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UK Gov Publish Guidance for ISP Users Hit by Piracy Letters

PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 6:49 am
by bpaw

The Government’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has today published a very basic piece of new guidance that is designed to help consumers who may have received a letter that accuses them of having shared copyright material online via P2P (BitTorrent) file sharing networks.

A number of organisations send such letters (e.g. GoldenEye, TCYK LLC and Mircom) and they usually do so on behalf of the copyright holders, which is apparently still seen as a viable way of both making money and discouraging future abuse. The practice is so questionable that it’s often described as “Speculative Invoicing“.

Associated organisations usually track the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses that people use on public P2P networks when sharing copyright files and then later submit a Norwich Pharmacal Order (NPO) to a court, which forces the linked broadband ISP to release details about any associated subscribers (e.g. name, address etc.).

The organisation will then begin sending letters that ultimately demand compensation for the abuse and those who fail to pay are often threatened with court action. In reality such court cases are usually too expensive to pursue and those that have been attempted were failures, not least because IP address based evidence is inherently unreliable (i.e. the data may be incorrect and or fail to reflect that many people can share a single Internet connection, especially if you run an open WiFi network).