Newzbin, a popular search engine that indexes usenet content for paying members, was found liable for copyright infringement by Britain’s High Court, concluding a lawsuit brought by the Motion Picture Association.
The LA Times reports that "the judge’s ruling went to an unusual extent in finding that the defendant not only encouraged users to infringe, but actually authorized the illegal activity and made bootlegs available to its members. And while the court stopped short of banning the technology used by Newzbin, it appears poised to require the company to filter its search results to exclude the studios’ movies."
British tech news site The Register says that the MPA is not planning to use the court victory as a springboard from which to challenge other search engines, and cites a statement from an MPA spokeswoman as saying that "this verdict confirms that such websites have a duty of care to prevent the availability of illegal content on their websites."
Many search engine optimization (SEO) experts, while condemning the practice of illegal file sharing, have publicly voiced concerns that this and other recent court rulings against file sharing services could produce a chilling effect on web traffic.