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Court Order Sought from 9 UK ISPs over Illegal Downloads

Posted: 24th Nov, 2008 By: MarkJ
Lawyers for the rights holder of several music tracks, including 'Scooter - Jumping All Over the World', have sought a court order from nine UK ISPs to release the details of customers deemed to be responsible for illegally sharing the copyright content online.

Digiprotect Gesellschaft Zum Schutze Digitale Medien's lawyers have consequently issued warning letters to some of the individuals concerned, threatening High Court legal proceedings unless a fine of £500 is paid within 21 days. The ISPs involved are as follows:

  1. Be Broadband

  2. BT Plc

  3. Easynet Ltd.

  4. Entanet International Ltd.

  5. KCOM Group Plc

  6. Orange Home UK Plc

  7. PlusNet Plc

  8. THUS Plc

  9. Tiscali UK Ltd.
However Lawdit, a site that covers legal news from around the world and offers related lawyer services, has warned that Internet Protocol (IP) addresses alone are a poor method for identify individuals. Only by inspecting the hard drive of the customer's computer could you do this.

For those not in the know, an IP address is assigned to your computer each time you go online. It is a unique online identifier made up of four number groupings (e.g. 123.23.56.98) and allows you to communicate with other computers around the world; not unlike a phone number.

However in the online world IP addresses can easily be faked, hijacked, come from shared public / business networks and or be redirected. This means that the connection owner, who may not be responsible for the actual activity that might not have even have occurred, is the one left exposed.

It is not known how many people have been implicated in the action or how the ISPs themselves have responded, although clearly some of the providers were able to release customer details. We would hope that ISPs attempt to validate whether the data is correct or not first, though in reality that is far from being an easy task.
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