British ISPs Must Identify File Sharers

British record companies applauded Friday's ruling in court that gave them the right to obtain the identities of people who use file sharing programs from Internet service providers. The labels were looking for the identities of 31 persons suspected of uploading large numbers of illegal files onto various P2P services.

"Today's result is a blow for illegal uploaders who believe that the law simply does not apply to them," Geoff Taylor, general counsel for the British Phonographic Industry, a music trade group, told reporters.

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ISPs will have two full weeks to comply with the High Court ruling. According to BPI lawyers, when the names are received, they plan to start contacting the defendants and offer to settle out of court if possible. The approach is similar to one used in the United States by the RIAA.

Taylor said that through their initial cases with P2P they found out that file sharers come from "all walks of life."

Record labels monitor file swapping on networks by recording the IP addresses of users sharing copyrighted content. After obtaining this information, they will either approach the ISP or go to court to obtain the identity of the user.

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