back to article BT starts threatening music downloaders with internet cut-off

BT, the UK's largest broadband provider, has begun threatening subscribers with disconnection from the internet if it is told they are sharing copyright music over peer-to-peer networks, The Register has learned. The firm recently sent an email to one of its four million retail broadband customers, who asked not to be named, …


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  1. Niall Simpson

    Asked not to be named....

    Well obviously! If I was caught downloading a Girls Aloud song I'd be pretty embarrassed too!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Girls Aloud???

    Can you imagine the scene down the pub: "Well, lads, I got disconnected from BT's broadband today."

    "Jaysus, what for? Movies? Warez? Porn?"

    "Err, no, actually, it was Girls Aloud."

    *Barely suppressed snorts of derision*

    But then I suspect that anyone sharing Girls Aloud would be too young to be in a pub...

  3. Dan White


    Way to lose even more customers BT...

    First the Phorm Phuck up, now this. Makes me pleased to think that I've actively prevented two households from switching to BT recently, by virtue of educating them as to the level of "service" they can expect. I've also managed to get my parents to switch *from* BT, which is a result as they normally have the inertia of a supertanker in treacle :-)

  4. Ed


    Was the user illegally sharing music?

  5. Mike Street


    So BT's customers have to comply with the law, but BT doesn't (i.e. Phorm)?

    Maybe BT customers should send a similarly-worded letter to them, threatening disconnection without compensation.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    <no title>

    Even if the copyright argument is accepted, warning folk off one at a time is going to have as much effect as King Canute has on the tide. Besides if folk want to share music collections with friends, they don't need an Internet to do so.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Obligatory geek here

    "Remove any P2P filesharing software from any computer(s) that connect to your BT internet service."

    That's a bit strong, some of us use them for legitimate means (linux and other large free or open source downloads) as well as the odd... erm ... preview of commercial material.

  8. Mark

    This is an infringement of the copyright in those sound recordings.

    However, if someone has already GOT the CD, they have a license to listen to the music.

    That's what they keep telling us.

    Tell you what, BPI, I will pass on all the profits I receive to you. And I'll give another 10% to charity out of my own pocket.

    Can't say fairer than that.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    All P2P illegal eh?

    "Remove any P2P filesharing software from any computer(s) that connect to your BT internet service."

    Got to love these idiots.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    vote with your feet and leave BT. They're shite anyway.

  11. richard

    What about FON users?

    ... especially since BT bundled FON with many of their routers by default. Surely a FON user could hop onto any of the nodes listed here : and torrent away.

  12. Chronos

    Oh, this is bloody rich!

    "You must not infringe the rights of others, including the right of privacy and copyright"

    BT would do well to study their own T&Cs. Phorm, anyone? We'll just accuse you of copyright infringement and then, if you have a web site, turn around and make a copy of your copyrighted content for our own commercial gain against your wishes. We'll also invade your privacy by inspecting every http request you make. We're allowed to do this because we're BT and we're above the law you little people have to abide by.

    Talk about kettles and pots, not to mention that there are many legitimate uses for P2P. Okay, I know most instances are being put to illegitimate uses and I'm in full agreement that this is against the law, but that does not alter the truth. I mean, Blizzard uses P2P tech to distribute patches (since my son is an avid WoW player, believe me, I know. It wanted holes in my firewall. It didn't get them and got disabled) which is quite legitimate. I suppose we're going to have snoops ripping these packets to shreds to look for evidence of infringement now?

    People in glass layer 7 packet inspection houses should not throw accusatory stones.

  13. Chris Simmons

    Is filesharing software... illegal?


    1. Remove any P2P filesharing software from any computer(s)


    I use filesharing software for perfectly legitimate reasons - such as sharing documents with family and friends that are too large for email attachments. It strikes me that the "recommendations" are designed to scare the unknowing into complying with the usual mafia actions we read about with the MPAA and RIAA.

  14. bertie bassett
    Paris Hilton

    If only I was dumb enough to be a BT Broadband customer..

    "Copyright law provides that sound recordings cannot be communicated to the public without permission"..

    I'd love the opportunity to test in a court of law whether

    1) having a file in a bit-torrent share folder is 'communication to the public'

    2) How they can prove it was me that 'did the crime' - perhaps it was one of those evil hackers that are out their doing nasty things - what about "drve by surfers" or even heven help us a guest FON user..

    Oh hang on - I might get nicked by the thought police - pre-cog anyone?

    Paris cos she'd get my minority report...

  15. shyted

    A policy well thought out as usual

    Are ISPs really going to have the balls to go through with this if its true that 60% of people download music thats a lot of revenue to lose, and will it mean that once disconnected you can never have internet again, or will it just be a case of switching ISPs.

    This will work about as well as the law suits in the states, which lets face it have not proved to be any deterrent for downloading and in most cases have just helped publicize p2p. BT are making far to many assumptions about the adsl account holders knowledge of p2p and IT in general. Fair enough some will be fully aware of what is happening on there broadband connection, but there are a awful lot of people who are genuinely clueless. As for secure wireless networks good luck with that if its not a legal requirement (yet), and will perhaps make a defense in court. When they've made it idiot and hack proof I'll look forward to a bright future that has no spam, viruses, trojans, ddos or botnets to worry about

    What the media industries and ISPs need to do is launch legal unlimited p2p, or price online distribution of music and video media more attractively.

    I'd have no problem with a legal Oink or Napster type service with no DRM, but what are the chances of that.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm confused

    we have one story that says BT are sending out letters to people about file sharing

    And another story about legal P2P file sharing by the end of the year by paying your ISP (BT Perhaps) a premuim for what you are essentially getting a letter about now

    Talk about pissing off your customer

  17. Anonymous Coward

    well I wish they would cut me off

    Because I am trying to get out of my contract with them and avoid having to pay the outstanding balance in full.

    So this is the way to do it, huh?

    Thanks for the tip.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Not impressed with the Phorm F%^Kup BT!

    Not impressed with the thought that BT customers are being threaten on the word of the BPI who may have just got the IP address mixed up or the customers computer may have been compromised or their WIFI connection; or they have a errant teeenager!

    Who the hell died and made them Stalin!

    The real issue for the BPI is to address their members outdated business model which actively encourages tenagers (who are the main downloaders of Girls Aloud) to infringe copyright.

    Come on music industry get real and adapt your failing business model and embrace the people not actively be seen as a secret Stalinist police force!

    Paris because she would never download her own music!

  19. Chris Simmons

    @Greg Fleming


    Because I am trying to get out of my contract with them and avoid having to pay the outstanding balance in full.

    So this is the way to do it, huh?

    Thanks for the tip.


    Sorry Greg, but in TFA, BT were quoted thus:

    "Sorry, but we're obliged to point out that further similar problems may have to lead to the termination of your account, as such activity contravenes BT's Acceptable Use Policy. Please note that, should your account be closed as a result of contravention of BT's Acceptable Use Policy, you will still have to pay any sums owing under the terms of your contract with us."

  20. Caustic Soda
    Paris Hilton

    Who at BT gets the letter?

    When I binned BT a few years back, they were offering all their users access to huge amounts of copyrighted music through their Usenet servers.

    Who at BT gets to write to themselves in these sorts of circumstances?

    Paris, cos there isn't one of the gorgeous redhead in GA.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    "if it is TOLD they are sharing"

    Shouldn't it be required to CHECK FIRST (and conclusively and irrefutably PROVE) that they are sharing something ... and, indeed, something that's actually illegal to share ... BEFORE taking any such action ?

    A person isn't automatically guilty just because somebody SAYS they have done something.

  22. Brian Whittle

    least she does not live in the USA

    in the states the RIAA would have been trying to screw her totaly so its better than that.

    Oh and as said there are legal uses for P2P I for one downloaded UBD as a torrent these ways its a good way of reducing server costs for open source and such

  23. frymaster

    removing P2P

    it's only "recommended" you remove filesharing apps, and if we assume the clueless demographic, that makes the most sense. The geek demographic can presumably remove the copyrighted stuff without going to that extreme (or will, more probably, simple switch ISP :P )

    @bertie bassett:

    This is why BPI and ISPs are going down this route. If the BPI were to sue people they'd need to prove those things in a court of law. You don't need to a court of law for an ISP to kick someone off for AUP violation. This would be a concern if there weren't so many ISPs :) ( it actually may be a concern for me, coz I'm on cable, but I'll burn that bridge when I come to it)

  24. Claire Rand


    of course simply identifying the filename means _nothing_ if i decide to put a jog image onto a filesharing network, a picture of my garden say, that is called "" where xxx is a song title. does this prove anything, other than my inability to pick helpful filenames?

    now if the user is filesharing, I'd take this as a sign to move over to something that works over TOR or similar, but if not personally I'd put a letter, recorded delivery, to the head office requesting to see the actual evidence, pointing out I'd need to know if the contents of the file were in fact subject to copyright.

    and if they wrote back to say they did identify the file as copyright I'd laugh, or if they identified it correctly I'd enquire as to why they had _illegally_ intercepted a transmission.

    perfectly simple to start using spoof file names, of course this does little for honey pot sites but for BT intercepts..

    don't agree with copyright infringment as such, but agree with the BPI even less

  25. john.w

    You will be very unlucky to get caught twice let alone three times

    If the BPI are simply picking an IP address at random, it can't be methodical because there are millions sharing, then the chances of finding the same user sharing again are tinny, dynamic IP address anyone?

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Thanks, Chris

    I'm afraid, I'M obliged to point out to them:

    If they cut me off (please please) then they ain't getting a fucking cent out of me.

    I don't pay for services I can't get. By definition forcing money out of people on false pretences (i.e the pretence of providing a service) that'll be called extortion.

    What a load of bollocks.

  27. Paul Hatch

    They'll never win

    As the BPI are not getting your details and the ISP is dealing with the matter internally, they are committing commercial suicide. As pointed out, hardcore sharers can block detection and casual downloaders if cut off will just move to another ISP by which time they will have wised up and gen up on how not to get caught. The only loser being the ISP that cooperates who will lose business both departing customers and others avoiding them.

    As Ive mentioned before in a previous thread, it is futile trying to hit p2p when people at work/school/college can pass around 1TB HDs stuffed full of music or burning MP3 DVDs. Putting it in context, when the majors were having kittens over Napster, when it closed it only had 3-4TB and much of that was duplicates.

    Dont know why I just thought about it but while a kid in the 70s my parents ran a pub. One day some busybody from either the BPI or Performing Rights Soc came in asking if my mum had a license to play music from the radio/cassette in public. She simply picked up the radio from behind the bar, moved it to the cellar next door, turned up the volume and left the door open. The radio was now being played in private, the fact it could be heard in public was incidental. In all the device had moved little more than 3ft. He gave up and walked off :-)

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Not a proof

    BPI is not be be trusted and any one with a computer can generate a text file with whatever number they want on it. BPI have NOTHiNG.

    BPI need hard eveidences (they clearly don;t have it) and on top of that they need permission to INVADE a private computer like that. The only evidences that can be accpeted must be search for and produce by the POLICE. BPI have not rights to do is own justice.

    If not convicted in COURT, BT have no legal right to cut off a custumer on FLASE proof summited by a shady organisation that care only about the pokets of shareolder.

    BT as lost all credibility. It is now a pathetic puppet in the end of BPI.

  29. Alfazed

    silly folk swimmin against the tide.

    Must still be looking for technical salvation for an industry full of crap.

    OK - So some older or dumb customers will lose their broadband connection, and will no doubt breathe a sigh of relief and will go buy some stamps.

    Others will continue to circulate illicit DVDs and CDs just like any other contraband items or illegal substances, and when using P2P will use encryption, or a social network like Bebo et al (which aren't P2P networks).

    If they listened to their own marketing gurus, these uptight record industry directors would accept that the age group they are now going to piss off with this fascist tactic is not only ITC savvy to at least GCSE standard, but are also the ripest fruits of the mass consumer market.

    They are not going to win them back into buying 16 rubbish tracks and just one that's half decent on a CD or album.

    Seriously, I wonder why my kids aren't buying Girls Aloud or any other such trashy pop shite ? The record industry moguls are hoping to win back this mass market which incidentally - downloads loadsa Grime, Drum n Bass, Ragga, and many other toons in fact, almost anything else media wise that you can think of, which the recording industries don't actually produce or own the copyright of. Or ever will hopefully.

    Stoopid fuckedup fat old ugly rich twats. This is what happens when you take all those fucking drugs and marry carpet bagging tramps and live in palatial pads in wuwal Engwand.

    These suckers should work for charity and distribute all their wealth amongst those poor homeless Brits who haven't even tried broadband yet.


  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Three Strikes?

    I'm not sure how they would successfully enforce a "three strikes" scheme. Surely, if the ISP didn't want to lose custom, they could just deny any correlation between alleged violations, i.e. every complaint made by the BPI is matched to a "first offender". The ISP doesn't have to give details on the user without a court order, so how would the BPI know otherwise?

  31. Anonymous Coward


    or megaupload, or yousendit, or any other multitude of file hosting sites! dammit people, P2P is so last year! :P

  32. Fred

    ...and then?

    would do you guys think about the legality to all of this and does the BPI actually have authority to cut the broadband?

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Standard of evidence?

    Surely the evidence is a bit weak? They make claims about software, files and IPs but exactly how solid is this without corroboration by other means?

    After all, I could easily generate a huge amount of 'evidence' claiming various P2P packages had been sharing common files (or just one, which I claimed the copyright on) from within the IP range used for BT's residential ADSL services.

    How far would they go on the basis of such evidence?

    I'm interested to know where the BPI stand having communicated unsubstantiated allegations to a third party, especially as they seem to be to the detriment of the individual named.

    I'd also be interested to know how exactly they'd stand if they used this information to cancel an account without any proper evidence?

    Whatever happens the only two outcomes that seem guaranteed are a PR own-goal for the BPI and ISPs, and lawyers making money from the actions that will surely result.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remove all p2p filesharing software

    Does that include the BBC iplayer?

  35. night troll

    To BT planks....

    ...."Remove any P2P filesharing software from any computer(s) that connect to your BT internet service."

    Does that include BBC iPlayer?

  36. Someone

    Has anyone told the BBC?

    When you install the BBC’s iPlayer, it puts up a very clear warning.

    “Please read carefully the Software Information

    BBC iPlayer Download Manager users Kontiki peer-to-peer technology that requires you to both download and upload files from the internet in order to watch programmes.”

    One of the BBC iPlayer help pages drives home the message that this is P2P filesharing software.

    I can only conclude that the BPI recommend the removal of the BBC’s iPlayer.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it just me....

    ...or would a filename be absolutely no proof of the existence of copyright material being shared? Calling a file RipOffGirlsAloudWailing.mp3 does not make it so.

    A file name is independent of the file contents - only the filetype is important in some OEs.

    You can call a Girls Aloud track what you want but it still doesn't make it music.

  38. Ben

    Could it really be a good thing?

    Not a very popular opinion, but I think this might be a good thing. A good proportion of copyright infringement is done by "da youth" who aren't evil or malicious but simply sharing and getting a few things for free, which is a good thing when you have little to no disposable income.

    These warnings would remove some of the anonymity provided by the internet (at least the perceived anonymity) which is the principle reason for breaking the law. It's not unreasonable for BPI and the people they represent to protect their interest, and warning people that they may be in breach of the law, seems fair and financially good idea for the BPI as going to court isn't cheap and they are unlikely to take anyone to court who could afford their over evaluated losses.

    Dangers arise from false accusations, but with multiple warnings that's some what reduced as long as people who's lax security (their own doing or their ISP home setup) is corrected.

    At the end of the day, if your torrenting copyrighted material you are breaking the law. Of course the police aren't going to check up on you, but if the copyright holder choose to, then expect your warning.

    Let BPI waste their time hunting down teenagers and getting ISP to dispatch warning letter. Their vain hopes that they can transmute pirate copies into real sales, and if they can stop piracy in an instant and fail to see the massive spike in retail sales, they might just look at other business models. Right now it easier to blame the devil than themselves.

  39. Digi421
    IT Angle


    ...downloading stuff isn't illegal, it's illegal to upload ("offer") stuff. So if you use P2P and can set your client's upload to zero, you are not offering anything illegal. Of course that's entirely against the mechanics (and spirit) of P2P, but nevertheless...

    I'd bin BT but here I have alternative :(

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Girls To fekin loud

    "a song by Girls aloud"




    (whoops wet myself)

    Funny how Radiohead made so much more with a "pay what you like" policy.

    (if you aint heard "in rainbows" yet, your already dead.......)

    ph cause you could tell her to do anything and then say what a good idea she'd had.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This has been happening for at least 12 months! Why has it taken so long to come to light???

    oh, wait - I'll tell you why.

    The "Customer Security Team", aka the Abuse Dept, is hugely under funded and supported. I shall pause for a moment as you all take a deep breath of astonishment.


    "Eddie Mackay" (Hi, Eddie, long time no speak. When did you get permission to change your name? Or have El Reg been nice to you?) is the only person in BT who deals with BPI matters.

    One person. One. And he's not even employed by BT, but by an agency who pay him less than you'd get for flipping non-identifiable meat at Macdonalds.

    Filesharers of the BT world - don't panic! Eddie must get hundreds of such reports per month but, due to inefficiency, RUBBISH computer systems* and a focus on CS rather than the actual issues which the BT Abuse team should be dealing with (I was chastised for not apologising, to a blatant spammer, for upsetting him. Don't even get me started on the apology thing - BT is a "sorry" company, and has been for at least three years), he can only deal with 20 or so per week.

    So relax.


    * how do they tie a dynamic IP to a customer? They have script(s) written by some student in the 1990's which untars a zipped logfile of DHCP assignations, then greps through them to find out which CLI had which IP address at which time.

    Generally, the team search through a 24 hour period. Frequent error messages I've seen indicate that each tarball covers a 1 hour period... and contains DHCP changes for each and every customer in the country who connected/disconnected within that period. With the amount of customers they have, that's a lot of changes. And I have it on good authority that the computer responsible for running this script is inthe P2, or less, range.

    This would be barely workable in a small ISP, or perhaps an internal network, but in the biggest ISP in the country? Each search takes approximately 30 minutes. When the machine is working, which it very often isn't. Possibly cos the cleaners unplugged it so they could use their hoover.

    I kid you not.

    Eddie can do about 10 "BPI complaints" per day, at a guess. So twenty is possibly a bit low. 40 per week? Maybe?


    Why am I disclosing all of this? Because I'm still LIVID at the way they treated me and my colleagues as employees of Manpower.

    Also because they didn't have the gumption to get me to sign an NDA.

  42. Robert A. Rosenberg

    Identifying who has an IPN

    If each Tarball has one hour of DHCP info, you first scan the one which covers the hour of the alleged offense (looking for an assign or unassign record). If an assign is before the reported time (with no unassign before that time) or the unassign is after the time, you have your user. If the IPN does not list the IPN, you scan the prior hour for an assign and the next hour for an unassign. I would assume that a 2 or 3 hour span would contain either an assign or unassign for that IPN.

    As to proof of what file is being shared, the monitoring organization should legally be required to download a FULL copy of the file as proof of its contents. All IPNs listed during that capture are thus proven to be downloading (and since P2P requires uploading) and serving the file. Since the monitoring organization supposedly has permission to download the file, they are not subject to any claim of illegality DURING the download period but a claim of entrapment can be made if they were the one who created the initial .torrent file on the server OR if they do not shut down their connection once they have the full down load and shift into 100% Seeding mode (Seeding while download is OK since there is no way to prevent distribution of already downloaded pieces while you complete the download).

  43. Big Pete

    Dear BT

    Thank you for the warning letter re: fle sharing, I thought i'd reply to inform you that you'll have no more problems regarding my file sharing, as i've signed up for a VPN tail end in a foreign country.

    Best regards

    Long John Pete.

  44. PH

    @ AC hahahah

    Interesting to hear how they still treat/resource their staff.

    Back round about 1998 I remember there was a wonderful site at the address www.ihateBT.?? - think it might have been Anyway, the site was set up by a former BT engineer who wrote he'd been unfairly dismissed for "merely asking" if it were possible to reverse engineer some technology BT had. His, ahem, let's be careful here, "allegations" about the company and, in particular, the BT Security department and their antics when phone-tapping their own staff made for interesting reading.

    As a customer, I dropped BT years ago. I've blocked out the memories of the many things they did to me but I still have a Pavlovian gag-reaction when I see the logo. So good to hear they're still on form. I'm astonished they've still got the market share they have.

    Who's up for going round with some pitchforks and torches?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Phorm and BT is worse

    There they take your work, and replace the revenue stream you may get from the adverts with their own. That is piracy, and passing off. They also subvert security, by having a tap, and that can include credit card details, and with the recent SSL weak key problem, a lot of that data could now be accessible.

    They are making money off the copyrighted work of others, and making security on the web a nightmare.

    I have been blocking btcentralplus for a while now, but the reverse lookups can slow the system down a bit for other users. So, time to work out the IP blocks they are using.

    Their nameservers are in the 217.33 to 27.35 range, BT seems to kick in at around 217.32 and they seem to go up to 217.47 ( we end up in Africa by 217.77 :) ).

    Well let's see what happens if the range 217.32 to 217.47 gets blocked.

    They have some in the 193.113 range for, would be rude to not include the corporate folks as well, seems just to be 193.113 there.

    Good a lot nippier.

    Deny from 217.32 217.33 217.34 217.35 217.36

    Deny from 217.37 217.38 217.39 217.40 217.41 217.42

    Deny from 193.113

    It wouldn't surprise me if the bittorrents didn't start doing some blocking as well, some users ISPs are pretty bad for them to have dealings with. Might just clear a lot of problems up, and reduce the number of copyright infringements. Then the kids can get back to pestering mum and dad for pocket money to buy the latest pop music travesties.

  46. Anonymous Coward

    Sounds a bit flimsy to me

    Would like to see this challenged in court.

    "They have script(s) written by some student in the 1990's which untars a zipped logfile of DHCP assignations, then greps through them to find out which CLI had which IP address at which time."

    I'm assuming the time of the infraction is supplied to BT by the BPI.

    How do they guarantee the accuracy of the time stamp they provide?

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Sounds pretty fair to me, BPI tells BT of a customer breaking their acceptable use policy. These rules are pretty well laid out when you sign up. BT tells customer off and gives them a get out clause in case they are daft enough to have an unsecured connection.

    No one is being sued or taken to court, no 'proof' is required.

    What's all the fuss about?

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @BT is a "sorry" company

    Absolutely. One of their golden rules of customer care is "apologise when possible, not when necessary"

    Sadly "Fix the damn problem" isn't on the list.

  49. Rob Cooper

    Good Reason to Bin BT

    This is just wrong on so many levels.. They have no proof, working on "reports" from an untrsuted resource that are going to exploit this for all they can..

    I have a good mind now to go home, start a petition website, then create 1GB of crap sound files, named with the latest tunes from the crappy pop world and seed on torrent like there is no tomorrow.

    Every BT user should then propagate these files and make BY destroy themselves!


  50. Paolo
    Paris Hilton

    Shades of grey

    "AFAIK...downloading stuff isn't illegal, it's illegal to upload ("offer") stuff."

    Actually it's even less clear than that - courts in america are arguing back and forth over whether "making available" is the enough to count as copyright infringement.

  51. Chris Simmons

    @Greg (part 2)


    I'm afraid, I'M obliged to point out to them:

    If they cut me off (please please) then they ain't getting a fucking cent out of me.

    I don't pay for services I can't get. By definition forcing money out of people on false pretences (i.e the pretence of providing a service) that'll be called extortion.

    What a load of bollocks.


    Well said sir.

    As an aside, when Sky pulled their Sky1 channel from Virgin I rang Virgin to thank them for standing up to that murdoch crap - they reduced my bill by £60 a month for 6 months; sometimes big business can have a heart!

  52. Anonymous Coward


    The BPI can not check that her account is being used for P2P.Only BT (and Phorm) can do that.

    Others mentioned using P2P for legitimate file sharing. I don't think the BPI is going to be looking for the latest Linux distro so they will never be picked up.

    My main issue with the whole thing is proof, or lack there of. BPI emails BT and says IP address 'a.b.c.d' is sharing a copyright file. BT says 'OK, we'll slamdunk the perp'. There is no proof that would stand up in court offered. You might say how do I know? Hmmm, well I work for a national teleco with an ISP arm and deal with infringement complaints until recently (to be honest, email is very bin-able, often getting deleted by my anti-spam filter!!!).

    If I'm sharing, for example, 'Wanted' but label it 'Panda Kung-Fu' (for fun and my amusement !!!), does the film factory that made 'Panda Kung-fu' jump all over my IP address. You bet they do. They obviously have no legal proof since the content is 'Wanted' not some anime-junk. But they are that stupid, believe me.I had to deal with them daily,

    And yes, the investigators do just show filenames. That is how lame they are. My own (and admittedly not company policy) is that if they don't show me the film then it's not the real one and therefore no crime has been commited. Probably why I'm not involved anymore with infringements :-)

    Obviously your ISP may differ and get shown real evidence but since the BPI etc doesn't actually have any it is fair game to call their bluff in most cases.

    Piracy - it is the sole motivator for people to get ADSL (seen the stats, seen the questionaire results).

  53. Eddie Edwards
    Dead Vulture

    10 years on, we still don't understand copyright

    BT is not threatening music *downloaders*.

    "I have received a complaint regarding one of our customers offering copyrighted material over the internet"

    The complaint is about music *uploading*, which is against copyright law.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Claire Rand, Andrew Ness et al.

    Regarding non-copyright infringing files named to look like a copyright infringing file:

    Are you for real? Seriously?

    Why would you want to do this, other than to get the BPI on your case? Which if it did happen you would whine about.

    It is about as stupid as taking an empty shoe box with "BOMB!!!!" written on it through airport security. Sure you ain't got no bomb / illegal file but you still going to get tasered / investigated anyway. And you aren't going to get any sympathy and cookies once the authorities find out it was all a jolly jape.

    Regarding those people requiring some sort of proof: They don't need proof. Really they don't. They are not taking legal action (yet) and they are not attempting to gain any cash out of you (yet). If you disagreed with their findings and had no joy from your complaining then you have only a small number of options in that you can cease using the BT service or you could sue for breach of contract. Which would only be worthwhile if you suffered significant loss due to this.

  55. Sir Runcible Spoon

    Easy-out for Phormed customers

    "These are some of the things that you must not do whilst connected to the Internet:

    You must not infringe the rights of others, including the right of privacy and copyright (an example would be sharing without permission of the copyright owner protected material such as a music or video file).

    Many of these activities could result in legal action, a fine or a term of imprisonment or both."

    This is so hyprocritical it's downright Orwellian.

    In 2006 and 2007 BT infringed the rights of *thousands* of its' customers in secret trials, even the ICO say that these covert trials were 'probably illegal' and BT are obviously paying the right person the right amount as the ICO can't be arsed to prosecute.

    In addition, they made illegal copies of every web site that these customers accessed (18 million copyright infringements).

    Fortunately for BT, the one rule for them and one rule for us still works. The old boy network is alive and wellian in the upper echelons of business and government.


  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh Noes

    "If you are not the intended recipient, be aware that any disclosure, copying, distribution or use of the contents of this information is prohibited"

    El Reg has now violated BT's copyright, and will no doubt be getting all its telephones cut off any moment now...

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    anyone receiving these

    should follow the example of the piratebay and reply accordingly

    as an example

  58. Kenny Swan


    Whatever happened to needing evidence of wrongdoing? So the BPI have some details of an IP address transferring copywrited data. I can't think of anything easier to fake. The idiots could just pick a filename, timestamp, come up with a random IP address and accuse that person of sharing music and that's all the evidence they need to get BT on someone's ass? I don't think there's a foolproof method of finding watertight evidence that someone was sharing music that would be inarguable in court, so I don't get why they bother. Oh, that's right, Money...

  59. M7S
    Black Helicopters

    Their demand that you secure the wi-fi

    Haven't there been numerous examples recently of the stock BT Home Hub being about as secure as our data at HMRC?

    Could you therefore reasonably suppose that the ISP has rather contributed to the action, especially if you profess to be a non-techie or someone who trusts BT. They can't have it both ways.

  60. Anonymous Coward

    Downloading V's Uploading

    This is a decieving piece of tosh. it is not illegal to use P2P it is not illegal to download. therefore letter filed in square recepticle.

    Mind you you gotta love this statement:

    "Committed downloaders are able to take technical counter-measures to dodge detection,..."

    Basically it says AMATURE in big letters... must try harder next time...

    why doesn't P2P come with builtin IPFilters anyway?

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    right to distribute to the public?

    As a side thought if I buy a cd and play it in my car with the window open am I in breach of these rules?

    If someone breaks into my car and steals my CD can I be taken to court for distribution?

    Can we use this same arguement to stop people using their media players in confinded spaces ( train/tube/bus )

    This person did not give the data to anyone nor broadcast it, it was just on their hard drive and the person downloading the data without a license is the only one guilty of a crime. By the same arguement it would be a crime for me to resell my old CDs or even give them away.

    With bit torrent a downloading client will get their data from multiple sources so unless they mananged to download all the data from only this person then they havent proven anything. It is quite possible for a file to have the same name and hash but not be the same data. This method has been previously used by the media corps to poison BitTorrent shares.

    It is clear that the music industry is loosing out because of the freetards and the lack of sympathy for their plight in the general population. It should be pointed out that they are still making millions for old rope because they just make the people willing to go the legal route pay more. If they want to stop people cutting into their massive profits then they should not continue to alienate the public. People have been copying media since media was created, they are now just easier to identify. If they continue trying to block BitTorrents then the pirates will move to a different forum. It is a waste of our time and money, we are the ones who have to pay for policing

    The answer to their problem is to stop people wanting to pirate data by presenting it as a moral issue not go the oh so sucessful prohibition route.

  62. Anonymous Coward

    @ Phorm and BT is worse

    Look, I am not a Phorm supporter and I will be leaving BT as soon as they impliment it but you clearly do not understand the way it works.

    If you are a web site owner and you do not subscribe to advertising from OIX (phorm's advertising arm) then YOUR adverts on YOUR site will not be affected. If you, as a website owner, subscribe to OIX advertising then the adverts shown to phorm infected people coming to your site will be more "targeted" to their previous browsing habits.

    Dont get your adverts from OIX, your web pages are unaffected by phorm, the adverts you choose to display are still displayed.

    The BAD thing about Phorm is the invasion of privacy, your BROWSING habits are profiled even if you opt out (they just dont do anything with the data - Yeah, Right) Spreading hysterical misinformation about how phorm works is not going to help because they can focus on the really scary information and prove that it simply doesnt work that way, this allows them to gloss over the spying aspect of the application.

    From the ISP point of view though I am guessing that the Phorm kit can perform all manner of deep packet inspection making it easier to identify people sharing copyrighted material and then disconnecting them

    Anon because people might think I am some kind of Phorm stooge - It's Wrong, they know its wrong, Phuck of Phorm!

  63. V.Srikrishnan


    Nowadays i see in mails from my friends in the corporate world that there is a postscript which says that "note that the contents of the mail are meant for the intended recipient...blahblah... you may not apss on this information to others....blah blah..." Is this kind of threat legal? if i get an email in my inbox, intended recipient or not, i have every right to do what i want witht he information contained in it. if they have the right to threaten me AFTER they send unsolicited mail, surely i also have the right to sue them or whatever for sending unwanted mails?

  64. Mark


    The reason to put fake files up is to prove that their letters are no proof of infringement at all.

  65. Mark

    Re: 10 years on, we still don't understand copyright

    Uh, why are the uploaders

    a) uploading a file

    b) then complaining about it


  66. James Pickett


    "The BPI requires.."

    Since when was it a law enforcement agency? It's a trade body, with ideas above its station (or 'au-dessous son gare' as Churchill put it)..

  67. N

    Phucked again

    They obviously need every available Kb of bandwidth to use with their Phorm system so they can phuck about with every ones personal data

  68. Groz Bat

    Totally inappropriate "punishment"

    I depend on the internet for banking, paying bills, email, running my life in general.

    You're saying that BT have the right to cut me off if my teenage son sends a song to his mates?

  69. Liam
    Thumb Down


    am i the only one who wouldnt mind 'sharing' girls aloud? well, maybe not the ginger one! :)

    also, if phorm knows content browsed by IP (i know they claim not to know but i dont believe them), wont they simply work with the BPI and forward this accross? or do i need to read up on phorm a bit more?

    @ - brilliant :)

  70. WeeDom

    Cats + pigeons = FUN!

    @ Robert A. Rosenberg

    that'll never work, the "download a full copy" idea. The offending user might not HAVE a full copy, if we're talking torrents. And, if we're talking torrents, you'd never (ok, rarely) download a full copy from one location anyway.

    Can BT impose a financial penalty (held to term for up to 17 months? That'll be £500 +) upon someone for having a few seconds of a song? Eh - no. I believe I can use a sample of an existing song in an original work, so long as the sample isn't longer than 30 seconds (I'd have to check the exact time somewhere), without infringing copyright. Was it "The Time Lords" who made a no.1 single doing exactly that? That lot who burnt a million quid for a laugh, anyway.

    @PH : same old, same old.

    @ Mycho - oh, absolutely. I could spew any heap of crap at a customer, and the illegal wire-tappers calling themselves "Customer service experts" would give me full marks so long as I got a timely apology in somewhere. Absolutely mental

    @ Lee - you're wrong. They have the power to terminate your contract and you'll be held to term for any remaining months. As above, that could easily be in excess of £500. That's a pretty hefty financial penalty, in my book.

    A number of people have asked about the burden of proof - there is no proof. A couple of IP addresses and the word of the BPI that something bad has happened. I don't know, either, when the BPI gained legal powers. I think it was about the time they started acting more important than they really are, and nobody pulled them up on it.

  71. Mark

    Copyright infringement

    Well if you're given a copy with no restrictions by the copyright owner (they've put it on P2P themselves), you aren't in violation of copyright. Much like this page. Copyrighted material being copied willy-nilly (and if you haven't tried copying willy-nilly, I highly recommend it). Not a problem.

    So, to put this on track:


    Media Defender, acting as an agent of the copyright holders puts their copyrighted material on the internet in a P2P application. Freely shared.

    If Media Defender were NOT acting as an agent of the copyright holders, why are they still being employed and not being sued?

    So we have films and music placed on P2P for sharing by the agreement of the copyright holders.

    And sharing it is not an offense: we have permission.

    I still have the link to the leaked emails detailing this, for any defense I have to undertake.

  72. Anonymous Coward

    PROOF! or STFU!

    Can they actually prove that the alleged file was actuall a music file?

    Can they prove that the file was a complete file and not a small "bit"?

    This is way they are issuing letters "Warning" that they'll be "cut off".

    I'd like them to be taken to court and actually prove that a law was broken, prove that the file was infact a valid MP3. Prove the fact it was a complete file. Prove that....

    You get my point, first PROOF! or STFU BPI!

  73. Dan

    Be honest.

    I personally use the various methods to download US TV shows. Rather than waiting an age for them to come out in the UK (Dexter, Sarah Connor, etc). I know this is wrong but do it anyway. Now most of us have a bunch of justifications for downloading music and movies. But deep down we all know we shouldn’t be doing it.

    I’m not saying I’m happy with the BPI or BT but lets be honest we’re screwing them at least as much as they’re screwing us.

    Oh, with respect to the Linux comments that get mentioned as a way of point out not all P2P is illegal. If just 10% of P2P traffic was Linux downloads Microsoft would be in serious shit.

  74. Toby Murcott
    Paris Hilton

    Imagine if it happened with the mail...

    ... "you have received illegal material through the post. Therefore we are removing your access to the mail service and you will no longer be able to receive any mail from whatever source."

    Now test that in court!

    Paris 'cos she's clearly just started work at BT's legal department

  75. Christy A
    Thumb Down

    Oh, please.

    The more they whine and quote their "The BPI require..." rubbish, the more I want to go right back to downloading all my music from P2P.

    The BPI require? Well, I require a pony and a million quid, but I'm not getting that, am I? They may therefore sod right off.

    Honestly, all this will increase file sharing, not reduce it. The way I found out about filesharing in the first place was because they made such a fuss about shutting down Napster back in Ye Dayes of Yore.

  76. michael

    @ proof pepol

    flame on

    yes they can tell the file is the copyrighted metrail not just names like it. they join the swarm down load it and CHECK *idiots*

    no there is no budan of proof it is bt turnamtion there contact there is probley a bit in there that says "we can canle your contract if we susect you might be doing stuff we do not like

    no they did not "steal" your privet data when they copyed your ip that is like your name you anounced it when you joined it is like sueing the pepol in the pub when you come in and say "hi I am john"

    flame off

  77. Mark

    re: Be honest.

    Yes, but be honest: in that scenario, WHAT are the damages?


    Since copyright for non-profit limited use is a civil tort, the UK will pay damages.

    So they take you to court and you pay... nothing.

    This was why there wasn't a "Fair Use" exception in copyrights in the UK. That there were no damages was considered enough to ensure personal use of copyrighted works (singing around the piano, for example) were not quashed by legal threat.

    But by scaring up "billions of dollars" losses and how piracy "pays for drug smugglers and terrorists", laws are made to combat full-scale commercial piracy and (oh dear, sorry, we forgot!) LEAVE OUT the bit about it being to combat commercial piracy.

  78. 3x2

    It just keeps getting better

    <..>The upcoming commercial opportunity to charge a bit extra for a premium "music broadband" package means there's money for the ISPs in warning their customers against illegal filesharing. Expect sabre-rattling missives like BT's to become commonplace over the next few months. ®<...>

    So rather than looking like an attempt to reduce illicit music downloads it starts to look like BT et al forcing customers to get music exclusively from them. Way to go ISP's.

    And BTPhorm standing tall on copyright infringement !! Remind me again how does Phorm work?

    BT - can you spell DERIVATIVE WORK you copyright infringing muppets.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Perhaps we should all share Creative Commons music

    just to prove the point that sharing music is not illegal. (Breaking copyright is what is illegal)

    e.g. The Slip, Ghosts and Lights in the Sky from Nine Inch Nails.

    Omnia, on their myspace page have pretty much given permission to distributive their music freely too.

    People could also start sharing carefully named home produced parodies of songs.

  80. Gav

    Change the record will you?

    Yawn, usual pile-on from freeloaders with the usual outraged and imaginative examples of how this affect perfectly legal P2P, and how the customer may be innocent, and how it may not technically be illegal, yadda, yadda yadda.

    Let's cut to the bottom line shall we? Did this BT customer share the music file or not? If yes then end of story. They are in breach of their contract with BT.

    Other fevered examples about Linux distros, BBC iPlayer and British copyright law are totally irrelevant. The letter was sent for the above reason and that reason alone, any further extrapolation exists only in the minds of those seeking justification and a chance to indulge in a little piece of victimhood.

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    I use filesharing software

    I work @ IBM and we use downloading software to get our products from our xtreme leverage site, therefore as we also use BT for corporate broadband we now need to cease and desist?

  82. Frederick Karno

    The moral of this story is :

    Dont use an isp who at the whim of a private company and without checking whether the information is correct will send out letters of this type.

    If i were a customer (and i'm not)and didn't fileshare (which i dont) i would leave on principle .

    To shareholders of BT a word of warning more and more filesharing programs are employing encryption ,for your company to identify this traffic its going to cost them a fortune to keep up.They were probably looking to phorm to recoup some of this isn't going to happen and with the further loss of revenue due to this i think we will see BT and its other firms Plusnet et al suffer.

    mines the one with innocent until proven guilty on the back....

  83. Mark

    Re: Change the record will you?

    Why? When are you going to change the pre-recording about how it's ALL P2P and it's responsible for congestion and FUP's (which for Bell Canada has been proven bunk: the court told them to release documents about congestion to prove they need to throttle).

    Or are we only allowed to counter your arguments three times, but you're allowed to accuse use FOUR?

  84. Mark


    Learn to spell. Yours is so bad I can't be sure what you're talking about.

    But if you're going on about BT having a contract that says they can cut you off, you're forgetting that a contract is a meeting of minds.

    So what consideration do I get to signing the right to a fair trial?


    Then there's no agreement.

  85. Alexis Vallance

    Hollow threat

    This is just a lot of hot air. They send out a few letters and use the media to try and scare a couple of hundred other users into changing their ways.

    The letter has no legal basis and should be ignored.

    They can cancel your contract, but that would just mean having to go to another ISP. No biggie.

  86. This post has been deleted by its author

  87. Sir Runcible Spoon

    If this were in court and

    If I was called as an expert witness in this case I would demand to see the proof that both sides of the equation (BT and BPI) were using at least 3 stratum 1 ntp peers in their logging. After all, there are plenty of occasions where ntp sources are out by large margins because they are not referenced properly. Even a simple GMT/BST timing error could mean it was someone else.

  88. Mark Land

    file share scanner

    I tried the link from the letter on the free scanner....

    It would not work under my Firefox as I didnt have flash....

    So i try it with flash, now it tries to download an i guess Mac and Linux clients are not copyright infringers lol

    And obviously, all copyright pirates have flash installed.

  89. Ryan


    Where's the photo of Girls Aloud?


  90. Mark McC
    Paris Hilton

    All sound recordings?

    "The BPI has confirmed to us that no record company member of BPI or PPL has given permission to an individual to communicate sound recordings to the public via the peer-to-peer network that has been operated using your internet connection."

    So anyone out there creating music (or any other form of sound recording), even in their own bedroom, should first obtain permission from the BPI before letting others hear it?

    Paris, she knows all about amateur bedroom recording.

  91. Oliver
    Black Helicopters

    This is just a big game!

    Whatever the facts of the matter or the theoretical legal arguments, this is a game of publicity poker being played out by the BPI and co. The music industry want a bit of noise made about all this downloading going on (where they *perceive* lost revenue). In the UK, having seen the failure to win the battle (and the hearts and minds campaign) through litigation of individual users in the US, the industry now have the ISPs in their sights as a vehicle for enforcement. They have a stick and a carrot:

    The stick is the fact that they have lobbyed the govt into threatening to legislate on the matter - this has been enough to bring the ISPs to the table.

    The carrot is to offer the ISPs a slice of that big content cake (TBH it's probably fairly attractive to them) hence, for example, the other story today about legal subscription-based p2p services.

    The two sides are now in the throes of establishing a model that puts the shits up enough lusers to herd them in the direction of the new subscription services that will be offered and reduce the 'pirate' constituency to a small hardcore.

    Can this happen? Well, most downloaders are probably not clued up enough to see past the empty (?) threats or take their activities underground (YKWIM?). After all, if there's 6m downloaders, how many do you think are tech savvy enough? The only caveat to this is that a p2p/BT client that hides IPs may emerge and escalate the tech battle to a new level.

    IMHO this approach may bear some fruit simply by bringing some real pressure to bear on Joe Public. There has to be a pay-off somewhere between making it harder/riskier to download copyrighted content and providing easily accessible subscription music services and I think this is what they are banking on. Hopefully, even if this comes to pass, there comes a point where the BPI can claim a face-saving victory - and leave the remaining hardcore contingent to their own devices.

  92. Anonymous Coward

    Deep Breath everyone

    I can feel some hysteria in the comments already posted.

    If you use P2P for legal torrents only, the BPI will not be interested in you - they are looking for people sharing copyrighted material. If that doesn't include you, then you have nothing to worry about.

    Does anybody know exactly what the BPI does to prove that you are sharing a particular song? No? They could be downloading the entire song from your PC for all you know so, unless you want to call their bluff, you don't know if their threats can be upheld in a court of law.

    Apart from that, the 'burden of proof' required by your ISP may not be as stringent as that required by a court of law.

    Just my 2p worth

  93. Tony

    U don't Get it Gav

    "Let's cut to the bottom line shall we? Did this BT customer share the music file or not?"

    No, the bottom line is what *proof* do BPI or BT have that any copyright material was shared. P2P networks (generally) only share small portions of a whole file from any one location and such files can be named anything the sharer likes. It doesn't have to reflect what the file contains.

    Also isn't interception of private data a crime?

  94. Alan Parsons

    @AC (@Phorm is worse)

    ["If you are a web site owner and you do not subscribe to advertising from OIX (phorm's advertising arm) then YOUR adverts on YOUR site will not be affected. If you, as a website owner, subscribe to OIX advertising then the adverts shown to phorm infected people coming to your site will be more "targeted" to their previous browsing habits.

    Dont get your adverts from OIX, your web pages are unaffected by phorm, the adverts you choose to display are still displayed."]

    Granted, but if you sell cars and DON'T use OIX then the customer who comes to your site is gonna see (on other sites) more adverts for cars based on the fact that they visited YOUR site. So their visit to YOUR site affects what they see elsewhere and essentially takes trade from you. The only way to get that back (or a portion of it) is to join OIX so that people visiting other car sites get directed to you as well by targetted advertising. Don't make the mistake of thinking that Phorm haven't thought about this.

  95. Louis


    Yes yes, I moved to CPW (Talk Talk) a while ago.

    Much more importanlty than this, WHERE IS MY FRIDAY FIX OF BOFH?

  96. John Latham

    @Groz Bat

    "You're saying that BT have the right to cut me off if my teenage son sends a song to his mates?"

    They have the right to warn you if they think your account is being used for something illegal. You have the right to refute the allegations.

    You can always configure your firewall to block P2P uploads if you don't trust your children.

    Now that DRM-free music is available legally at decent bitrates (I use for 320kbps MP3s), there is really no case for dodgy music sharing, IMO.

    For people too cheap to pay for files, or too lazy to buy and rip CDs, there is always exchanging music in person.

  97. frymaster

    Oh good god people, learn to read

    @about half the commenters

    "the BPI can't say p2p is illegal"

    they didn't

    "the BPI can't tell us to uninstall my P2P software"

    they didn't, thay told you to stop sharing copyrighted files and recommend uninstalling as a way to achieve that

    "so I should stop downloading linux now? lulz"

    if someone gets one of these letters that mentions a linux iso I will be highly amused and all the chickens in the country will be needed to supply the egg BT and the BPI would be applying to their faces. but I doubt it

    "they're reading my packets!"

    it even mentions in the article why interception is not needed

    "they should change their business model"

    your options are buy from them, or boycott. Moaning about how crap their business is while simultaneously stealing their stuff is a bit hipocritical

    "it'll never stand up in court"

    which is why it'll never _get_ to a court. it's an AUP violation, not a legal takedown

    "i depend on my internet access"

    then I would make sure it's used responsibly. drink-drive and you can lose your license, whether you need it for your job or not. let your brother / SO / sprogs whore your internet connection, expect to reap what has been sown...

    "the person could be sending unrelated crap"

    which is why bittorrent has error correction built in, to stop people poisoning the torrent. assuming they download the complete thing and listen to some of it, that is.

    which leads on to...

    "how good is their evidence?"

    Good point. If it's anything like the RIAA's it's laughable. One assumes they have proper procedures and BT have vetted them...*chokes trying to restrain laughter*

    But, again, you're being kicked off your ISP. Not a helluva lot you can do about it, really, unless you're rich and like taking imagined insults out of proportion.

    Thanks to the blessed few trying to inject sanity into this

  98. Mark

    Re: U don't Get it Gav

    And since the reason why Jammie got done for $220,000 for 24 songs was because "an uncountable number of people could have downloaded it". Since they already have damages paid, these 24 songs should be discounted. Or if we're done for them, then Jammie deserves her dosh back, since it's really just 1-for-1 on average.

  99. Mark

    Read yourself.

    '"the BPI can't say p2p is illegal"

    they didn't'

    Yup, they did.

    Not here. But they have said it.

    Here, it's BT telling you.

  100. Anonymous Coward


    1] Get rid of cheapskate persisent bandwidth hogging P2P downloading freetards

    2] Retain business customers who pay above the average for quiality support





    3] Profit!

  101. Gordy

    FUD about FON

    There seems to be some misunderstanding of how BT's Fon implementation works.

    Any traffic from a Fon guest on your router is tunneled back to BT Openzone by an IPSec VPN. It is attributable to the guest's Openzone account number, not to your IP address.

    So I'm afraid "it was a Fon user wot done it, guv" isn't a workable defense... of course completely open WiFi still is, but do you really want to go there?

    I wish the woefully uninformed FUD about Fon could be eliminated.

  102. anonymous sms

    Government BT: But it's OK when BT customers are targeted with theft

    In 2004 BT (Redstone) supplied B&B Services LLC premium rate telephone numbers to be used to bill on-line users for accessing internet porn sites.

    These 'revenue share' numbers then started to mysteriously appear on the bills of thousands of BT's customers.

    PhonePayPlus (Icstis) later fined B&B for using the numbers in illegal trojan dialler software,

    Despite the tens of thousands of complaints BT received they insisted their customers were responsible for these bills because BT was not responsible for what people did on the internet.

    It's strange that BT believe it's OK for 'companies' to defraud BT' customers through the internet and their billing platfom but completely wrong for a customer to download a damn music file.

    BT and the Government are bloody hypocrites.

  103. Pierre

    @Frymaster: I can troll too.

    ""the BPI can't say p2p is illegal"

    they didn't"

    They did, when they wrote "The BPI's evidence shows that a peer-to-peer application has been installed on a computer using your internet connection. Sound recordings have been copied and stored in the "shared files directory" of that computer. That directory is now accessible to other users of the peer-to-peer application. The sound recordings in that directory have then been made available to other members of the public via your internet connection. This is an infringement of the copyright in those sound recordings.". Most of it is actually technically impossible for them to know without direct access to the machine, which I suppose they don't have. So they base the whole stuff on having seen some p2p traffick to and from an IP. Them saying it's illegal IS them saying p2p is illegal.

    ""the BPI can't tell us to uninstall my P2P software"

    they didn't, thay told you to stop sharing copyrighted files and recommend uninstalling as a way to achieve that"

    Since when "we require" is used to introduce an advice?

    ""so I should stop downloading linux now? lulz"

    if someone gets one of these letters that mentions a linux iso I will be highly amused and all the chickens in the country will be needed to supply the egg BT and the BPI would be applying to their faces. but I doubt it"

    They will if you use a "copyrighted" name for the file. One metric ton of eggs coming.

    ""they're reading my packets!"

    it even mentions in the article why interception is not needed"

    You're right. And that's why they are clawless. Either they -illegally- intercept packets, or they have strictly no legal ground to stand on. Which brings us to the next:

    ""it'll never stand up in court"

    which is why it'll never _get_ to a court. it's an AUP violation, not a legal takedown"

    It's threat of heavy financial penalty AND deceptive threat of legal action. Re-read the letter, they DO say they will look further into it AND prosecute the girl if more evidence is found (which is also a deceptive claim that they do have legal-grade evidence).

    ""the person could be sending unrelated crap"

    which is why bittorrent has error correction built in, to stop people poisoning the torrent. assuming they download the complete thing and listen to some of it, that is."

    Right, except that poisonning the torrents is quite possible and has been extensively done by the BPI.

    "But, again, you're being kicked off your ISP. Not a helluva lot you can do about it, really,"

    They cut you off on the ground of unproven and unprovable allegations by a commercial entity known to have anything but ethics or scrupules. They have you pay for the service they don't provide. There's nothing you can do BUT suing the hell out of their asses. If your box can take a forensic analysis of course, because they'll loose the first trial -you just have to prove that they have no valid proof, which is easy- but I bet they'll counter-sue to try and have your machine analysed... and even if you're not sharing illegal files, you'r bound to have a pic of your kids or nephews in a swimming pool or whatever, possibly playing with a toy gun, for which you're going to jail, disgusting extreme paedo! So they rely on inertia, fear and stupid laws to make ridiculous threats while keeping their butt safe. Not exactly good guys. But we did know that already, right?

  104. Nix

    Go right ahead and cut it

    We'll see how pro-active BT is about cooperating with the BPI and RIAA's privacy invasion techniques when they have no customers left to threaten. I suspect that BT will find the internet service provision business to be a very lonely endeavor indeed if they cut off everyone who participates in file sharing.

  105. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Well said.

    Also, torrents have to upload in order to download, so downloading only is no cop out, even if still just morally wrong.

    Agents of the BPI are likely to participate in downloads repeatedly in order to monitor who else is participating. IP addresses are public. There is no violation of privacy nor illegal interception involved and if the material is pirated, then they justifiably have all the evidence they need to act with the ISPs cooperation, whether or not the traffic is encrypted.

    For the hard core, offshore anonymising proxies would provide some limited means to escape identification in the short term, until laws catch up everywhere. However they will be unable to supply bandwidth required for many users simultaneously and be easier to identify and take out with DDoS attacks.

    Or BPI agents seed with a 99.9% complete file and collect those hoping in vain that someone will turn up with the last piece.

    Either way, if one shares copyrighted material one is identifiable, and retrospectively - so don't do it. There is no such danger using p2p for Linux distros and other free software, so I'm not complaining at all.

    What we really need is for all ISPs everywhere to take this kind of strict action against owners of zombies and botnets and spyware webdens...

  106. Mark


    When you lose your drivers license, you get taken to court and your guilt has to be *proven*. First.

    So where's the court case for this action? I don't see them saying there will be one.

  107. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    What if..

    I have already bought the music? I have been buying music since 1968, I own hundreds of Vinal, cassette, 8track, and CDs. It would take me a lifetime to rip it (which i understand is no illegal as long as it's for my own personal use). so why can't download only the music i already own? how does the BPI now what music I own and what I don't? or do they classify ALL downloads via P2P software as illegal?

    Paris 'cause I'd P2P with her any time.

  108. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    an e-mail sequence with Pipex from a couple of years ago

    This is a complaint - and reply- from Pipex a couple of years ago. I have anonymized the links and IP addresses - to a point

    I never heard any more

    This appeared to be a fishing exercise




    I have to say I'm somewhat bemused by this mail

    While I have to admit to having downloaded stuff using Bittorrett

    (doesn't everyone????) to the best of my knowledge I've never

    downnloaded "Lemony Snickets". I would not want to anyway - it really

    does not appeal to me. Not quite my thing.

    What really confuses me is the implicit suggestion that I'm somehow responsible

    for its distribution - I have not ever, and have no intention of ever

    releasing Torrent files into the public domain. I've better things to

    do with my time. You can be quite sure I have no intention of

    distibuting in any way this film, which is really not to my taste.

    Regarding the alleged timing, as far as I can remember the only item I

    had downloading at the time was a copy of Mandrake Linux, which would

    be perfectly in accordance with the GNU licence, so the

    complaint does seem a surprise. I can only assume that BayTSP inc are


    1) Confused or

    2) Trying to shutdown all use of Bittorrent through inaccurate claims


    3) My computer has been zombied and is being used as a server without

    my knowledge. I think this unlikely, but I'll scan it again just in


    I'd be intrigued to see the proof that I'm responsible for this

    alleged "Copyright Infringment", and details of what the phrase

    actually means in this context. Also can BayTSP provide the IP address

    of whoever was responsible for the Torrent file behind this alleged

    breach? One thing is certain - it was not me!!!!!


    > Dear PIPEX Customer,

    > We have received a

    > complaint regarding an allegation of "Copyright Infringement"


    > As I am sure you are aware, this breaches our Acceptable Use

    > Policy, ( ) and many copyright

    > laws, namely the Berne Convention.


    > Please can you try and ensure that your account is not used for this type of alleged activity.


    > Please also reply to this email stating that you will not use

    > your PIPEX account for the alleged activity.


    > Notice ID: 22-5xxxxxxxx

    > x Apr 2005 09:38:11 GMT

    > PIPEX Internet

    > Dear Sir or Madam:

    > BayTSP, Inc. ("BayTSP") swears under penalty of perjury that

    > Paramount Pictures Corporation ("Paramount") has authorized BayTSP

    > to act as its non-exclusive agent for copyright infringement

    > notification. BayTSP's search of the protocol listed below has

    > detected infringements of Paramount's copyright interests on your

    > IP addresses as detailed in the attached report.

    > BayTSP has reasonable good faith belief that use of the material

    > in the manner complained of in the attached report is not

    > authorized by Paramount, its agents, or the law. The information

    > provided herein is accurate to the best of our knowledge.

    > Therefore, this letter is an official notification to effect

    > removal of the detected infringement listed in the attached report.

    > The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic

    > Works, the Universal Copyright Convention, as well as bilateral

    > treaties with other countries allow for protection of client's

    > copyrighted work even beyond U.S. borders. The attached

    > documentation specifies the exact location of the infringement.

    > We hereby request that you immediately remove or block access to

    > the infringing material, as specified in the copyright laws, and

    > insure the user refrains from using or sharing with others

    > Paramount's materials in the future (see, 17 U.S.C. §512).

    > Further, we believe that the entire Internet community benefits

    > when these matters are resolved cooperatively. We urge you to take

    > immediate action to stop this infringing activity and inform us of

    > the results of your actions. We appreciate your efforts toward this

    > common goal.

    > Please responed indicating the actions you have taken to resolve

    > this matter. The provided link has been assigned to this matter


    > For email correspondence, please reference the above Notice ID in

    > the subject line


    > Nothing in this letter shall serve as a waiver of any rights or

    > remedies of Paramount with respect to the alleged infringement, all

    > of which are expressly reserved. Should you need to contact me, I

    > may be reached at the following address:

    > Mark Ishikawa

    > Chief Executive Officer

    > BayTSP, Inc.

    > PO Box 1314

    > Los Gatos, CA 95031

    > v: 408-341-2300

    > f: 408-341-2399


    > *pgp public key is available on the key server at ldap://

    > Note: The information transmitted in this Notice is intended

    > only for the person or entity to which it is addressed and may

    > contain confidential and/or privileged material. Any review,

    > reproduction, retransmission, dissemination or other use of, or

    > taking of any action in reliance upon, this information by persons

    > or entities other than the intended recipient is prohibited. If

    > you received this in error, please contact the sender and delete

    > the material from all computers.

    > This infringement notice contains an XML tag that can be used to

    > automate the processing of this data. If you would like more

    > information on how to use this tag please contact BayTSP.

    > Evidentiary Information:

    > Notice ID: 53524

    > Recent Infringement Timestamp: 2 Apr 2005 23:27:39 GMT

    > Infringed Work: Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events

    > Infringing FileName:

    > Lemony.Snickets.A.Series.Of.Unfortunate.Events.XviD.TS-DreamCD

    > Infringing FileSize: 729005720

    > Protocol: BitTorrent

    > Infringing URL:


    > Infringers IP Address:

    > Infringer's DNS Name:

    > Infringer's User Name:

    > Initial Infringement Timestamp: 2 Apr 2005 23:27:39 GMT

    > ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    > Abuse Response Team


    > PIPEX

    > Support: 08450 77 83 24

    > Abuse Fax: 01707 29 95 94

    > website:

    > This e-mail is subject to:

  109. Suburban Inmate

    The actual technical logical reality... - for the remaining idiots. Seriously, if that or another *reputable* BitTorrent client isn't a resident of your "Digital Home" (PC) then why the fuck are you reading El Reg? I've gone without _superb games_ to avoid them smearing their copy-protection SHITE all over the walls of my internet abode.... Bioshock, I'm looking at you! Yup, you lost SALES because I and others aint gonna have you fuck with my system (ring 0 drivers) without my express permission. Hey I wonder if piratebay has a copy that won't... Same with you Sony/BMG, though luckily I never fell victim (r00t k!t), I'm not buying any more products of yours. Ever. Oh and the sony mobile phone I bought was a piece of shit too!

    Encryption and a tier-based filesharing protocol, with tiers of "trust" for peers and proxy services for those that are new, will step in. Sadly the paedos will most likely adapt this for their own ends, so some sort of distributed undesirable file hash table could help. Perhaps even involve users to rate random files to earn credibility. The Man will never eliminate filesharing, just make it take a little more effort.

    BT will send out these BS letters to people who ARE actually infringing "copyright". You do the time, you might possibly do the time. Can't argue with that under the current legal framework. Unless you're a "Rich Cocksucker" as defined by the late great George Carlin, see seriously, take a few seconds to listen to that and THINK about it.

    The ISPs will put off disconnection until proved by a court of law. Too much effort for most filesharers. With the ubiquity of wireless internet some bright spark will develop a prog to share directly via wifi. I wont obther posting a synopsis of my idea here.

    All that has happened is an agreement to harass users onto encrypted networks or, as a last resort, sneakernet. WTF? The "Sweex MO250" network I was borrowing is down? Oh well, hello "NETGEAR"! :-D Utter, utter fucktards of the highest caliber.

    Oh and by the way COPYRIGHT IS DEAD!!! http:/ please EVERYONE watch that film.

    Now I'm off to chill and drink, one of our few remaining freedoms in disUnited Kingdom.

  110. Pierre

    @ Andrew Haveland-Robinson

    "Agents of the BPI are likely to participate in downloads repeatedly in order to monitor who else is participating."

    I know that it's OK in the US to have break the law in order to catch potential baddies -which is ridiculous and dictatorial-, but it's only true when you're mandated by a law enforcement agency to do so. The BPI is NOT a law enforcement agency (their mercenary even less so). Plus I think that engaging in illegal activities to catch wrongdoers is not yet acceptable as a whole in the UK (which is good).

    "For the hard core, offshore anonymising proxies would provide some limited means to escape identification in the short term, until laws catch up everywhere. However they will be unable to supply bandwidth required for many users simultaneously and be easier to identify and take out with DDoS attacks."

    Until laws catch up? You mean, until the RIAA and MPAA have forced the US gov to put so much pressure on every foreign gov on the planet that they will all abandon their right to legislate and behave as sub-standard US states?

    Also, you suggest that every anonymising mecanism should be taken down by illegal means... Yay! Good, so the CIA can secretly abduct everyone googling "molotov cocktail" and deport them to Gitmo. (also true for the other thought polices, China springs to mind).

    I'm not saying that copyright infringement is good, but disproportionate and deceptive retaliation is always bad. See the whole paedo witch hunt, or try to fly to the US. Or try being a Brazilian guy in London tube.

    Basically you're expressing muppet-like views. And yes, I tend to overreact today. BOFH withdrawal syndrom I guess.

  111. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Practical CounterMeasures

    It is little wonder why more and more of the public are saying 'NO' to being ripped off by greedy music companies, and are instead using peer-to-peer file sharing technology to download for FREE!!

    With many P2P clients allowing the user to;

    1) Randomize the port used for incoming connections, each time the software is used.

    2) Either Enable or Force Protocol Encryption, to make it difficult for ISP's to track P2P traffic.

    3) Use 'Blocklists', most P2P clients can download and use one. A decent one can be found here: Alternatively free software like PeerGuardian can be used.

    How would ISP's and the music industry implement such a scheme?

    How would they cope with P2P using TOR to connect to the trackers to give a limited measure of anonymity. Or even using a matured I2P protocol in the future?

    Or even 3rd Generation networks such as ANtsP2P?

    The latest version (beta1.6.0) was released on 26 January 2008.

    Not to mention commercial VPN solutions ie Swedish based !!

  112. andreas koch

    stop p2p

    Is this the end of the BBC iPlayer?

  113. Watashi

    One step forwards, two steps back

    With data transfer rates expanding and with web storage costs shrinking, the replacement for P2P is already in use and growing in popularity. Rapidshare and it's like will soon replace P2P, causing even greater traffic jams and will lead to the government allowing ISPs and the BPI snooping on your internet use.

    In fifty years time we'll all be subscribing to some kind of flat-rate unlimited (or high volume) music use service. Why do we have to go through all this b*llsh*t to get from where we were ten years ago to the blindingly obvious outcome?

  114. le jono

    Bt you have failed us for the last time

    I work for BT, I know how bad they are. Their systems are old and out of date and customers details really aren't taken full care of.

  115. CockKnocker

    there are ways....

    For now, encrypt your torrents (azurus is good), install the vidalia bundle and you are as secure as you can be.

    And there is an alternate on the horizon goin by the name .p2p :

    And for now you can use newsleecher that is pretty hard to track too.

  116. This post has been deleted by its author

  117. Huw Evans


    Just a few comments.

    Disclaimer, I can't think of anything more crap than current 'music,' have no interest in american 'movies', have no interest in gaming or such activities so have no real interest in p2p per se.

    I don't see how the self appointed arbiters of law, BT and BPI, are able to use this kind of monitoring to prevent file sharing on the flimsiest of evidence while letting people who are part of a known botnet keep using their account. If it's good enough for one perceived breach of law it should be good enough for all.

    I partly concurr that the responsibility for securing a router should be the consumer, but the ISP should help by blocking / informing these compromised users. As they don't I can only assume that they are scared of losing income from these people. If so, why are they happy to lose file sharing customers ? How much, or what, are they getting in return from the BPI ?

    Another thought for ISP's: I would think that quite a lot of customers are signing up for their expensive packages because they want to share files or download music / movies, utube etc. How will this type of ruling by an ISP affect their income stream? Do theyconsider that paying customers are secondary to the ridiculous demands of a dying industry that can't see where it's going wrong ?

    Sorry, I can't understand the short sighted view taken by ISP's and the like in situations like this.

  118. Mark

    Re: Practical CounterMeasures

    Actually, I'd use the blocklists as a whitelist. Anything I share out there is to the licensed agents of the copyright holders (unless it's copyright me), so no problem letting them take a copy. Anything they share with me is from the licensed agents of the copyright holders (unless they are going to be in the dock with me).

    Ergo, anything I do find is fine and anything they find is either putting them in jail or fine too.

  119. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ""Agents of the BPI are likely to participate in downloads repeatedly in order to monitor who else is participating."

    I know that it's OK in the US to have break the law in order to catch potential baddies -which is ridiculous and dictatorial-, but it's only true when you're mandated by a law enforcement agency to do so. The BPI is NOT a law enforcement agency (their mercenary even less so). Plus I think that engaging in illegal activities to catch wrongdoers is not yet acceptable as a whole in the UK (which is good)."

    And since when has downloading material that you already own ever been illegal?

    Face it, they have more right to participate in illegal swarms than anyone else!

    Shooting people is illegal. However, in America they have a legal right to kill thieves on their land! Go figure. A server dishing out material illegally would be fair game for a DDoS attack, and would probably have legal support if requests for it to stop failed.

    The BPI is trying to get justice for its members - everyone has to make a living, and the law is on THEIR side, not the leechers.

    Would you also like to ban store detectives too because they try to prevent shoplifting?

    @CockKnocker, encryption is no defence - it only hides content, not ports or involvement. If your ip was noticed to be involved in a swarm downloading the latest film, and the ISP shows you to be logged on at the time, then you could conceivably get a knock at the door and a search warrant for your hard drives, and be arrested if they are also encrypted and you don't provide the key. If you used open proxies, then the traffic can also be traced through a chain of machines - tedious, but possible.

    Such is the direction that rampant p2p and terrorism laws are forcing us into, and no, I would not at all be happy about this either!

    So why should people get stuff for free and rip off those that deserve to be paid for the work they do? I agree that the record companies are greedy and can be overpriced, but market forces of supply and demand should dictate that. If they want to charge too much and few will buy, then they can go and sit on it. Artists also have another option and can go direct to their audience.

    p2p has changed the media industry forever and forced the industry to reconsider their practises. As legal downloads have minimal distribution costs and there are many competitors then prices should be affordable and noone should complain about paying for something that gives pleasure that someone has worked damned hard to produce.

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