Official comment from Newzbin admin Caesium on Newzbin's demise and the source code theft

// 21st May '10 Official comment from Newzbin admin Caesium on Newzbin's demise and the source code theft

Let's jump straight in, hot of the press from deepsharer: this is an official comment from ex-Newbin owner, Caesium (Chris).

OFFICIAL PERSONAL STATEMENT OF ‘Caesium’ Chris Elsworth Ex-owner/director of Newzbin Ltd /


21st May 2010

There’s a lot of questions being asked of me in the last few days, many of which I simply can’t answer either through legal responsibilities or because I plain out just don’t know. So here I will set out what I do know and what I’m allowed to say.

The Newzbin site is not coming back under my control. I have no further interest in Usenet indexing sites. The legal proceedings over the last two years, which I will admit the Newzbin team fucked up pretty badly with, has drained all my remaining motivation for either resurrecting Newzbin now it’s gone, or starting a new site at all. The final reason Newzbin actually closed its doors because it went into liquidation in order to pay the MPA costs. Companies are not allowed to carry on trading while in liquidation proceedings. The Newzbin source code is in the wild. Someone has it. I don’t know who, and I don’t know what they’re going to do with it, and I don’t really much care. Best of luck to them, it won’t be competing with anything I choose to do in future.

Don’t ask me to share the Newzbin source with you, it is not mine to share. Control of Newzbin Ltd was transferred away from me (because I sold it. not by force) in January 2010 and with it, all my rights to the source code and servers etc etc. Whoever obtained it didn’t get it through me – how did they get it? I don’t know.

The NZB specification was on Newzbin servers which are now unavailable and that’s unfortunate. I will ask the new owners of Newzbin’s assets, whoever they might end up being after the liquidation, if it’s possible to re-host the NZB specification and DTD for further development to take place. Coincidentally, today I was made aware of an attempt to re-engineer the NZB specification by adding optional metadata – that’s already been in the official NZB specification for months! Clearly someone doesn’t keep up to date.

Did I get rich from Newzbin? Not really. I made a comfortable living but at the same time I had no job while I was working on Newzbin, so I pretty much think I was entitled to take a decent wage, thanks. Newzbin ate my life for more or less a decade, being one of only three people working fulltime on it, caring for servers, making regular datacentre trips to replace dead disks, lugging heavy servers around, being woken up at all hours by the pager telling me a server was dying, maintaining the accounts, paying VAT returns, playing nicely with the UK taxman, as well as actually writing the site on a near continual basis. Anyone who thought it was easy money is sadly mistaken. Try running a busy site sometime.

If you want a Newzbin refund, you will have to talk to the liquidators, Bennett Verby. Newzbin Ltd is no longer in my control, in fact it’s not even in the control of who I sold it to, so I’m twice removed.

I will remain on #newzbin for the forseeable future, not because I have any part in Newzbin anymore, but because I have plenty of friends there I want to stay in touch with. If you want to come throw abuse that’s where you can find me. As for real life, chances are I’ll go find myself a nice simple sysadmin or coding job where I don’t have to worry about VAT returns or legal challenges. Anyone hiring? ;)

To all previous competitors of Newzbin – best of luck. See you round. Chris

via deepsharer

Well, what's left to say? We wish the best of luck to Caesium and the entire Newzbin team (editors included) in the future. We have been avid users of Newzbin for the past decade and have honestly truly missed the site in the 3 days since its disappearance. Here's hoping we get some clone sites that are run by teams as avid and honest as the ex-Newzbin crew. Leave your respects below, I'm sure the team will read them :)

djm posted by djm
This entry was posted in Industry News and tagged caesium, newzbin. Leave a comment.


  1. scorpioeagle
    Posted May 21st, 2010 at 19:05 p.m.

    Good luck Caesium. I think you did a great job. Thanks for everything. Cheers.

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  2. NM
    Posted May 21st, 2010 at 19:05 p.m.

    An honest statement from Chris, and I hope one people appreciate.

    However you look at it, NewzBin supplied a top level service, once which many people used and enjoyed.

    They'll be missed. Here's to the next contender!

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  3. Absent
    Posted May 21st, 2010 at 19:05 p.m.

    I've just recieved an odd email:

    Hi ex-Newzbin user.

    Lamenting the departed site? Dreading doing Usenet the old skool way? Think the clone NZB sites suck?

    Good news: we are Newzbin Two, and we have glad tidings: NEWZBIN IS BACK! and we are the new management. The crew got most of the original Newzbin source code and the main databases. We loved it too much to let it die.

    The catch? We wont be up for a very short while cos things need to be done. For starters we need a cool domain name; also we need to hack on the code some more to make it run. We are nearly there but it is very complicated. We reckon we'll up very soon.

    So don't drift off to those lame-ass wannabe NZB sites. Hang on for a little longer and the Big Dog will be back. For news keep an eye on these news sites:

    Mr White Team R Dogs/Newzbin2

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  4. Max
    Posted May 21st, 2010 at 19:05 p.m.

    Absent, perhaps you'd be willing to post a screenshot of that email, and the senders address?

    It's definitely exciting news, if true.

    Shame it implies no open sourcing though.

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  5. Absent
    Posted May 21st, 2010 at 20:05 p.m.

    Here's a screenshow:

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  6. scorpioeagle
    Posted May 21st, 2010 at 20:05 p.m.

    I received the same email. In fact, that's what led me to this site.

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  7. Al
    Posted May 21st, 2010 at 20:05 p.m.

    I received an email from Newzbin2 about an hour ago. What is strange is I created another newzbin account about 2-3 months ago and I never received an email for that account.

    Here is the screenshot:

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  8. Absent
    Posted May 21st, 2010 at 19:05 p.m.

    Somewhat concerned about this, they've obviously got the user database. Hope there wasn't credit card information in there.

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  9. NM
    Posted May 21st, 2010 at 19:05 p.m.

    Interestingly, the name ties in to the previous article on the code 'theft':

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  10. Homer
    Posted May 21st, 2010 at 19:05 p.m.

    Hey Chris,

    I've been a Newzbin user for so long I don't really remember when I started to use it: 5 maybe 6 years ago... What I do remember is how it changed the way I dealt with usenet once I subscribed and the huge amount of time I saved thanks to your hard work. So you made a decent living during all those years. Great!!! And honnestly I hope it was more than decent. I wish you the best of luck for the future and thank you so much for the past.


    PS: I received also the odd email from Newzbin2 team. I have some concerns about them having the users credit cards informations...

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  11. dewofo
    Posted May 21st, 2010 at 20:05 p.m.

    Homer, I guess (apart from all the "dankeschoen") this credit card issue is really serious. I'll instruct my bank asap to ignore any "newzbin"-action

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  12. Dragon
    Posted May 21st, 2010 at 20:05 p.m.

    I had 300+ day subscription left BUT I was more than happy with the service and the hours that it saved me. I would have doubled my subscription if it would have saved Newzbin.

    Hope that Chris finds himself a nice cushy job.

    Just a big thanks to him for all of his work over the many years that I was a subscriber

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  13. WillzAloha
    Posted May 22nd, 2010 at 00:05 a.m.

    I hear ya Dragon....I was a 5+ year user and turned on probably 10+ close friends. We were all blown away from this. I know our credit info is safe, which is why we topped off after supplying our cc info every time. I appreciate the newzbin editors and Chris for hooking us up for almost nothing and would have gladly given more if it would have saved them...Aloha Newzbin1, welcoming Newzbin 2.0

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  14. Unknown User
    Posted May 21st, 2010 at 20:05 p.m.

    The best of luck to you, Caesium. Your work and contribution was - and still is - greatly appreciated. You changed the usenet world. The site you run was perfect for lazy bastards like me ;) As a member for 6 years my huge music collection I owe to you. Thanks again for all your hard work. R.I.P. Newvzbin.

    P.S. I also received that email.

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  15. BossC
    Posted May 21st, 2010 at 20:05 p.m.

    Hear, hear!!!!!

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  16. Mr Keys
    Posted May 21st, 2010 at 20:05 p.m.


    I got the email about Newzbin 2 also

    Who Gave Them My Nwzbin sigup address???

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  17. Posted May 22nd, 2010 at 00:05 a.m.

    The main databases were confirmed stolen; this would have included the user database hence how they managed to email the entire ex-Newzbin userbase.

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  18. Bazza
    Posted May 22nd, 2010 at 07:05 a.m.

    I would also like to thank Chris: he, along with the others, provided an excellent, cheap, service which very much eased finding items on the usenet.

    I, personally, am somewhat disappointed that some people are bad mouthing him on some sites, implying a scam, "where's my money" and all the other pretty juvenile posts that emerge from time to time.

    In my view Newzbin was a good job, well done, well supported and worth twice the money.

    Thanks again, Chris. I wish you well for the future.

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  19. C.H.
    Posted May 22nd, 2010 at 09:05 a.m.

    IMO, newzbin always charged too little for their services. I always thought "how can they maintain a sustainable business like this?"

    The answer is, they couldn't.

    I have to wonder if they could have afforded a better legal defense, had they had more money in the bank (through charging higher fees).

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  20. Timothy
    Posted May 22nd, 2010 at 10:05 a.m.

    Thanks for everything! Newzbin was a very clean and well maintained site. No other indexer could touch it.

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  21. Alexander
    Posted May 22nd, 2010 at 15:05 p.m.

    To bad that newzbin is gone, but it is no suprise. As to the NZB specification it is still online in the worlds biggest mirror site GOOGLE CACHE

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  22. Posted May 22nd, 2010 at 16:05 p.m.

    From a greatfull Yank, No Complaints here, great job. Thanks for the service and Good Luck and if I had a business you'all could work for Me anytime!

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  23. feawen
    Posted May 22nd, 2010 at 16:05 p.m.

    All my best wishes for the former crew at newzbin! They did an absolutely fantastic job and provided great service. I agree that perhaps if they'd charged more (I paid $7.50 mon.($US) at Binnews) a better legal defense could've been launched. Binnews is still operating as far as I know -- but without any video content). As for the losers and trolls whining about refunds, these are the same people who used to complain about various uploads and the price of "free." It always amazed me. Usenet has changed over the years unfortunately with more brats yelling gimmee.

    Anyway, Chris... no opologies needed. It was a job well done. You and Newzbin will be missed.

    BTW.. I got the email too.

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  24. Drustan
    Posted May 23rd, 2010 at 02:05 a.m.

    Chris, thanks for everything.

    I wish you all the best in the future, whatever lies ahead.

    I was blown away when I tried to log on and saw that message. Using the raw search was fantastic and I don't know if there is anything else out there that comes near it.

    I know you are distancing yourself to the stolen code but I do believe you were behind it. They may have won Round 1 in court but you were not going to let it die. I know if I cherished a project like you did for so long there is no way I'd walk away from it. I do hope though that the team at part 2 are much the same as you and I get the feeling you have made sure of that.

    Again many thanks for saving me a lot of trouble and time, but its back to old school for me, well for the time being anyways..

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  25. dowzup
    Posted May 23rd, 2010 at 20:05 p.m.

    Thanks for giving way more than I ever felt I was paying for. Happy trails in a nice, relaxing job!

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  26. am3037
    Posted May 24th, 2010 at 03:05 a.m.

    Missing it so much already, good work Caesium.

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  27. Tony
    Posted May 24th, 2010 at 08:05 a.m.

    Such a shame to see it go! can't believe what a difference it made on usenet! been using supersearch on newsleecher and obviously it is pants compared to newzbin!

    Hopefully the return of newzbin2 should be as good!

    All the best!

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  28. zing
    Posted May 24th, 2010 at 12:05 p.m.

    you have clearly sold our information. I hope you get screwed again because of the breaches of the DPA

    How can all these people offer you good will when you have sold us out

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  29. Posted May 24th, 2010 at 12:05 p.m.

    Zing, they didn't sell any of it - it was stolen. Having said that, they have very little data to link it to you - an email address is possible the worst breach, nothing else damaging was stored by Newzbin.

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  30. zing
    Posted May 24th, 2010 at 13:05 p.m.

    "Don’t ask me to share the Newzbin source with you, it is not mine to share. Control of Newzbin Ltd was transferred away from me (because I sold it. not by force) in January 2010 and with it, all my rights to the source code and servers etc etc"

    it was sold not stolen. I do not believe for one minute Caesium has no knowledge of who did this or who has it now. I do not accept his excuses

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  31. dreamon
    Posted Jun 3rd, 2010 at 09:06 a.m.

    yeah..keep on dreaming.. and crying... go to your mama and ask her to change your dipers...

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  32. zing
    Posted Jun 3rd, 2010 at 12:06 p.m.

    a very well thought out and intellectual rebuke there from someone who obviously has the brain the size of a flea

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  33. Posted Jun 3rd, 2010 at 12:06 p.m.

    I'm going to leave dreamon's comment for now but rest assured I will delete crap comments like that on sight in the future. We've somehow managed to keep an intellectual level of debate in the comments so far and it'd be nice to keep it that way.

    If everyone else could take note of that, it'd help.

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Comments are now closed.