Steve Beasant

Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Great Grimsby and Councillor for the East Marsh Learn more

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Blocking access to Newzbin2 is short-sighted and will not reduce demand for Hollywood movies

by Steve Beasant on 29 July, 2011

Commenting on the BT/Motion Picture Association test case ruling on Newzbin2, Mike O’Connor, Chief Executive at Consumer Focus said: 

‘Website blocking only treats the symptoms, not the cause of why consumers infringe copyright. Blocking access to Newzbin2 is short-sighted and will not reduce demand for Hollywood movies. Consumers will seek out other sources and the only long term solution is more and better legal alternatives. 

‘“Release windows” imposed by Hollywood studios drive some UK consumers to access movies through unlicensed sites. Currently Sky has an exclusive deal so that for 15 months after cinema release it is the only provider that can show a Hollywood movie online or on television. The Competition Commission has been looking into this situation since August 2010 with a decision due next month. 

‘Content producers want a market structure that generates maximum profits – meeting consumer demand for movies by offering services legally with different price points, either through subscription or pay-per-view, is the only viable long-term solution. The issue is not that consumers won’t pay – after all Newzbin2 is a subscription service. 

‘We are heading into a blocking injunction arms-race -what we really need is the members of the Motion Picture Association to be innovative and focus on meeting UK consumer demand legally.’ 

Additional concerns that Consumer Focus has over website blocking are: 

  • Website blocking technology is crude – often perfectly legal sites are inadvertently blocked too, raising the issue of ISP subscribers being denied access to legal content and services
  • Expense – web blocking is an expensive option for ISPs. ??Effectively an ISP could end up facing multiple injunctions ad infinitum – our concern is that the expense incurred will end up on consumer bills, increasing the cost of broadband for all
  • Website blocking can also result in degraded internet services, meaning UK consumers could face a reduction in speed and network reliability
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