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Monday, 31 October 2011 09:40

BT ordered to use child porn filter to prevent movie piracy

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A UK court has ordered BT to use its Cleanfeed technology - developed for and used to block access to child pornography web sites - to prevent its customers accessing the NewzBin2 web site that offers access to pirated movies.

The ruling follows a court action initiated earlier this year by Twentieth Century Fox, Universal City Studios, Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures, Disney and Columbia Pictures. BT has been given just 14 days to comply.

According to Mark Gregory, senior lecturer in electrical and computer engineering at RMIT University - who reported the judgement on 'The Conversation' web site it is the first time that a UK court has ordered an ISP to take action to prevent its customers gaining unauthorised access to copyright protected content.

And the decision comes despite the UK having implemented last year a system similar to that recently introduced in New Zealand that requires ISPs to warn customers if they receive notice from copyright holders of infringing activity and, if these warnings are ignored, suspend the customer's account.

The judgement, handed down last week by Justice Arnold in the UK's High Court, is substantially the same as his initial judgement handed down in July. In his final judgement, he said: "By agreement between the parties, the matter was adjourned for further argument on the precise form of order. Since then a surprising number of issues have emerged, and the parties have served no less than four further rounds of evidence."

Gregory concludes that the UK court's decision will inevitably be taken note of by Australian courts and that further regulation of access to the Internet in Australia is inevitable.

"The English High Court has effectively added to the copyright protection available to movie studios by requiring ISPs to block access to identified websites that permit customers to download copyright material," he says. "It's only a matter of time before the Internet is fully regulated in Australia. The English High Court decision brings this reality one step closer."

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