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Thursday, June 7, 2012

UK ISP Forced to Expose Subscribers’ Details

The court has ordered O2 to expose the details of around 9,000 broadband subscribers for alleged porn copyright violation. The situation was referred to as “ridiculous” by consumer groups. 

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Ben Dover, a pseudonym of the UK performer and porn producer Lindsay Honey, as well as his Golden Eye International affiliate, complained to the High Court alleging that the subscribers of O2 had illegally downloaded his movies.

The producers demanded that the court force one of the leading UK ISPs to disclose the IP addresses of its subscribers so Dover could send out letters demanding fines of $1100 for illegal file-sharing. The ISP tried to fight the requests, but failed, which means that it now has to disclose the details. On the other hand, the court refused to support the suggested fines.

In addition, the judge also claimed that the letter from Golden Eye International that demands payment was capable of causing “unnecessary distress”. The judge decided that it could be seen as a threat of publicity once proceedings had begun, and thus force the subscribers who refused to settle back into court again.

In response, the Pirate Party has blasted the issue as “ridiculous”, saying that this practice has been really ridiculous for years now. It reminds the ACS:Law case without a reputable firm behind it now. The party says that the real problem is that it’s only the tip of the iceberg, as the DEA has already made it easy for both the organizations and users to request data such as this and such practice and letter sending may become widespread.

Another problem is that the records of IP addresses kept by Internet service providers are not always accurate. Such letter sending can be considered as bullying and even people that are totally innocent may feel that they have to pay the fee just to get rid of it. 

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