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Media The Courts The Internet Your Rights Online Usenet Indexing Trial Set To Begin Next Week 76

An anonymous reader writes "Only a few weeks after a jury acquitted Alan Ellis, the owner of the BitTorrent site 'OinK's Pink Palace,' of copyright infringement, another high profile case is about to start next week, this time for the newsgroup side of things. The MPA (Motion Picture Association) trial against, a website that indexes NZB files and content on the newsgroups, will begin in London on Monday. Will lightning strike twice in favor of website indexing?" Torrentfreak points out one major difference between the cases: "Ellis’s charge was one of fraud, allegedly conducted by an individual and dealt with under criminal law, while that leveled against Newzbin is one of allowing and inducing illegal copying, i.e copyright infringement, but carried out by a bona fide company under civil law."
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  • by klashn ( 1323433 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @01:31PM (#30971460) Journal
    Newzbin is not providing material for download, but instead just providing information. Google does the same thing... Clicking the first link on google from the search 'office 2007 download warez' this website showed up: [] They're offering Office 2007 as a torrent file
  • What (Score:5, Informative)

    by ShooterNeo ( 555040 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @01:43PM (#30971568)

    There's an enormous difference between The Pirates Bay and newsbinz.

    Newzbin just automatically trawls all the binary newsgroups and automatically creates and index of what it finds. It's a common carrier, just like google. The fact that the binary newgroups have an enormous amount of pirated content is no more the fault of newzbin than the fact that the internet is choc full of disturbing porn is the fault of google.

    The Pirates Bay, OTOH, is a site where the admins deliberately remove pirated content that was mislabeled from the site. This, as well as the site name, makes their database deliberately biased to help with piracy. Maybe that is illegal and maybe it isn't, but the point is, what TPB does is different than what newzbin does.

  • by mister_playboy ( 1474163 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @02:29PM (#30971956)

    I should also mention these places tend to have a reward points program where you earn points for each download you get, and these points can be traded for cash or premium service. The hoster Hotfile, in particular, has be popular recently since it's possible to make a decent amount of money if you upload a lot of stuff and spam the links on forums all over the internet. That a makes "piracy" a commercial venture.

    These sorts of cash rewards for uploading aren't commonly found in bittorent or usenet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31, 2010 @02:49PM (#30972230)
    They are, they just require an invite from an existing member. Easiest way to get one is to ask on the forums for your favorite newzbin capable app. I'm always out of invites since I give them to users of my app who ask for one.
  • Re:What (Score:3, Informative)

    by Spad ( 470073 ) <slashdot AT spad DOT co DOT uk> on Sunday January 31, 2010 @04:06PM (#30973046) Homepage

    Incorrect. Its editors create "reports" from the Usenet feeds that it pulls in from various providers (though you can still browse the feeds directly if you prefer).

    That said, Newzbin's content is simply a function of the content of the newsgroups on Usenet; if people only posted non-infringing material to them, then there would only be non-infringing material to report.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @05:18PM (#30973820) Homepage

    There's two very fundamental decisions in the US, the Sony vs Betamax decision and the MGM vs Grokster decision. The essence is that the Betamax decision says infringements are not sufficient in itself as long as there is substantial non-infringing use, but the Grokster decision (9-0 vote) says it's not a general shield against how you design, apply, market, sell and support it. That goes for how you plan it internally, how you market it externally and how you handle support from users. They could go as far as consider things implicit in its domain or construction, for example if I set up an indexer that only indexed warez groups or had search filters only relevant to warez releases that would be used against me as intent.

    In short, you have to keep a thick veil between you and infringing users and pretend the 800lb elephant in the room isn't there. You are making a general tool for a general market, once you start straying from that you are very likely to break the law. And it's an extremely good reason why there's normally a zero tolerance policy on warez talk in support forums. You can not legally allow yourself to know.

  • by msclrhd ( 1211086 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @05:42PM (#30974126)

    No, from []:

    Newzbin indexes and links to everything on Usenet. Sometimes, you may find an item listed that you'd prefer us not to have - you may own copyright over the software for example, and having it distributed via Usenet is not your preferred method.

    Since the indexing is automated we can't discern what to index, and what not to index.

  • by michaelhood ( 667393 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @08:55PM (#30975942)

    Newsbin handpicks warez (or even posts them themselves), then creates nzb files and garnishes them with detailed descriptions, only to charge a small fee from everyone who wants access to their "catalog". Quite different from a simple aggregator.

    This is not how Newzbin works at all. It's community-driven. Paying users can 'editorialize' the search results by marking posts of interest and grouping together files in "reports." These reports can have a title, description, article IDs, filenames, and then other users can post comments on them. Newzbin, itself, provides nothing but an index of Usenet headers.

  • Re:Sigh (Score:4, Informative)

    by michaelhood ( 667393 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @08:57PM (#30975966)

    Newzbin does comply with takedown requests however they don't make it easy on them at all. []

    Sending a piece of postal mail is what passes for "not making it easy on them at all?" Registered mail is the de facto method for sending any sort of legal correspondence.

  • Re:What (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kirijini ( 214824 ) <kirijini&yahoo,com> on Sunday January 31, 2010 @09:44PM (#30976354)

    Newzbin... [is] a common carrier, just like google.

    I understand what you're trying to say, but "common carrier" isn't the right terminology. The term "common carrier" has an important legal meaning, on top of the general idea that it refers to a service provider that is open to the public.

    Common carriers, like airlines, railroads, telephone networks, grain elevators (not kidding - in the 1800s, grain elevators were considered by the courts to be "common carriers") are business that are "affected with a public interest," and are regulated. Typically they have unusual liability standards, are forbidden from discriminating, and in return may have special privileges vis-a-vis public right of ways and eminent domain powers.

    Google is not a common carrier. Neither is newzbin. ISPs aren't common carriers either - they've been desperately fighting for years to avoid being classified as common carriers, and thus become subject to the kinds of regulations that come with that title.

    Let me put it this way - if Newzbin was a common carrier, then a poster on a newsgroup somewhere would be able to sue Newzbin if it didn't index that post within a reasonable amount of time. Likewise with Google - if it was a common carrier, then it would be liable to the owners of websites that it either negligently didn't index (overlooked somehow) or purposefully didn't list (like that website with photos of Michelle Obama made to look like a monkey).

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.