By Claire West
Ministry of Sound have had to put on hold their plans to send warning notices to 25,000 illegal uploaders on BT’s broadband network after discovering that the ISP has deleted over 20,000 of the records that Ministry of Sound had asked them to save pending the resolution of a court
Ministry of Sound launched a campaign in July targeting the illegal uploading of their music on the UK’s digital network. This work was undertaken by lawyers Gallant MacMillan and technology provider DigiRights Solutions who identified over 150,000 UK addresses from where Ministry of
Sound’s copyrighted material was illegally uploaded on the internet.
Since July, Ministry of Sound has been applying to the High Court to require ISPs to provide them with the customer data of the illegal uploaders. This process had been working smoothly and seen over 5,000 warning letters and settlement notices sent to illegal uploaders requiring them either to confirm that they had infringed Ministry of Sound’s
copyright and make an out-of-court payment of £350 or risk legal action.
Since this campaign was launched a large proportion of those contacted have settled out of court.
Last month BT decided to challenge this process following a security breach by an unrelated firm, ACS Law, and convinced a Master in the courts to require Ministry of Sound to provide additional information to ensure that the privacy of BT customers would not be breached. Ministry of Sound were
happy to do this despite the substantial costs that were going to be incurred and in spite of the fact that the ACS Law security breach bore no relation to this application.
However, subsequently in legal correspondence it was revealed that BT has failed to preserve over 20,000 of the 25,000 customer records which Ministry of Sound had originally requested and which they had agreed to do their best to preserve.
Whilst Ministry of Sound were happy to incur substantial legal costs to access 25,000 names it is simply not economic to pursue the 5,000 remaining illegal uploaders.
Ministry of Sound CEO Lohan Presencer said: “It is very disappointing that BT decided not to preserve the identities of the illegal uploaders.
Given that less than 20% of the names remain and BT costs have soared from a few thousand pounds to several hundred thousand pounds, it makes no economic sense to continue with this application. We are more determined than ever to go after internet users who illegally upload our copyrighted material.
We will be making further applications for information from all ISPs. Every time that a track or album is uploaded to the web it is depriving artists of royalties and reducing the money which we can invest in new British talent.”