Commenting on the BT/Motion Picture Association website blocking order for Newzbin2, Mike O’Connor, Chief Executive of Consumer Focus said:
‘Blocking websites like Newzbin2 is a sticking plaster in terms of dealing with copyright infringement. We need a comprehensive strategy to address why people are paying for illegal services.
‘The Competition Commission recently found that release windows for Hollywood movies on Sky limit consumers’ choice in the pay-TV market. At the same time Netflix wants to launch an all-you-can-eat UK online movie subscription service, but is finding it difficult to get the necessary licensing in this country.
‘Instead of just playing whack-a-mole with website blocking, the industry needs to focus their energies on coming up with an integrated strategy on how to move customers from illegal to legal services. Consumer demand for movies is huge. The challenge is for the industry to meet this demand by keeping up with technological advancements and providing affordable, legal choices for consumers, if it is to tackle copyright infringement in the long-term.’
Additional concerns that Consumer Focus has over website blocking are:
- Website blocking technology is crude – often perfectly legal sites are inadvertently blocked too, raising the issue of all ISP subscribers being denied access to legal content and services
- Expense – UK ISPs will now face multiple injunctions ad infinitum. Our concern is that the expense incurred will end up on consumer bills, increasing the cost of broadband for all
- Impact on network reliability – Website blocking can also result in degraded internet services, meaning UK consumers could face a reduction in speed and network reliability
Notes to editors:
Members of the Motion Picture Association (MPA) – the six major US motion picture studios: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Paramount Pictures Corporation, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc., Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Universal City Studios LLC and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Netflix is credited with reducing copyright infringement in the US. Netflix recently launched in all 43 Latin American countries because it could readily obtain the necessary licences. It has chosen Spain rather than the UK for its EU launch next year because it was easier to obtain the copyright licences it needed.
This link provides further information on the Competition Commission’s investigation into “Movies on Pay TV”.