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.
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.
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. "
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.