Recording Industry Asks ISPs To Shut Down Accounts Of File Sharers

from the will-they-have-any-customers-left? dept

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI, the UK equivalent of the RIAA) apparently is taking a slightly different position on going after people who share unauthorized files online. Rather than suing them, they're now presenting evidence to ISPs and asking those ISPs to cancel user accounts for breaking the ISPs' terms of service. This actually seems like a fairly reasonable policy, so long as they don't demand that the ISP automatically remove these users. It certainly beats suing everyone for thousands of dollars and suggesting they drop out of school to pay. There's nothing wrong with giving the ISP evidence and then letting the ISP investigate, as long as they also give the user a chance to make his or her case in response as well. If the customer is actually breaking the terms of service, then its fair game for the ISP to decide how to deal with that subscriber. The BPI, though, suggests in the article that the evidence they've given the ISP is "unequivocal," which is hard to believe given the number of false accusations the industry has made -- and the important fact that an IP address does not identify a specific user. So what will be most interesting is seeing how the industry responds if the various ISPs don't follow their marching orders and shut these accounts down.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2006 @ 9:53pm

    Re: And what about...

    Are you really dumb enough to believe that your TOS agreement does not include language stating that you are not permitted to share your connection with "external" users outside of your immediate family?

    This is the brilliance of this particular campaign. The content owner does not need to try to sue a user, it simply leans on the ISP. In the US the ISP is trying to maintain its "safe harbor" status with regards to the DMCA; it is obligated to investigate and shut down the user if the evidence holds up, failing to do so shifts the liability for illegal action to include the ISP.

    Your TOS basically says that you are responsible for all packets that originate at your side of the demarc and the ISP really doesn't care what your excuse is if these packets are participating in illegal activity.

    You weren't wrongfully screwed, you were either an idiot, a gullible moron, or an asshat and any of these classifications are sufficient justification for the ISP to decide that they no longer want you as a customer.

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