Last October, British Telecom was ordered to block access to file-sharing site Newzbin2 by Mr Justice Arnold of the British High Court. The ruling was seen as a landmark win for the Motion Picture Association, as well as the music and film industry in general, and the MPA hoped to have similar success in getting Virgin Media, Sky and TalkTalk to block Newzbin2. About a fortnight after the ruling, the association issued a request to the ISPs to block Newzbin2. Eventually, the MPA got a court order and Sky was forced to block access to the site. At the time Virgin and TalkTalk said they hadn't received an order but would comply with one if it were issued. Now it looks as though that day has come, for Virgin Media at least.
"We've received an order from the courts requiring us to prevent access to Newzbin in order to help protect against copyright infringement," the company announced this week.
"As a responsible ISP, Virgin Media complies with court orders addressed to us, but we strongly believe that changing consumer behaviour to tackle copyright infringement also needs compelling legal alternatives to give consumers access to great content at the right price."
Virgin Media said something similar when it was forced to block access to The Pirate Bay earlier this year. Virgin was actually the first ISP to comply with the court order to block access to TPB, but the company made it clear that it didn't think court ordered blocks were the answer when it came to fighting piracy. The company highlighted its own agreement with Spotify, which the company says gives customers access to "great content at the right price."
While the price needs to be right, many believe that the industry is at fault for failing to evolve or innovate when it comes to digital distribution. Valve's Gabe Newell said last year that piracy was more a service problem than anything else.
"We think there is a fundamental misconception about piracy. Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem," Newell told the University of Cambridge's newspaper. "If a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24 x 7, purchasable from the convenience of your personal computer, and the legal provider says the product is region-locked, will come to your country 3 months after the US release, and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate's service is more valuable."