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Tiscali Wrongly Threatens to Disconnect Illegal Movie Downloader

Posted: 29th Aug, 2008 By: MarkJ
ISP Freedom2Surf (F2S), which is now a brand of Tiscali UK, reportedly threatened to disconnect one of its broadband customers last week after Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), a well known Hollywood movie studio, lodged a copyright infringement notice with the provider.

Ironically the individual concerned, Euan MacLay, left the provider earlier this year (March) due to concerns over Tiscali's plans to migrate F2S customers onto its somewhat less respectable network. But wait, it gets better!

On 23 August Eaun received an email from abuse@pipex.net, accusing him of illegally downloading an episode of Stargate Atlantis - a sci-fi show he does not watch - via BitTorrent, a filesharing protocol he does not use. Most unlikely of all, the alleged infringement took place on 16 August, almost six months after he had quit F2S.

The email said: "We have received a complaint regarding an allegation of Copyright Infringement. We were supplied an IP address of the system that was sharing the alleged copyrighted material, which we traced to your PIPEX ADSL account... Failure to respond or further infringements will cause your account to be temporarily suspended, and could also result in your account being terminated."

Regular readers of ISPreview will know that such poor administrative gaffs are not uncommon to Tiscali, especially when it comes to billing mistakes and account cancellations that aren’t fully closed, though this one really does take the cake.

Thankfully Tiscali acknowledges that it failed to keep F2S's abuse system list of IP number assignments updated after taking over the provider and has since apologised for the mistake:

"Freedom2Surf apologises for this error. The email was generated by an automatic F2S abuse system managed externally. This system is no longer in place and has very recently been brought in house as part of the integration of Pipex's platforms with Tiscali."

Never the less, this does help to illustrate how such automated systems can easily go wrong and indeed we wouldn't be surprised if other customers had fallen victim to the same cock up. The Register has a FULL COPY of Euan's original warning letter.
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