Newzbin2, the illegal file-sharing site that was banned in the UK last year following legal action by the Motion Picture Association (MPA), has been forced to close its doors for good.
According to a notice on the Newzbin website, a number of factors – including poor indexing of Usenet, poor numbers of reports and unstable servers – have made closure the only option.
“Newzbin2 was always hoped to be a viable underground commercial venture. The figures just don't stack up,” a notice on the site read.
“Newzbin1 was said to have had 700,000 registered users. In fact that was the total number of people who ever signed up in the history of Newzbin from 2000 onwards & only a fraction were active, loads of people dropped out & went to other sites.
“We reckon they had about 100,000 users and of those only a few 10's of thousands paid premium topups. That still made good money for the Newzbin1 guys. We never quite got the trust and lots of people said 'Newzbin2 is an MPA trap', that stung us bad and we never got the userbase back.”
Site administrators estimate that Newzbin2 now only has about 40,000 active users and the number of premium users is in the small thousands. It therefore costs much more to run than it brings in.
“To make things worse all our payment providers dropped out or started running scared. The MPA sued Paypal are going at our innocent payment provider Kthxbai Ltd in the UK. Our other payment provider has understandably lost their nerve.”
The result of this is that Newzbin2 has no more payment providers to offer and no realistic means of taking money.
The notice adds: “The tragedy is this: unlike Newzbin1 we are 100% DMCA compliant. We have acted on every DMCA notice we received without stalling or playing games: if there was a DMCA complaint the report was gone. Period. That was a condition of our advertising & payment partners so we complied but we never got a single complaint from the MPA. Not one.”
Commenting on the news, Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group, said that web blocking is a blunt instrument and a dangerous practice.
“Newzbin were rightly pursued through the courts and found to be encouraging infringement. That is the right approach,” said Killock.
“However, censorship and block orders are disturbing and we think unnecessary given the success in tackling the businesses and payment mechanisms involved.
“We wish copyright owners the best in enforcing their rights and building their businesses, but urge them not to resort to further requests for censorship.”
Newzbin2 said that it would not be back as a search service, but might run a blog from the same site at some point in the future.