This week BT became the first UK internet service provide (ISP) to be forced by a court order to block its customers from accessing a website on grounds of copyright infringement.  The site in question, “Newzbin 2”, indexes pirated films and tv show downloads and was said by the Courts to infringe copyright on a “grand scale”.

The court case which has led to the ban was brought by six of the major film studios against BT and sets an important legal precedent, confirming that rights holders can seek orders of this kind against ISPs as an alternative to taking direct action against the website operators.

The extent to which such website bans will become widespread remains to be seen.  So far it seems that ISPs will require a court order before they will implement a ban, meaning that the procedure is likely to be confined to large scale offenders and copyright owners with deep pockets.

It also remains to be seen how technically effective the ISP’s banning techniques will prove, with reports already emerging that the website operators and users have found workarounds to continuing accessing the site.