British Record Industry Wants ISPs to Cut Off File Sharers

Ratcheting up in its ongoing campaign against illegal file sharing, theBritish Phonographic Industry on Monday sent a letter to Internet service providersTiscali andCable & Wireless requesting that they suspend 59 Internet accounts used for the purpose. I

Until now, the BPI has concentrated its efforts on individual uploaders, pursuing legal action against 139 alleged offenders. Courts ruled in favor of the BPI in the four cases it heard. More than 110 uploaders chose to settle out of court, paying amounts of up to Pounds 6,500 (US$8,278) to dismiss the cases.

“We have demonstrated in the courts that unauthorized file sharing is against the law,” said BPI Chairman Peter Jamieson. “We have said for months that it is unacceptable for ISPs to turn a blind eye to industrial-scale copyright infringement. We are providing Tiscali and Cable & Wireless with unequivocal evidence of copyright infringement via their services. It is now up to them to put their house in order and pull the plug on these people.”

Axe to the Root

The BPI retains the right to pursue cases against individual uploaders. It is employing a new strategy with the move against ISPs, blaming them for failing to take effective steps to stop illegal file sharing. BPI executives believe targeting ISPs will allow the record industry to deal with a greater volume of cases more quickly and efficiently.

The BPI used the unauthorized file sharing networks in order to gather evidence. Whenever an individual uses a file sharing network, the unique IP address for the Internet account being used at that time is exposed. The BPI is able to identify from the IP address which ISP provides the service. However, only the ISP can link an individual to an IP address.

Enforcing Terms of Use

The BPI has identified 17 Tiscali IP addresses and 42 Cable & Wireless IP addresses that have been used to upload significant quantities of music owned by BPI members. It is requesting that the ISPs suspend the accounts of the 59 individuals until they sign formal agreements to stop unauthorized file sharing.

“Both Tiscali and Cable & Wireless state in their terms of use for subscribers that Internet accounts should not be used for copyright infringement. We now invite them to enforce their own terms of use,” BPI General Counsel Roz Groome said.

Doing the Right Thing

Richard Doherty, an analyst at Envisioneering Group, likens the illegal file sharing issue to drug trafficking in an alley. If a landlord has two buildings, and drug dealers are doing business in his alley, then the community is going to look to the landlord to take measures to secure the location.

“In this case, the alley is the conduits of the major ISPs, cable and wireless, and telcos in the UK,” Doherty told TechNewsWorld. “You have to find who is responsible for the illegal trafficking of digital music and video. ISPs are in the best position to do it, because they can determine the IP addresses. Making the ISPs more responsible sometimes takes an outside nudge.”

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