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Newzbin Returns - Usenet Indexer Renamed Newzbin2
June 2, 2010
Thomas Mennecke
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It looks like Newzbin, thanks to MrWhite and the Team R Dogs, has returned. The resurrected site, now called Newzbin2, went online just a few hours ago. This news comes only a few short weeks after the old Newzbin's May 18 shutdown.

Lawsuit

Newzbin has long been known as one of the best – if not the best – newsgroup indexers. It had a lot of good things going for it: an intuitive interface, well organized categories, a strong community, and an enormous NZB index. This made it popular among the internet citizenry, but notorious within the entertainment industry.

This notoriety came to a head this year, when Newzbin was sued by the companies represented by the MPA (Motion Picture Association) – the international version of the MPAA. The trial began in early February and was over by March 4. Although there were hopes that Newzbin would at least beat some of the charges, the defense of the site didn’t seem to go well. By March 29, the UK court found Newzbin liable for copyright infringement.

The site wasn’t ordered to shut down, but it was commanded to remove all NZB files that could potentially point to the Plaintiff’s copyrighted work. At this time, the site remained online until May 18.

Code Leaked

A few interesting things happened after Newzbin was taken offline. One, people flipped out because their favorite and best newsgroup indexer disappeared. Who could possibly replace Newzbin? The answer to that question is Newzbin. Or more specifically, Newzbin2.

News soon leaked that the source code behind the original Newzbin was leaked. Apparently a group named Team R Dogs, led by a mysterious Mr. White, obtained the source code to the site. This news was confirmed by Caesium, the ex-administrator of the site. Caesium pointed out that it was an older code, but it checked out.

In a subsequent interview, the new owners of the site commented they were struggling to get the code working again, as it was far more complex than anticipated. But these difficulties were surmounted, as today the site is back online and operational – albeit with noted deficiencies.

Newzbin Returns

The leadership of Newzbin readily admits there are many things wrong and that the Usenet indexer is still a work in progress. We're sure that the same resources that made Newzbin a smooth operator (such as a powerful server farm) are still trying to be matched by Newzbin2. According to Mr. White:

"There are catches and we don't want you having too high expectations for now. To be blunt, we've been struggling to understand the site code & systems. The backend is way more complicated than we realised. Some of it is busted and some services we don't know how to operate fully yet.

We are working hard but we thought, based on comments on the http://deepsharer.wordpress.com/ blog, that it would be better to run a partial Newzbin clone now rather than leave it for a couple of months until we do grok it all. Understand that things are likely to be a bit wobbly for a while and stuff may well fall over, but we hope to kick things into shape soon."

That said, much of the site appears to be intact although occasionally the site runs slow. Newzbin's GUI (Graphical User Interface) is largely familiar, but polished slightly differently. The NZB indexing database appears largely intact, and the search and browse features also work with good response times. In fact we don’t see too many things wrong with the site, but we totally understand that beneath the face of Newzbin there could be many backend issues that need to be addressed.

The raw search feature, a distinctive and popular property of Newzbin, is also operational. Some of the finer features of Newzbin, such as bookmarking, also seem workable. In all, the site appears to be running rather smooth at the moment – a good effort considering the purported age of the stolen code.

Two other important points: the site is also free for the time being, and NewzXXX.com – Newzbin’s popular adult cousin – will return soon as well.

"We dont have a functional payment system in place yet so the site will be free for a week or two. When we get a credits system running we will be respecting the credits you have left over from Newzbin."

"Newzxxx.com not yet working but we are on it."

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