The vast majority of the Internet procures their illegally downloaded media from BitTorrent. Recent software such as Popcorn Time seek to streamline the process for users to quickly and painlessly watch movies, TV shows, and the like.

Usenet, the Internet discussion system predating the world-wide-web, has become a stronghold in modern times for all sorts of copyright-infringing content. Unlike its P2P counterpart, Usenet has largely avoided the scourge of litigation that often plagues torrenters and trackers, but that does not mean rightsholder groups are completely ignoring it.

The German anti-piracy group and music collecting society GEMA has announced that it has been the recipient of a court injunction which dictates that Usenet access provider UseNeXT must undertake steps to prevent the distribution of GEMA songs or be liable for the copyright infringement that takes place.

Many Usenet providers take an active role in preventing copyright infringement on their servers. While most abide by takedown notice from rightsholders, some have an automatic takedown policy in effect allowing rightsholders to eradicate content instantaneously.

While the details of the injunction have not been made public, it sets a powerful precedent that states that Usenet providers may be liable for the infringement taking place on behalf of their users.

Although many issues related to copyright infringement online may be alleviated by record companies and movie studios taking efforts to move beyond archaic business models that emphasize oftentimes large prices coupled with exclusivity of content, they still choose to pursue litigation against providers and users alike. Studies have shown that pirates on average purchase more music than non-filesharers, yet the demonization of those who simply seek entertainment goes on.

This precedent may or may not have a huge effect on the future of Usenet — only time will tell. What is certain is that the landscape of Usenet may be changing in the next few years, as efforts to attenuate piracy on Usenet may lead to more decisions like this.

(Image Credit Irish Typepad, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

(via TorrentFreak)