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Did 150,000 UK IP addresses really share Ministry of Sound content?
Wednesday 03 November 2010 18:07:08 by Andrew Ferguson

The saga, or soap opera depending on your viewpoint, that is the policing of copyright infringement in the UK continues. After recent leaks of personal data from ACS:Law, BT made a stance asking for guarantees over data security when the Ministry of Sound sought a court order to help them identify the name and address of broadband customers behind a list of some 150,000 UK IP addresses that DigiRights Solutions had compiled. Now it seems that after an earlier agreement by BT to retain some 20,000 customers details, it has now deleted this information citing a policy of deleting this data after 90 days.

With Ministry of Sound now saying it is suspending plans to send warning letters to some 25,000 BT customers, this raises questions about whether the pursuing of individuals accused of file sharing content illegally can continue. It seems not all the users details have been lost, some 20% remain, but the costs that BT is looking to charge for supplying this data has increased from a few thousand pounds to several hundred thousand pounds.

"It is very disappointing that BT decided not to preserve the identities of the illegal uploaders. Given that less than 20% of the names remain and BT costs have soared from a few thousand pounds to several hundred thousand pounds, it makes no economic sense to continue with this application. We are more determined than ever to go after internet users who illegally upload our copyrighted material.

We will be making further applications for information from all ISPs. Every time that a track or album is uploaded to the web it is depriving artists of royalties and reducing the money which we can invest in new British talent."

Ministry of Sound chief executive, Lohan Presencer

There are many questions about the accuracy of the lists that are used to obtain these court orders, but as yet no-one has actually spent the time and money to successfully explore the accuracy in court. One complication is that since any action is a civil matter, absolute proof is not required, simply enough evidence to suggest that the infringement is more likely to have happened than not happened.

Current warning letters for copyright infringement usually offer people the chance to admit to the infringement and pay a settlement figure of several hundred pounds for what they are alleged to have done. A large chunk of this appears to be cost recovery by all the parties involved, with the amount going to the copyright holder being unclear. Things may change once the Digital Economy Act gets up and running, but just like in this Ministry of Sound case the costs of letter writing are very central, with the broadband provider who really has very little to gain from the process being responsible for 25% of the costs.

The Digital Economy Act is meant to provide an appeals process so those receiving the warning letters would be able to appeal, how simple this will be in practice is not known. Hopefully it will be simpler than having to go to the civil court which anyone wanting to challenge the current letters that are sent out has to do. Assuming people do not simply throw the warning letters in the bin, the first real feel for how big an issue copyright infringement really is will be the volume of letters sent out versus how many appeal against them due to mis-identification.


Posted by g-bhxu over 6 years ago
Can't see how there can be any justification for legal action just on the basis an IP address.

Posted by tommy45 over 6 years ago
these scum bag leeches (acs law ect) where not supposed to be personal details until the isp had sent out 3 warning letters to them, what happened to that? as only after the 3 letters had been sent could these leeches request the details,makes me laugh at what they call talent
Posted by JohnUK over 6 years ago
I run an open wi-fi, good luck prosecuting me.
Posted by djfunkdup over 6 years ago
I run an open wi-fi, good luck prosecuting me...
u need to understand you are the one liable for your does not matter if you get your wi-fi used by onother will still be liable as the acc holder..
Posted by djfunkdup over 6 years ago
as far as the main news item here goes.:how long have wee been saying that they are not going to stop file not saying i agree with piracy...but you do have to laugh at how out of touch these dudes are..;)
Posted by djfunkdup over 6 years ago
edit.:you will still be liable as 'you are'the acc holder..
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
piracy is easy to stop, heres how....

1)Update your business model
2)Lower the prices of your products
3)Stop paying your share holders huge amounts of cash.

Since iTunes has offered 80p per track or 7.99 for some albums, i now buy of iTunes and no longer download of the internet. 80p for a song is great in my opinion.
Posted by Firefalcon over 6 years ago
Sounds too much like common sense, Legolash2o.

itunes is horrid IMO though, I hate using it and avoid it like the plague.

I run WEP'd wifi but due to the issue that there are so many devices about in the house I have to us it as some devices don't like higher protections, anyone who can use torrents can crack WEP, so again, doesn't matter if its open at the end of the day it can still be done in and you end up falsely accused.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
as i said iTunes lets be buy a try direct on my phone for 80p, if you know any other iphone apps or sites, then please let me know :)

WEP is better than nothing :) I use WPA2 PSK-Personal, the only device that don't work on it is my Wii.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
"go to the civil court which anyone wanting to challenge the current letters that are sent out has to do"

Actually the regime was better pre-DEA, previously wording a letter correctly would get you off the hook due to lack of evidence on their part.

Now regardless of evidence on their part, you will have to prove you're not guilty, although the worst outcome is a lot less under the DEA.

War is Peace,
Freedom is Slavery,
Ignorance is Strength,
Sharing is Theft.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
That's a good point Firefalcon, even if you use WEP to "secure" your network someone could get on and you could get accused. So how would that work? Would you get pulled up for the insecurities of WEP? Just how far will they go, its just unworkable.
Posted by rian over 6 years ago
I agreed with GMAN99. There are too many way to use others' network. 1. WEP is still a default option for many ISP, I guess it would be so easy for those BackTrack (BT)users to hack into others' network. 2. Even your network is protected by other more secure standard, there are always chances your PC might be infected by virus, trojan,etc. 3. This policy opens a possibility of making money by intentional sharing, copyright owner can in fact share their work through P2P and catch people. So, who can protect us?
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
All those thinking their network is safe by using WPA2-PSK are naive, I've hacked my own router using WEP/WPA/WPA2, cracked it each time.

Albeit using only an 8 character password, using full length just increases the time, max. being ~3 days for a full length completely random passworded WPA2 network.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
With what otester? A dictionary attack if so I can well believe it.

No security is 100% but a good long totally random key i.e


Coupled with other measures will keep you as safe as you can be.
Posted by mabibby over 6 years ago

Somebody has been watching BackTrack tutorials.. lame.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

Not really, 3 days to crack a long password (totally random) with an up-to-date PC.

Best precautions are a totally random long password, login system (like many universities have) and change your login password weekly.


Posted by xb0xguru over 6 years ago
To hold the Wi-Fi owner responsible when WEP/WPA is in place is absurd. Imagine the police prosecuting the owner of a stolen vehicle used in a robbery? "It's your fault, Sir - although the car was locked, it's ultimately your responsibility."
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