a new approach was in order, lest there be a Newzbin3 in “record” time. Get it? Record? LOL…As far back as fall of 2010, TorrentFreak got wind of the MPA’s new approach when they learned the ISP BT was getting sued by MPA. Little did we know that the tactic was a complete ban of the site for all of BT’s subscriber base. That’s some 6 million customers in the UK.
Why choose the ISP BT? They’re one of the biggest in the UK, and they already had the filters in place. What filters? Child abuse/child porn – all that jazz. The stuff that should probably be blocked for all intensive purposes anyway. MPA wants BT to use that same filter technology to block Newzbin2. Scary, ain’t it? The system is called “cleanfeed”. And, well, let’s just say it isn’t perfect.
As TorrentFreak, and a number of others are reporting – cleanfeed filter only works on port 80. It’s also unable to block encrypted traffic, or proxy traffic (hello VPN!). But the shortcomings of the system aren’t really the issue here.
The primary issue is the potential precedent this court case could set as far as the widening of responsibilities for systems like cleanfeed. Sure, we start with Newzbin2 in the name of copyright, but where do we stop? BT was already well aware of the potential snowball effect, dating back to the 2004. At that time BT clearly expressed a desire to kill the system, and the entire filter project, if the scope became too broad. Will this be the straw that broke the camels back? Nobody knows for sure, yet.
Fortunately, in addition to the obvious weaknesses of the cleanfeed filter system, the new management over at Newzbin2 is implementing the TOR anonymity system. What’s that mean? Well, without getting too technical, it means it will be really really hard for BT and cleanfeed to figure out “who” or “where” Newzbin2 actually resides. If you don’t know who it is, or where it is, good luck blocking it.
In any case, yet another example of lawsuits and lawyers gone crazy for Hollywood. Could be time to think about purchasing a personal VPN. If you had/have one, you wouldn’t need to worry about the filter blocking you. All your ISP would see is an encrypted stream of traffic…cleanfeed would be none the wiser!