Newzbin has arguably been the "Best" source and index listing of what is posted to BBS Newsgroups around the world. BBS stands for Bulletin Board System and almost every Internet Provider in the entire world provides access to them as part of your Internet package. Whether you're old enough to remember or not, BBS's are the Foundation of the Internet. These are the Original Internet. In many ways this is what the Internet was built on. If you had to compare it to something physical, use this example. You buy some land and build a house. That land is the Earth, your foundation. That land, that Earth, is the BBS system of Newsgroups. It's what the Internet was built on. Think of every website in existence as a "House", sitting on the land. Without getting extremely technical that's the best analogy I can give. It is a flawed analogy, it's not exactly accurate, but it's close enough.
I've been a free member and user of Newzbin for well over the last ten years (No, it's not just for pirates and hackers). in a way you could also compare BBS Newsgroups to MIRC back in the day before ICQ and Yahoo Instant Messenger and Skype. Think of Newzbin as a site that would tell you what everyone was talking about in various channels on MIRC. That's what Newzbin was. You had to either be a paid member of the site or you had to be INVITED by a paid member and were given a basic free membership. It wasn't always "Invite Only", but when they switched to that system everyone had to make new accounts and if you weren't already paid or re-invited you were locked out, sorry about your bad luck. Luckily, as I was a free member, a friend (who was just a random Internet stranger at the time) re-invited me and I was allowed back in.
Some people, namely those who used Newzbin's service, are going to greatly suffer because of this. It was an invaluable tool to help people find needed information quickly and easily. Any information at all from examples such as "Legal Statutes from cases dating back to the Early 19th Century" to "Online Legal Copies of Every Book in the Library of Congress" to "Discussions being held by College Physics Professors" and also "Doctors Sharing Research Up-To-The-Minute". It was as much a listing of communications as these very same forums are. BBS Newsgroups are nothing more then that. People talking back and forth in topics just like this. The exception is back then our ability to post and reply wasn't set up like this, so every post made, whether it be a new topic or a reply to that topic where it's own "Thread". Newzbin helped organize those threads and posts and show you where things were so you could quickly find them.
Sadly how-ever, as with many technological innovations in our day, some people chose to use these for evil purposes. Even though these "Newsgroups" are intended for communication, and to provide a backbone for the rest of the Internet, they are also used to host and share files with limited "retention". Every ISP on the GLOBE must have space on the BBS Newsgroups for their systems to work. I don't know why or how it's set up exactly, I don't work for the cable company so I can't tell you why they even have to be there at all, but they do. More and more ISP's these days Are Limiting or Flat Out DENYING their customers access to these Newsgroups. If your ISP isn't giving you access to them, you're not getting everything you're paying for and you should call them and DEMAND Access as a Paying Customer. Far be it from me to tell you what to do, it's no skin off my shoulder if you enjoy wasting your money, but I know I don't like wasting mine.
When I say some people use Newsgroups and by default the listings on Newzbin for "Evil" I mean piracy of course. Newsgroups go by the more common term Usenet. Still, Newzbin as a website did NOT HOST OR SHARE ANY FILES. All it did was tell people where files were at, in what groups they were listed, and what the file names were. It did this because technically these posts on various Newsgroups were the same as the other topics or "threads" or "conversations", it just so happens some of them are pieces, usually .rar's, of games or movies. The same kinds of things that can be found on any Torrent site.
Newzbin did nothing wrong. People did have LEGITIMATE USES for it, just like they do Fogbugs, or Photobucket, or many other sites. Newzbin was closed because they owe money to people I believe. I didn't know anything about any of this or it's legal trouble before finding THIS ARTICLE when I tried to log-on to Newzbin today.
If you know or heard anything about this or find a site that talks a little more in depth, please let me know as I'd like to find out all I can about it being shut down.
Hopefully some of you out there see this for what it is regardless of what the causes are. Another place being closed because someone thinks they're losing money over piracy and pressured some Government to take action. Newzbin wasn't just a site for pirates or other thieves. It had real value. Eventually, slowing, this is going to turn into a legal and virtual "Witch-hunt" by Governments to shut down more and more sites limiting knowledge and people's freedoms Online.