I've checked from four different ISPs in three worldwide locations. It appears as though Newzbin, subject of a blocking order against UK ISPs British Telecom and Sky, has disappeared from the newzbin.com domain.
Visitors worldwide are greeted with the message:
I'm not sure at this stage whether Newzbin has closed or simply moved domain. My money's on the latter, but cross-jurisdictional action brought against Megaupload execs and Richard O'Dwyer - all now facing extradition to the US on copyright charges - might just have worried the site owners enough to give up.
The site is no longer at this location.
The closure raises interesting questions about the current blocking orders and the ongoing court action to force other ISPs to block Newzbin, if the site no longer hosts infringing content.
We know Sky and BT are currently subject to a court order to block Newzbin, although the Sky court order hasn't yet been published. I have a court reference (HC11 C04368) for the Sky order so am confident one exists.
If the domain no longer hosts infringing content, will the existing order be quashed or modified?
As for ongoing moves to force other ISPs to block Newzbin, Will Tovey noticed an application listed in the High Court under Twentieth Century Fox v Talk Talk.
My sources at Talk Talk were tight lipped, saying that Talk Talk weren't due to appear or submit in relation to this listing, and their primary interest was "to ascertain there was an infringement finding", which doesn't make too much sense given a March 2010 finding against Newzbin, and subsequent rulings in July and October 2011 relating to the order against BT.
I previously blogged concerns that the attempt to block Newzbin as it rattles its way through a range of IP addresses has a legal process to add IP addresses to the pool, but not remove them, potentially leading to legitimate sites inheriting an IP address formerly used by Newzbin being blocked.
I've since been tipped by ISP sources that both BT and Sky are now using a slightly different method of blocking which doesn't strictly follow the "Cleanfeed" approach described by Justice Arnold in paragraph 6 of his October ruling.
I haven't confirmed this on either ISP, but I'm told there is now a 3-stage process, which starts with DNS poisoning of the domain name Newzbin.com, with additional IP address re-routing and then filtering as per the October ruling.
If this unconfirmed report is true, DNS poisoning means anyone using their ISPs default DNS servers will find a request to resolve the domain name newzbin.com will return the IP address of their ISPs own filtering server instead of the actual IP address.
If Newzbin have moved domain rather than given up altogether, this DNS filtering could be behind the move.
I also find it strange that Newzbin have survived on a .com address without being shut down by the ongoing US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operation in our sites. The threat of domain confiscation coupled with the jurisdictional claim that those using a .com address can be extradited for trial in a US court make use of a .com by contentious websites quite unattractive.