Piracy site Newzbin2 closes for good

Newzbin2, a site offering links to pirated content, hit the headlines back in November 2011 when a successful court case brought by the Motion Picture Association led to it being blocked by a number of major ISPs in the UK, including BT, Virgin Media, Sky, and TalkTalk.

The website responded in bullish fashion by rolling out an encrypted software client to circumvent the ban and switching to a Spanish domain to avoid the threat of domain seizure, but the adverse publicity meant that payment providers were unwilling to work with the site, leaving the owners unable to pay the hosting costs. Despite this, Newzbin2 struggled on, offering an increasingly unreliable service, until today when it finally closed for good.

As I live in the UK, and my ISP blocks Newzbin2, I can’t view the closure statement on the front page directly, but it reads as follows:

It is with regret that we announce the closure of Newzbin2.

A combination of several factors has made this the only option. For a long time we have struggled with poor indexing of Usenet, poor numbers of reports caused by the majority of our editors dropping out & no-one replacing them. Our servers have been unstable and crashing on a regular basis meaning the NZBs & NFOs are unavailable for long periods and we don't have the money to replace them.

Newzbin2 was always hoped to be a viable underground commercial venture. The figures just don't stack up. Newzbin1 was said to have had 700,000 registered users. In fact that was the total number of people who ever signed up in the history of Newzbin from 2000 onwards & only a fraction were active, loads of people dropped out & went to other sites. We reckon they had about 100,000 users and of those only a few 10's of thousands paid premium topups. That still made good money for the Newzbin1 guys. We never quite got the trust and lots of people said "Newzbin2 is an MPA trap", that stung us bad and we never got the userbase back. We don't have much more than about 40000 active users and the number of premium users is in the small thousands. It costs much more to run than we bring in, It just doesn't stack up.

To make things worse all our payment providers dropped out or started running scared. The MPA sued PayPal and are going at our innocent payment provider Kthxbai Ltd in the UK. Our other payment provider has understandably lost their nerve. Result? We have no more payment providers to offer & no realistic means of taking money (no, Bitcoin isn't credible as it's just too hard for 90% of people).

The tragedy is this: unlike Newzbin1 we are 100% DMCA compliant. We have acted on every DMCA notice we received without stalling or playing games: if there was a DMCA complaint the report was gone. Period. That was a condition of our advertising & payment partners so we complied but we never got a single complaint from the MPA. Not one.

Will we be back? not as a search service but we might run a blog from this site at some point.

Christine Payne chairwoman of the Creative Coalition Campaign, which represents groups such as the MPA, welcomed the closure of the site saying: "This is great news. Pirate websites should not be allowed to trade as this undermines the ability of legitimate businesses to recoup their considerable investment and threatens jobs in the creative sector."

Photo Credit: jörg röse-oberreich/Shutterstock

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