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BPI Requests ISPs Suspend Suspected Filesharers 224

MartinJW writes "The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) has written to two of the UKs larger ISPs, Tiscali and Cable & Wireless, asking them to suspend the accounts of 59 users they have identified as 'illegal file sharers.' The BPI says they have 'unequivocal evidence' of IP addresses that were used to upload 'significant quantities' of music. Although the IP addresses were used to identify the ISPs involved, the providers are the only people able to identify the exact individuals responsible. This marks a significant change in the BPI's tactics; previously they have targeted individuals but it seems that they are now taking it one step further and requesting the ISPs take decisive action to uphold the terms in their own 'acceptable use policies.'"
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BPI Requests ISPs Suspend Suspected Filesharers

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  • by arkhan_jg ( 618674 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @02:59AM (#15696249)
    There's no blank media tax in the UK as far as I'm aware, it's one of the few countries in the EU that doesn't have one.
  • by arkhan_jg ( 618674 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:07AM (#15696270)
    The BPI have sued some people in the UK for copyright infringement, it's at the bottom of the FA.

    "BPI has taken legal action in 139 filesharing cases. The four that have gone to court have produced verdicts in BPI's favour, while 111 individuals have settled out of court."

    Remember, the RIAA and BPI are just the legal mouthpieces of the major international record labels. Anything they do, they do at the behest of:

            * Universal Music Group ($7 billion revenue), which includes A&M, Decca/London, Deutsche Grammophon, Geffen, Interscope, Island Def Jam, Motown, Philips, Rampagge, Universal, and others;
            * Sony BMG Music Entertainment ($5 billion), which includes: Arista, (American) Columbia, Epic, J, Jive, LaFace, Ravenous, RCA and others;
            * EMI Group ($4 billion), which includes Angel, Blue Note, Capitol, European Columbia, Elektrola, Odeon, Parlophone, Pathé Marconi, Positiva, Virgin and others;
            * Warner Music Group (a.k.a. WEA) ($2.5 billion), which includes Asylum, Atlantic, Elektra, Erato, Heiress, Reprise, Rhino, Rykodisc, Sire, Sub Pop (49% Warner ownership), and others.

    Let this inform your music purchasing choices appropriately.
  • by arkhan_jg ( 618674 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:16AM (#15696290)
    The way this works, the BPI is asking the ISP's to enforce their Acceptable Use Policies. Since the AUP's UK users agree to are pretty draconian in order to get internet access, the ISP has the right to terminate our accounts at any time based upon breach of them. Of course, the ISP's don't actually monitor the traffic as such, because then they might be expected to catch all of the dodgy traffic going across their wires.

    So in effect, the BPI are doing the same thing that anti-spammers do; ask the ISP to enforce their existing contract terms with the user, and terminate it for 'abuse'.

    Once the contract is terminated, then the ISP is done. No further action would be taken by the ISP, so the courts don't get involved. Of course, the customer could start a civil suit against the ISP for breach of contract (good luck with that!), or breach of EU data privacy laws if the ISP handed personally identfying info over the BPI without a court-order. Note, I'm not a solicitor, so the previous paragraph could be complete rubbish, but it's how I understand it.

    The BPI are a trade organisation, like the RIAA; no government powers at all. They have to go to court to pursue civil cases, or ask the police to investigate criminal cases, just like everyone else. This however is just one company asking another to enforce their contract against a 3rd party, i.e. the users. No doubt the ISP's will jump through hoops to do it though, they've not got a great history of standing up for their users against accusations that may or may not be true.
  • Not correct (Score:3, Informative)

    by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:21AM (#15696303)
    In many EU country, you cannot refuse to serve somebody on ground of gender, disablities, religion or race, nationality (well I should say skin color since the concept of race for human is blatantly bunk). There are naturally a few exception (like where serving a disabled person where it would be impossible to ensure their security or would be contrary to the purpose of the service), but the law is quite clear on that point. And I think the anti segregation law are the same in the US (feel free to correct me on that one). So yes, *NO* private business offering a service to the public have a right to refuse service for those reason. No granted they can come up with anything else : financial reason for example, or that you have an obnoxious attitude degrading the quality of service to other client. But bottom line, your "for any reason (despite.... tell you)" is bunk.
  • by arkhan_jg ( 618674 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:29AM (#15696316)
    A private business has every right to refuse service to anyone, for any reason ( despite what the equal rights groups may tell you ).

    Under UK and EU law, you're entirely wrong. You cannot refuse service based on race, sex, age, disability and now I believe religion - based upon the Race Relations Act, Disability Discrimination Act and Equal Opportunities Act.

    'Needing my internet fix' however, I believe doesn't fall under any protected class at this time.
  • by brunos ( 629303 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:56AM (#15696363)
    About 4 years ago, I was working in quite a large company that had many online shops all over the world. We had two connections to BT. One day they did not work anymore, we checked the equipment, all was OK, we phoned BT and they said that we had payd in time and that there was no problem at all. This basically took a lot of our servers down, and we lost a lot of money. The next day, whe phoned BT again and asked what had happened, and they told us that someone had posted a file to a newsgroup, and therefore they disconnected us. (The file in question was a BSD package). So a stupid employee at these companies can really do some damage without a proper legal procedures.
  • by dteichman2 ( 841599 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:57AM (#15696365) Homepage
    In the US, our ISPs aren't supposed to filter or block anything, at all. It's what allows them to stay neutral parties. Does the UK have anything similar?
  • by MadMoses ( 151207 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @04:15AM (#15696392) Homepage
    Here's an easy way to figure out if an album is a release...

    from a BPI label:
    BPI Radar []

    from a RIAA label:
    RIAA Radar []

    I haven't used the BPI one yet, but I use RIAAradar all the time. My advice, for what it's worth, is to support the independant labels by buying their stuff. On the other hand, if you want a physical copy of a RIAA/BPI album, consider buying it used.
  • by Pofy ( 471469 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @04:28AM (#15696415)
    The other countries in EU that doesn't have any such tax or levy are Ireland, Malta, Cyprus and Luxembourg. On the other hand, in UK, Ireland and Malta there is really no allowance for private copies at all with the exception of things such as time shifting. Which means Luxembourg and Cyprus is about the only place in EU were you are both free to make various private copying and avoid paying such taxes or levys on media or equipments.

    Here is a link to a document I found the information above, it holds quite a lot of information:

    (Stakeholder Consultation on Copyright Levies in a Convergin World) docs/levy_reform/stakeholder_consultation_en.pdf []
  • by asuffield ( 111848 ) <> on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @04:32AM (#15696422)
    An end of a contract happens all the time, you can end your contract with your employer if you don't like your work, the other way around, etc. etc

    Under UK law, an employer CANNOT end your contract if they "don't like your work". They have to prove (before the unfair dismissal tribunal that is now almost inevitable) that you are incompetant, acting in bad faith, or that they have made a determined effort to explain why they don't like you and to get you to change your behaviour. The employee is free to leave, but the employer can't do anything without a good reason.

    Short of willful destructive behaviour (calling the customer a faggot), genuine inability to perform the task (hired as a software developer but doesn't know how to write code), or continued disobedience (you were told in writing not to wear fishing waders to work but continued anyway), it's almost impossible to fire somebody.

    UK companies very rarely fire people nowadays. Instead, they either engage in 'constructive downsizing' (where you fire x% of the least productive parts of your workforce to cut costs, but can't show favouritism), or they approach the problematic employee and offer them three months salary if they'll resign now and not come back. Most employees are willing to be paid off, especially since it guarantees them a decent reference (you can't give somebody a bad reference unless you fired them - more laws about that stuff).

    UK law is often like this. It only recognises free contracts between equals. Two citizens are equals and can form any contract they like; a corporate entity and a citizen are probably not equals, the corporation is probably dictating the terms of the contract, so there are lengthly and complicated restrictions on what they can and cannot do, plus a truly immense quantity of case law about how that contract is to be interpreted.

    I don't believe there is much precedent in the field of ISP AUPs, they're quite a recent invention that isn't quite the same as anything else. Courts could go either way on this, but it's entirely plausible under UK law that a court would reject a clause saying that the ISP could cancel the customer's account at whim. If this happened, and the customer can show actual damages as a result of their account being terminated (lost mail, websites offline, etc) then the court would almost certainly order the ISP to pay for it all. To the best of my knowledge there hasn't been a significant case like this yet, so this is rather speculative - but I don't think anybody in the UK legal industry would be particularly surprised by either outcome. Could go either way. IANAL, TINLA, etc.
  • by irw ( 204684 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @04:52AM (#15696467)

    Under UK law, an employer CANNOT end your contract if they "don't like your work".

    Correct, but note that the Right not to be unfairly dismissed has a qualifying period, during which any dismissal is considered fair,

    Employment Rights Act 1996 [] (two years) reduced to one year by Statutory Instrument 1999/1436 [] sections 2-4.

  • Re:Unequivocal? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @05:42AM (#15696568)
    Which makes one wonder how they know someone has uploaded "a lot".

    Well, you could simply download a lot from them, making a note of their IP address. Any IP that uploads more than X to you, you go after.

    Yes, a lot of them will be dynamic IPs, in which case the ISP can simply reply to that effect and that's the end of it. However, a lot of people have static IP addresses - I've had one for about 5 years now at no extra cost, and a lot of ISPs hand them out either by default or on request, often for free.

    Short of breaking down doors and confiscating PCs, there's not a lot they can do. The law gives them the right to protect their copyrights, you can hardly blame them for trying to do so. At least they're not just blanket suing people (at the moment...)

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982