Downloads search engine Newzbin2, formerly Newzbin, has thrown in the towel. The Usenet-scouring website was the centre of a landmark legal judgment brought by Hollywood studios against BT, which resulted in the website being blocked by UK ISPs for copyright infringement.
Now the operators at newzbin2.es have blamed a variety of factors for closing down the service including lack of funds - the pirates didn't want to pay their bills.
"We don't have much more than about 40,000 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," the operators explained in a note on the site.
Action by creative industry groups against PayPal and other payment processors to cut off newzbin2.es's funding is also blamed with the interesting observation that, "no, Bitcoin isn't credible as it's just too hard for 90 per cent of people".
Usenet was designed for text-only discussions and made its debut in 1980, long before the hoi polloi (us, the paying public) turned up. It supported encoded binaries (typically split into several parts) since the late 1980s. It was once compared to "a herd of performing elephants with diarrhoea. Massive, difficult to redirect, awe-inspiring, entertaining, and a source of mind-boggling amounts of excrement when you least expect it". While it's poorly supported by ISPs today, the volume of traffic using Usenet's Network News Transfer Protocol has quadrupled in recent years.
"Will we be back? Not as a search service but we might run a blog from this site at some point," the site administrators added.
The Newzbin2 judgment achieved further notoriety last year when it transpired the barrister representing Newzbin2 site actually owned 100 per cent of the website. Barrister David Harris claimed not to realise that he owned Newzbin2, and was fined £2,500, and struck off for professional misconduct. ®