Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 May 2015

Try as they may, internet service providers can't stop the free-for-all

The impotent, pent-up fury of film and music rights holders has finally found an escape route. As a tech-savvy public helped itself for more than a decade to billions of pounds worth of content without paying for it, ISPs shrugged off the problem.

The effect of yesterday's ruling, at least initially, will be negligible. Newzbins is merely a collection of neatly categorised signposts to downloadable content; the files themselves sit elsewhere.

But here's the slippery slope: all British ISPs will be forced to block Newzbins and other sites will surely follow. If the courts can't cope with the volume of cases and a take-down system is introduced, we'll be left with a benign internet landscape sculpted by a system of silent censorship dictated by powerful media conglomerates.

Internet users hellbent on downloading copyrighted content will simply carry on doing so, as hackers effortlessly circumvent measures put in place by ISPs. It's hard to pinpoint who emerges from this scenario better off, but it's not the average consumer.

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