Hollywood film giants battling against online piracy have won a test case action in the High Court against the UK's biggest internet service provider.
They had urged a judge in London to grant an order which would force BT to cut off or impede customers' access to a website accused of "flagrant" copyright infringement.
Mr Justice Arnold, giving his reserved ruling in the case following a hearing last month, announced: "I will make an order substantially in the form sought by the studios."
Major studios, including Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount Pictures Corporation and Disney Enterprises brought the proceedings over the Newzbin2 website, which has around 700,000 members.
The action, brought on behalf of all members of the Motion Picture Association of America, is believed to be the first in Britain where an attempt is being made to force an internet provider to block a site under the 1988 Copyright, Design and Patents Act (CDPA). Film-makers told the court they wanted BT to block Newzbin with the same system that stops access to sites hosting child sex abuse images.
Richard Spearman QC, arguing for an injunction on behalf of the applicants at the recent hearing, told the judge that the Newzbin copyright infringement was being carried out on a "grand scale".
BT contested the claim for an injunction, arguing that there is no jurisdiction for the court to make the order sought against it under the CDPA.
In written argument before the court, submitting that the injunction application should be dismissed, Antony White QC, for BT, argued that if the court ordered it to block access to the Newzbin2 website "there would be nothing to stop countless other claimants coming forward demanding that BT block other websites alleged to contain unlawful material".
After the ruling BT said in a statement: "This is a helpful judgment, which provides clarity on this complex issue. It clearly shows that rights holders need to prove their claims and convince a judge to make a court order. BT has consistently said that rights holders need to take this route."
Lord Puttnam, president of the Film Distributors' Association, said: "Today's result is an important victory in the battle against a commercial pirate site which refused to operate within the law. Finally, it seems we have a way to deal with rogue sites which will benefit the film industry, including UK independent distributors and, more broadly, the entire creative sector."