30 March 2010

UK - Indexing company liable for users' infringement, says High Court

(OUT-LAW News)
A company which indexes and sorts postings to Usenet groups is liable for the copyright infringement of its users when they download films, software and television programmes, the High Court has said. Newzbin is a company that charged users 30p per week for access to its indexing and collation of media files posted to discussion groups on the Usenet system. It claimed that it did no more than a search engine such as Google and should not be liable for its users' actions but the Court heard that it told volunteer editors to carry out collating and reporting tasks to make it easier to download material and told them to focus their activity on films. Because of its knowledge of the infringements and its editorial involvement in making that infringement easier it shares liability for the downloading, the Court said. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation v Newzbin [2010] EWHC 608(Ch). See also Why the Newzbin ruling helps web hosts.