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Be Unlimited ISP Mistakenly Accuses User of Piracy

Posted: 22nd May, 2007 By: MarkJ
Thinkbroadband reports that the 24Mbps ADSL2+ offering UK ISP 'Be Unlimited' has incorrectly accused a customer of distributing copyrighted material:

David Berrisford, a customer of Be Unlimited, received an e-mail from the company stating they had received a complaint that he was "suspected of illegally distributing copyrighted material". It included details of the material, date and his IP address. Mr Berrisford became rather concerned when he noted that the alleged distribution had occurred before he was even connected. Having raised the matter to Be's awareness, they acknowledged the information they had provided referred to another customer, but re-iterating there was a flag on his account too, this time providing new evidence:

Infringement Last Documented: 3 Apr 2007 12:52:56 GMT
Infringer Username: Infringing Filename: STARCRAFT.iso
Infringing Filesize: 668266496
Infringer IP Address: 87.194.x.x

Mr Berrisford persisted pointing out that the IP address quoted in the second infringement notice appears to have never been used by him. Finally, Be acknowledged that indeed there had been a mistake and apologised.

These kinds of notices are reportedly not uncommon in the industry, while being a manual process leaves it open to human error. The ISP’s service has also been in hot water recently over flawed router security (here), which could conceivably be manipulated by a remote hacker.

'Be' has since admitted its mistake and moved to prevent it from happening again, but what would have happened had the customer not been knowledgeable enough to spot it? Likewise a suspicious filename (Starcraft is an old Blizzard game) does not necessarily mean that the content itself is also illegal.
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