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  1. #1
    DF VIP Member Bald Bouncer's Avatar
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    BBC News BT seeks freeze on net piracy cases

    BT is seeking a moratorium on legal applications to obtain details of its customers who are alleged to have illegally shared files online.

    The firm outlined its stance following a high-profile data breach at London law firm ACS:Law last week.

    The leak saw thousands of customers' details from various ISPs - including BT-owned PlusNet - published online.

    BT said that it wanted a temporary halt on all new and existing applications until a "test case" could be heard.

    Lawyers to continue piracy fight
    BT embroiled in porn list breach
    It was originally to be heard today but was adjourned until 11 January 2011 following a hearing at London's High Court.

    "This will be a test case for ISPs," a legal representative of BT told BBC News.

    Targeted attacks
    The case involves lawyers from law firm Gallant Macmillan, who are seeking a court order to obtain the names and addresses of a "large number" of broadband users from PlusNet, BSkyB and Be Internet suspected of illegally downloading and sharing music from the nightclub and record label Ministry of Sound.

    BSKyB were not represented at today's hearing.

    How are these lists compiled?

    • Anti-piracy firms partner with music and film rights holders
    • Firm uses software to track file-sharing sites and identifies the IP (internet protocol) addresses of the net connections used to share clients' content
    • Armed with the list of IP addresses, law firms can apply for a court order to obtain the physical address of suspected file-sharers from ISPs whose network has been used. BT seeks to put a temporary halt on this process
    • Law firms compile their own lists cross-referencing the content that is alleged to have been shared with the personal details of ISP customers
    • A letter is sent to the alleged pirate, asking them to either pay a one-off fee or face court
    • Many targeted by firms such as ACS:Law contend that IP addresses can be spoofed
    • Others say that the IP address does not identify a PC, merely a connection, which could be shared between many people, hijacked or used without the owner's knowledge if not secured


    BT lawyers asked for the adjournment, saying that the firm needed to see details of the security system that will be used to store its customers' data before it could comply with any order.

    PlusNet faced criticism last week after it emerged that it had sent the personal details of more than 500 customers in an unencrypted document to ACS:Law, following a court order. Experts have said it could put BT in breach of the Data Protection Act.

    The firm admitted that it had asked for today's adjournment in part in response to the leaks.

    However, it also said that it had gradually been "ramping up its requirements" of firms trying to obtain its customers details.

    "The incident involving the ACS:Law data leak has further damaged people's confidence in the current process," a spokesperson said.

    "We want to ensure broadband subscribers are adequately protected so that rights holders can pursue their claims for copyright infringement without causing unnecessary worry to innocent people."

    "We have not simply consented to these orders in the past, we have asked for stricter terms as public concern has risen. The data leak with ACS:Law prompted us to take further action today."

    The leak occurred after users of the notorious message board 4chan launched a targeted "denial of service" on ACS:Law for its anti-piracy activities.

    The company's e-mail database and a series of internal documents were published online in the process of restoring the website.

    Legal claims
    The attack was the latest in a series of assaults aimed at crippling the websites of firms and organisations involved in anti-piracy efforts, known as Operation Payback.

    Over the weekend, the website of the Ministry of Sound was taken offline by the group.

    ACS:Law has made a business out of sending thousands of letters to alleged net pirates, asking them to pay compensation of about £300 per infringement or face court.

    The BBC has been contacted by a number of people saying they were wrongly accused by the firm. UK consumer group Which? also says it has also received a number of complaints.

    ACS:Law is under investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority over its role in sending letters to alleged pirates.

    No case has ever come to court.

    Lawyers from Gallant Macmillan distanced themselves from ACS:Law and the data breaches. They said they intend to press ahead with their "legitimate attempts to enforce the legitimate rights" of the Ministry of Sound against alleged file-sharers.

    A representative of the firm told the hearing that it "fully intends to litigate" against alleged file-sharers if it is granted the court order forcing BT and other ISPs to hand over the details of their customers.

    It also asked for some details of the January case to be conducted in private to protect details of the security measures used to protect customer details and because any revelations would "only give traction to the kind of attacks recently seen [on ACS:Law]".

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  2. #2
    DF Super Moderator JonEp's Avatar
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    Default Re: BT seeks freeze on net piracy cases

    The concept of tracing people uploading copyrighted software by bit-torrent or requesting file hosts such as Rapidshare and Hotfile to disclose logs and reversing their IP addresses isn't going to go away.

    Until the law changes if a Court makes a Order for ISP's to disclose information they simply have to do it.

    The problem here is ever since the Davenport Lyon days no one from the ISP turned up at Court to oppose the order having already provided prior consent to the Court granting it and agreeing a large administration fee. So for more than three years the Court has been churning out these orders rubber stamped. Only in the last few months has the tide started to turn with pressure from the excellent support groups as well as people writing personally to the same Judge who hears all these applications.

    Now that there is a wider public interest and pressure applied on the ISP's by their customers each application looks to be challenged so its seems appropriate that everyone steps back and looks at the processes hence the adjournment which was agreed by both parties yesterday.

    Andrew Crossley and ACS:LAW are finished in my opinion but not because of this but by the professional breaches in his practice disclosed by the leaked emails which I am sure many are sifting through.

    For example his Client Account when into overdrawn. This is where he is meant to keep his clients money there should never be an occasion EVER for this account to go OD.

    He bounced office account cheques and failed direct debits. A sure sign of bad financial management.

    As sole practitioner he is under the spot light far more by the SRA and his indemnity insurance that a multi partner firm.

    I wonder if they arranged the monitoring of the leaked email torrent and the new ACSLaw megapacks.

    I doubt we have heard the last of this scam.

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