Newzbin trial resumes today after 3 week break - What will happen to all that user data if they lose?

Three weeks ago the Newzbin trial against the MPAA was adjourned so that Newzbin could seek extra legal counsel. The trial resumes today (Tuesday 2nd March) but still does not have an ETA of when it will come to an end; or indeed, if a verdict will even be passed at the end.

There has some been quite some discussion surrounding the issue on the various comment threads across the Newzbin site, many asking questions like "What will happen if Newzbin loses?" and "What data will they get if you lose?".

Newzbin posted this update about 2 weeks ago:

For those of you worrying about it the case is due to resume on the 2nd March. We are much buoyed by our position despite some hiccups earlier on in the trial. The extra counsel are providing useful additional horsepower and we are confident that we will prevail.

Some people have speculated that if we lose we may be closed down, but even the MPA isn't arguing for that: what's being debated is the manner in which we operate not whether we operate. You can be assured that the Newzbin will go on in a form you will continue to find useful, though there may need to be adjustments depending on the judgement.

The message we want you to take away is that, win or lose, you can be confident that the site is here to stay in the long term.

What they're basically saying here is that the argument is over whether or not editors can "collect" posts into groups and label them as copyrighted content, the MPA have not gone after a take down order for the site as a whole and as such the raw header search will not be affected by the verdict and will live on long after the trial. While we're on that topic, Newzbin have been working on a free-to-use indexer which is available at http://v4.newzbin.com/; while it cannot create NZBs yet - is this a sign of what's to come post trial? Back to the days of relying on the raw headers containing the keywords needed to find them!

As mentioned, there was also a lot of (understandable) worrying going on throughout the Newzbin user base about exactly what data Newzbin holds on an individual and also whether there is a chance that data will end up in the MPA's hands. Newzbin posted this response to those worries just last week:

Some subscribers are a little concerned about privacy in the light of the current litigation so to put their minds at rest we thought we would explain what the privacy implications are of our logs.

We are currently keeping webserver logs for a period which is sufficient to allow us to defend ourselves against web attacks. However we cannot tell from our logs what NZBs you have downloaded. At all. If we can't do this then neither can any complainant with access to our logs. Furthermore we rotate old logs so that they are deleted.

No request has been made for our logs during the discovery phase of litigation and due to the nature of the legal process that request would have to have been made a long time ago: it wasn't. They cannot now, legally, have it; and moreover they dont actually seem that interested either. The fact is this: they are gunning for Newzbin not you.

Bottom line: We cannot tell anyone what NZBs you have been using whether those are for Linux distros, porn or just embarrassing lawful material. Don't worry.

To us, this sounds like a very respectable privacy policy, especially for a company in a situation like this. We'll be following the trial throughout the week, keep reading.

djm posted by djm
This entry was posted in Industry News and tagged court, legal, mpaa, newzbin, nzb-sites, uk-law, usenet-indexing. Leave a comment. Header image by SaffyH

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