British Music Labels Demand ISP Action

The British record industry targeted 59 accounts across two Internet service providers Monday, asking those two companies to suspend those subscribers on suspicions of illicit file sharing of copyrighted songs. The British Phonographic Industry called it a significant development in its fight against piracy.

Before its request, the BPI was only targeting the individual itself. With Monday's move, the group is now soliciting the assistance of ISPs in curbing the problem, claiming they have failed so far to take initiative in the fight.

The BPI says dealing with ISPs directly could speed the pace of filing suits against piraters.

"We have said for months that it is unacceptable for ISPs to turn a blind eye to industrial-scale copyright infringement," BPI Chairman Peter Jamieson said. "It is now up to them to put their house in order and pull the plug on these people." The group would provide both Tiscali and Cable & Wireless evidence of piracy occurring on their networks.

Both companies have acknowledged receiving the BPI's request and were investigating the matter. However, neither elaborated on whether they planned to take action against customers based on the organization's evidence.

A total of 42 Cable & Wireless IP and 17 Toscali IP addresses have been identified by the organization. However, all that the BPI has is the address; only the ISPs know the identity of those involved, it said.

"Both Tiscali and Cable & Wireless state in their terms of use for subscribers that internet accounts should not be used for copyright infringement," BPI General Counsel Roz Groome said. "We now invite them to enforce their own terms of use."

It appears that ISPs would be legally required to disclose the identities of the file sharers in question. A ruling in March of last year by the British High Court mandated such actions, following a suit by the BPI.

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