Feeds

BT starts threatening music downloaders with internet cut-off

BPI wins another ISP ally

Boost IT visibility and business value

Updated BT, the UK's largest broadband provider, has begun threatening subscribers with disconnection from the internet if it is told they are sharing copyright music over peer-to-peer networks, The Register has learned.

The firm recently sent an email to one of its four million retail broadband customers, who asked not to be named, alleging that she had illegally participated in a network sharing of Biology, a song by Girls Aloud.

The email reproduces evidence collected by the BPI. It purports to show she used the open source filesharing program Ares in May this year to infringe sound recording copyright. Ares can be used as a client for both Gnutella and BitTorrent networks.

Geoff Taylor, chief of UK record industry trade body the BPI, told The Register in a statement today: "Establishing partnerships with ISPs is the number one issue for the BPI, and we are beginning to form positive working relationships with BT, Virgin Media and most of the other major ISPs."

It's unclear whether BT has agreed to formally implement the record industry's preferred "three strikes" procedure that would see those accused of infringing music copyright warned twice and suspended or disconnected from the internet.

Taylor continued: "Everyone agrees on where we need to be, and we are working closely with our colleagues across the music community, the more progressive ISPs, and government to get us there."

BT said: "We don't comment on commercial relationships and communications with individual customers." A spokesman said BT broadband customers who are infringing copyright over peer-to-peer networks can expect a similar threat if the BPI provides evidence against them.

Accusations and evidence

The BPI evidence BT shared with its customer consists of the Ares user agent, a timestamp, a file name and an IP number. BT's letter, from a member of its "Customer Security Team" states: "I have received a complaint regarding one of our customers offering copyrighted material over the internet. On investigation, I have found that your account was used to make this offer."

Collecting this kind of evidence does not require ISPs to monitor their customers' internet connection. BPI investigators are simply able to collect lists of IP numbers participating in copyright-infringing peer-to-peer networks and trace which operator they belong to. Assuming the ISP has agreed to do so, it can then identify the individual account holder without sharing personal information with the BPI.

Committed downloaders are able to take technical counter-measures to dodge detection, but the record industry is hoping to win back the mass market - it knows the hardcore are lost for good.

The BT letter goes on to threaten that if the customer continues to fileshare illegally, her broadband account will be shut down: "Sorry, but we're obliged to point out that further similar problems may have to lead to the termination of your account, as such activity contravenes BT's Acceptable Use Policy." It recommends that she ensure her Wi-Fi connection is secure, remove all filesharing software from her computer, and pass the warning on to the rest of her household.

In the BPI letter forwarded to the customer by BT, the trade body says it will look out for further illegal filesharing on her account. "If further evidence is obtained of infringement via your internet connection," it writes, "then further action is likely to be taken against you. That action may include litigation against you, as well as the suspension by BT of your internet connection."

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives
Department of Transportation starts cogs turning for another wireless comms standard
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.