British ISPs forced to reveal customers' personal data

Summary:British ISPs are being forced to hand over the details of customers accused of copyright infringment after a High Court victory for the BPI

Trade association The British Phonographic Association (BPI) which last week vowed to bring 28 illegal music uploaders to justice, has secured a High Court action to force the internet service providers to come up with the identities of the alleged offenders.

The court action gives the ISPs 14 days to reveal the song-swappers' details, including names and addresses, so the BPI can start to take action against them.

Initially, the organisation will write to the 28, setting out how they have allegedly contravened copyright law and offer them the chance to settle out of court.

In approving the order, Justice Blackburne said: "On the face of it this appears to be a powerful case of copyright infringement."

A spokesman for the Internet Service Providers Association said he expects the 14-day deadline to supply the information to be met by the association's members. "I don't know anyone who is looking to challenge it... I don't know any ISP who are up in arms about this," he said.

He added, however, that the High Court order was necessary as ISPs can't give out users' details "willy nilly" and legal processes have to followed.

The BPI has also announced that it has taken action against download site Jetgroove.com. The site had posted 50,000 songs without the permission of the copyright holders but claimed that it would pay royalties on the songs.

Following a cease-and-desist order from the BPI and the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry), the tracks have been removed but the two bodies will continue to monitor the site.

Figures from the IFPI reveal the amount of legal recorded music sold rose by 1.7 percent in the first half of this year.

Topics: Government : UK

About

Jo Best has been covering IT for the best part of a decade for publications including silicon.com, Guardian Government Computing and ZDNet in both London and Sydney.

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