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Newzbin Usenet Trial Begins Next Week in London
January 30, 2010
Thomas Mennecke
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The long awaited Newzbin vs. the MPA trial is set to begin next week in London. Newzbin is one of the largest and most popular Usenet newsgroup indexing sites, serving over 6,000 NZB files. According to Alexa.com, Newzbin.com is ranked 5,800, placing it among the most trafficked websites.

Newzbin.com also made the indexing file mainstream by developing the now universal NZB file. This indexing file concept was originally developed by Binnews.com (the BNS file), but it was Newzbin.com's iteration that caught on. NZB files are considered vital in today's Usenet environment.

The first signs of legal trouble came in March of 2006, when Newzbin.com closed their forums. The forums were then reopened under an independent owner and server. This action was followed up by closing user registration in May of the same year.

Finally, the gauntlet fell in October 2008 when Newzbin.com announced they had received complaints about their service. Although Newzbin didn't specify who made the complaints, it was widely speculated that the movie industry was behind the move. These suspicious proved correct. In December of that year, we learned the MPA was behind the lawsuits.

Now the trial is set to begin, but the legal climate in the United Kingdom is a much different place than it was in 2008. Just two weeks ago, a very similar trial ended in favor of the defendant - Alan Ellis of OinK's Pink Palace. The only difference is that OinK pointed to content on BitTorrent, while Newzbin points to content on Usenet. From Newzbin.com:

"Our long awaited case, 20th Century Fox & Others v Newzbin, begins next week in London. It should last about a week. It's unknown yet when any verdict will be handed down after the case is concluded."

So now the question is, has legal precedence been set in favor of indexing operators? We're not sure, but things are looking a lot better for Newzbin today than they were last year.

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