As we reported on Monday, the Newzbin trial resumed this week; what we didn't expect was for it all to be over by the end of play Wednesday! Newzbin released a statement early this morning:
The trial restarted on the Tuesday the 2nd March and finished yesterday the third. It's always difficult trying to guess what a judge is thinking as his questions and comments, where probing of either parties submissions, may be no more than professionally required scepticism. Nonetheless, here is our guess.
Our hunch is that they will fail on some of their assertions but will probably win on others. They may not be able to prove damage or loss from copying, but they may convince the court we have facilitated others in obtaining their works.
If they win then, as we said in a previous news story, Newzbin will not be shut down. In all probability there will be 'enquiry as to damages' (the legal expression) and a new mini-trial over the terms of an injunction compelling us to block material of the Claimants. For example we may be required to develop filter mechanisms. At the moment we remain unfiltered and we would fight for the current notice and take down system that we already use. Again this is just our best guess and we may be well wide of the mark.
The second point is user privacy. One thing the Claimants did complain about was that Newzbin "deliberately arranged it's systems so that no user details were available: even if we got an Anton Pillar there would be nothing to seize as no logs were kept". They were correct on that. No user needs worry about their privacy being violated by logs. Equally, since the site has lawful non-infringing use (our hunch is that the judge accepted our arguments on this: he seemed receptive to our submission that GPL, Creative Commons & non-copyright works were on the Indexes) a mere membership of Newzbin proves nothing against any user: the Claimants didn't contend this anyway.
They finish off by saying:
We don't know when judgement will be handed down but our guess is very shortly before or after Easter. We will let you know.
As will we; this is a landmark case for not just the Usenet industry but search engines as a whole and we avidly wait the response from Lord Kitchin.