11.29 Europe/London, July 28, 2011 By Julian Clover

BT is to be forced to block access to film website Newzbin2 after the High Court ruled in favour of five Hollywood studios.

Twentieth Century Fox, Universal, Warner Bros, Paramount, Disney and Columbia had taken the ISP to court after an earlier attempt to shut down Newzbin2 directly had failed. Newzbin2, which claims 700,000 members, indexes films, music and software that can be downloaded for free, often in breach of copyright.

In 2009 the estimated overall loss from film piracy was put at £477 million and the overall loss from television piracy at £58 million.

The order by Justice Arnold under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act throws out the previous defence from ISPs that they are merely the pipe and cannot be expected to police the actions of their subscribers.

“It follows that BT has actual knowledge of other persons using its service to infringe copyright: it knows that the users and operators of Newbin2 infringe copyright on a large scale, and in particular infringe the copyrights of the Studios in large numbers of their films and television programmes, it knows that the users of Newzbin2 include BT subscribers, and it knows that those users use its service to receive infringing copies of copyright works made available to them by Newzbin2,” said Justice Arnold.

He added that the principals of European law made a reference to the Court of Justice unnecessary.