Jul 28, 2011

Posted by in Blog | 1 Comment

Blocking Newzbin is utterly stupid

Today’s judgement forcing BT to block access to Newzbin is the most ridiculous such decision yet.
First of all, Newzbin doesn’t host files. This is actually a more relevant distinction that it is with torrents. That’s because all of the files that the .nzb point to have been posted by someone else on a public news server. Then, the news servers of the world replicate that information for anyone to access.

Secondly, I don’t see why anyone in their right mind would use Newzbin. It isn’t free, which makes it a pain. People who object to paying for TV, movies and must would surely object to paying for a service that points them at readily available files?

From my experience (I’ve tried all of these systems at some stage, out of my geek urge to understand) and Newsgroups are by far the most difficult for normal users to get to grips with. It’s not like BitTorrent, where you grab a little application like µTorrent and start clicking links to download. You have to get the .nzb file (perhaps via a service that charges, like Newzbin) and then you have to point it toward your newsgroup server.

News servers are almost never free either, and the ones that are usually have poor retention (the length of time a binary file is kept before being discarded). This is all more complicated than BitTorrent, and it’s even slightly more complicated that IRC XDCC downloads. And those are very intimidating for new users.

But, with regard to this judgement, I am flabbergasted. One ISP has been ordered to block access to one newsgroup search engine. Newzbin isn’t the only search engine for these files, it’s just happens to be the one the movie studios have heard of. The other ISPs are not affected (yet).

What BT hasn’t been ordered to block is access to the binary files themselves. It’s a bit like the government deciding that knife crime is on the up, so to solve the problem they will stop shops from putting them on display. You’ll still be able to buy a knife if you ask, but it might be slightly more bothersome to find what you’re looking for.

If anything, this judgement proves that the British judiciary are stupid, ignorant fools who have not the first understanding of the Internet and how it works. It’s clear that massive pressure is being placed upon them by rights holders looking to ‘stop’ piracy. The problem is, you won’t stop piracy with an action like this. You won’t even slow it down. Piracy is here to stay.

Oh, and it’s not piracy either, and we need to stop referring to it as such. It’s copyright infringement. The fact that Hollywood refers to it as such is really just their way of making it sound very serious. In fact, I don’t blame them for taking it seriously, it’s their job to do so. It is not, however, the job of the British legal system to protect their revenue.

It alarms me a lot that today we basically agreed to censor the Internet. Censorship of the Internet is an idiotic notion. It’s like trying to censor what people think. It won’t work either, because the Internet is big, really big, and for every site you block there will be 20 other places for people to do what they want.

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