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Newzbin 2 operators launch software to counteract site-blocking measures, reports say

A copyright-infringing website has developed software to circumvent technology BT has been ordered to use to prevent its customers accessing the site, according to media reports.16 Sep 2011

TeamRDogs, the operators behind the website Newzbin 2, said it had developed new software that would "utterly defeat" the system BT is expected to use to prevent their customers accessing the site, according to a report on the Torrent Freak website.

Newzbin 2 is a members-only site which collates links to a large amount of illegally-copied material including films, music and computer games, found on Usenet discussion forums.

In July the High Court issued a landmark ruling against the UK's largest internet service provider (ISP) that will force it to prevent its customers accessing Newzbin 2.

Six major film studios - including Warner Brothers, Disney and Fox – had requested the action under Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. That Act gives UK courts the power to grant an injunction against an ISP if it had 'actual knowledge' that someone had used its service to infringe copyright.

BT is expected to use its Cleanfeed system to stop users visiting Newzbin 2. The ISP currently uses the technology to block access to websites featuring child abuse images.

However, a spokesman for Newzbin 2 said that software it has developed will enable BT customers to circumvent the Cleanfeed system.

"This [new software] is targeted at UK users who are likely to get blocked in October," the spokesman said, according to the report by Torrent Freak.

"This first version is a bit rushed and so not very polished. As time goes by we shall improve it and add features. We can’t say how our client application works but it uses a number of techniques to utterly defeat Cleanfeed, The application also has Agility Technology to break any updated web censorship methods or anti freedom countermeasures," the Newzbin spokesman said, according to the report.

In his High Court ruling Mr Justice Arnold had said that it was "common ground" between BT and the Motion Picture Association (MPA) – the industry body that represented the six film studios in court – that "it would be possible for BT subscribers to circumvent the blocking required by the order".

Mr Justice Arnold also acknowledged at the time that there was evidence that Newzbin 2 operators had "already made plans to assist users to circumvent such blocking".

The judge ruled that, despite the fact it might be possible to get around blocking measures "the order would be justified even if it only prevented access to Newzbin 2 by a minority of users".

A spokesman for BT told Out-Law.com that the company was due back in court on October 14 to thrash out the precise terms of the court order. He said that it was difficult for the company to comment on a "hypothetical" basis until the terms were decided.

A spokesperson for the MPA said that the organisation would not comment on BT's blocking measures until the exact terms of the High Court's blocking order have been determined.

The MPA previously won an order preventing the original Newzbin site from linking to free content. The site later went into administration, and a new version was set up outside the UK's jurisdiction.

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