How Hollywood Is Choking Off Access to Rogue Websites in Its Fight Against Piracy

Hollywood is expanding its fight against piracy. The efforts range from more court actions designed to gain cooperation from ISPs to new cease-and-desist letters meant to shut down interesting new technology in its early genesis. 

On Tuesday, the international arm of the MPAA appeared at the High Court in the UK in an effort to force the nation's largest internet service provider, BT, to block access to a website that was distributing The King's Speech and other films.The request is a first-of-its-kind in Britain under the Copyright, Design and Patents Act. 

A coalition of studios, including Warner Bros, Fox, Disney and Paramount, want to force BT to do something about Newzbin2, a website that has bothered the movie industry for a few years.

In March 2010, studios were able to obtain a high court ruling against Newzbin, ordering the website to remove pirated material and pay damages for copyright infringement. The website resurfaced soon after in Sweden.

Getting ISPs to do something about websites fostering infringement has been a high priority for the entertainment lobby. In Australia, Hollywood studios unsuccessfully fought a battle with the nation's third-largest ISP for inducing piracy. However, the studios have gained ground by pushing tougher piracy laws with new obligations on ISPs in countries including the UK and France.

Meanwhile, the ISP fight isn't the only battleground at the moment for Hollywood. 

The industry continues its push for the U.S. Congress to pass the controversial PROTECT IP Act, which would give the government the power to essentially blacklist rogue sites by obtaining a court order preventing search engines, financial service providers, advertisers, and others from having any sort of relationship with such sites.

There's also novel independent steps that various studios are taking to police perceived intellectual property violations. In our next post, we'll look at a new technology and why it's got one studio upset.


Twitter: @eriqgardner