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Firm says its objective is to help its customers "exploit" their "rights globally"

Here in the U.S. the legal campaigns of the RIAA and MPAA are the subject of long standing controversy.  Decisions like the $1.92M USD verdict against mother Jammie-Thomas Rassert for 24 songs (allegedly representative of large infringement), largely divide the public, with some advocating suing infringers out of house and home and others blasting the tactics as thuggish and evidence of a out-of-touch intellectual property system.

The UK appears headed for more of this kind of controversy, as the law firm ACS:Law just secured approval from the Royal Courts of Justice in London to demand the addresses and personal info on 30,000 users from their internet service providers (ISPs).  The customers covered by the so-called Norwich Pharmacal Order are "suspected"  involvement with the illegal file sharing (P2P) of approximately 291 movie titles.  Of the suspected infringers, 25,000 had IP's with the UK service provider BT.

ACS:Law plans to try to shake down those who may have infringed, sending them threats to pay up or face a battle in court.  Judging by past settlements in the U.S., most of these cases will likely be settled for a few thousand dollars.  The letters do give some suspects an out by saying that if they think their connection was illegitimately reportedly used they can seek a solution, such as implicating possible suspects.  IP addresses are easily faked, hijacked, redirected and generally abused in ways that the systems employed by these kinds of trackers cannot detect.

Copyright protection organizations and their legal bulldogs have recently been particularly at odds with BT.  Their fury was particularly provoked when the UK Internet Service Providers Association which represents the ISP and others in June concluded that they were "not confident in [ACS:Law's] ability to identify [ILLEGAL] users."  ACS:Law fired back that BT was "shameful" for not taking greater action to prevent filesharing.  BT said such actions would violate its users' right privacy.

ACS: Law describes its company's objective, writing, "We are a law firm which specialises in assisting intellectual property rights holders exploit and enforce their rights globally. Illegal file sharing costs the creative industries billions of pounds every year. The impact of this is huge, resulting in job losses, declining profit margins and reduced investment in product development. Action needs to be taken and we believe a coordinated effort is needed now, before irreparable damage is done. "

Britain is home to some of the most aggressive copyright enforcement efforts.  Politicians with the majority Labour Party are looking to terminate filesharers who commit three offenses, forcing their ISPs to suspend their accounts.  British copyright organizations also recently threatened to sue a singing store employee, only to eventually back down.



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By StevoLincolnite on 11/28/2009 12:15:44 AM , Rating: 2
Your not alone, a bunch of Movie and Television companies here banded together to sue our 3rd largest ISP "iiNet". - They want to bring in the 3 strikes policy, personally it wouldn't bother me one bit considering how easy it is to move to another ADSL provider here as most providers re-sell Telstra ADSL anyhow which is available to the majority of people.

However they cannot expect the ISP's to police the Internet, it's just wrong, the Post Office doesn't take responsibility for threat mail sent to you, so why should the ISP?

Not only that, but the 3 strikes policy will be disconnecting users who "Infringed" merely by accusation, sure they recorded your I.P address, big-woop, but how many Open Wireless networks do you see these days!?


By croc on 11/28/2009 4:09:03 AM , Rating: 2
Carriers in AUS, to the best of my knowledge, CANNOT legally do l7 packet inspection on all of it's users for infringing copyright. Differentiated billing, OK, but it takes a court order (warrant) per user to actually collect realtime l7 datastreams. Then you have the problem of de-crypting SSH (or other) protocols to prove infringememt. IINet was picked on, (in my opinion) because it had access to far less legal staff than some of the larger carriers.

I agree with the requirement for warrants, that at least covers the ISP's ass when sued for breach of privacy. If these groups had proof of transgressions, then it is simple. Go to a justice and get a warrant. A warrant per user.


"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins














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