back to article Now Hollywood is chasing UK downloaders

Tiscali threatened to disconnect a customer for illegally downloading a TV show last week, after receiving a copyright infringement notice from a Hollywood studio. The only problem was the customer had quit the ISP months before the alleged transgression was made. Euan MacLay had been a customer of Freedom2Surf (F2S) for two …


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  1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    What about the rest of us?

    I was quite happily not downloading loads of files with AOL unlimited until it ws taken over by Crapphoney Whorehouse. They then proceeded to diddle me out of my account by making it virtuallu unusable.

    Now because I already had a line with the swear-words circumvented I am with the limited Talk Talk service.

    No real problem but I do like to wartch the occasional You Tube item.

  2. Darren B

    Doesn't suprise me with Tiscalli

    Couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery

    My sister left them to go to Sky and they continued to charge her, when she asked for it back, instead of getting her money back Tiscalli called the Bailiffs in to collect the money they had already collected.

    To this day she still does not have the money although the hounds are no longer involved. It actually took my sister to send the Bailiffs the letters to get them to go away. Being nice bailiffs they didn't say anymore or apologise for their lord and masters mistake.

  3. Adam White

    Infringer's user name?

    So where'd they get that from then? The ISP? The torrent tracker? What is it supposed to represent?

  4. Andy
    Black Helicopters


    Presumably the evil downloader has now been added to the database of terrorists and other enemies of capitalism and will be deep probed at any airport he visits for the rest of his days. I do hope he pursues Freedom2Surf for every penny they have (as an example to others).

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Downloaders move en-masse to Tiscalli then

    Looks like all down loaders need to move to Tiscalli as there is ample evidence that they cannot match ip with id.

  6. Wokstation

    @Darren The answer's simple

    Get your sister to send the bailiffs to Tiscali. Seriously.

    Issue a small claims notice, take 'em to SC court adding punative costs and send the bailiffs. Who knows, maybe they'll confiscate a couple of servers to pay the debt...

  7. Mike Street


    They have an 'Abuse Team' - excellent! I guess their mission statement is 'We abuse our customers'.

  8. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Hollywood in Decline .... with Capitol Hill Politics Smashing the Golden Goose Eggs

    Actually, the very first paragraph of the "flawed(pdf)" contains the rotten apples which are spoiling the barrel.

    "The latter activities, however, are perceived as a threat to the business models of the copyright holders"

    The threats perceived are really against all the parasitic business models sucking their life blood from copyright holders/creative minds, and copyright holders business models being threatened is a invented red herring being used to mask the Fraud and Conspiracy. And it is Typical of Failed Agents/Stock which cannot Properly Look after their Stars.

    Just as well that there is Virtually Real Democratic Change on ITs Way and in the AIRWaves to Prevent Total Collapse with Catastrophic Meltdown.

  9. christopher


    Cool- The file is still available for download. Thanks Tiscalli. :)

  10. Frederick Karno
    Thumb Down

    There must be a mistake....

    So with tongue firmly in check these are one of the isp's who are going to hand on the unchecked assertations of the BPI,it is just incredible the excuses they can come up with.

    Automated system error,why is something as important as this handled by anything other than a person ???? are they snowed under with these notices.

    Let this be a lesson to all Tiscali customers this is the level of service you can expect on all matters . I would hope that this persons details werent passed backwards to Baytsp, because if they were ,data protection laws will have been broken by Tiscali as well, but perhaps they have an Automated system in place to ensure that cant happen.

    If this person had still been with Tiscali ,unless it was a static ip address they would have been in a situation they could probably have not defended ,you should at least expect your isp to know who has what ip address down to the second,most dynamic ip users would never dream of logging what ip address they were on for each session ,perhaps they should now think of doing it.....or getting an isp who can.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Guilty until you prove yourself innocent

    I too strongly, "believe that the entire Internet community benefits when these matters are resolved cooperatively". Shame there is no resolution ... and no cooperation on the part of these companies... what we have instead is persecution via written threat in a world rife with phishing scams... there can be no winner, we are all losing. It shouldn't be long now before the only thing you are permitted to do with your internet connection is pay your electric bill, buy books and read unmissable offers to get your breasts enlarged, penis extended and, naturally, "win" 250,000,000 USD.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture


    If I create, say 1,000,000 text files , rename them to latest-movie-pirated.avi and upload said text file to Kazaa will I get one of these or are the studios lackeys downloading files to check they are what they purport to be? and if they do download them will they be the next to receive on of these emails?

  13. Big Dave

    Is this starting to sound like Extortion?

    Ok, not in this particular case, but it seems these letters are demanding money when no guilt has been legally established, ie. there is no attempt to punish an infringement, just a demand for money with menaces.

    They seem to be playing the same kind of numbers game that email scammers do. Maybe I should give it a go?

    "Dear Sir

    You have photographed me in the backgraound of one of your Facebook pictures. I did not authorise my picture being used so pay me £300 or I'll take you to court."

    Bound to hit one or two old biddies who'll be scared into paying up.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    @Darren B

    Interesting - I had the exact same experience recently, moving from Pipex to Sky. Except I had a premonition that it wouldn't go smoothly, so I cancelled the direct debit after my final payment, with the result that they haven't taken any more money but they have sent thousands of emails and left voicemails threatening disconnection, ballifs etc.

    I recommend that anyone still with them

    a) Moves to someone else

    b) Cancels the direct debit or changes credit card straight after

    c) Prepares to be deluged with threats by their collections department

    In an industry characterized by poor customer service these people are the worst by a mile.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Fuck em

    I get the impression now that its not even the content holders doing this anymore, its the "ambulance chasers", the scumbag little agencies and contractors whose job it is to scare money out of people.

    Why would MGM give a shit about us watching Atlantis, especially since hardly any of us can watch the thing (thanks to Virgin and Sky parting ways), and even less in HD.

    So we're the FANS, who inevitably buy all the boxsets, and upcoming DVD-only movies, anyway.

  16. James

    Tiscali - robbed me too!

    I also left Tiscali for Sky, they carried on billing me, I've asked them for it back, and managed to get a cheque for about £4 even though they'd charged me for a whole month.

  17. Boris Blank
    Black Helicopters

    Still using indirect detection - wow

    The linked pdf describing detection techniques is downright scary! Are people actually going to end up in court based on indirect detection? Legally it sounds like a shakey basis to do anything as you're assigning guilt based on a list held by a 3rd party, rather than proving participation.

    It'll be interesting to see if studios go after downloads of first run versions of shows, i.e. not DVD rips. Those probably increase DVD sales in the UK, as folks get hooked on shows that would otherwise only be seen by the minority who pay through the nose for $ky.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Darren B

    Send the Bailiffs to get the money back.

    Take them (not the Bailiffs) to the small claims court.

    The only way these people will learn is through their pockets, bad publicity does not work, they are merely the internet equivalent of box shifters.

  19. Michael Fremlins

    An apology is not enough

    F2S should be reported to the Office of the Information Commissioner (or whatever it's called). Data has been kept which is clearly innaccurate. An apology doesn't cut it.

  20. Dark Hippo


    If I were the accused, I'd be very tempted to let them take me to court, then in my defense, produce a single sheet of paper confirming my account termination. Bet that would embarass them.

    @Wokstation - Didn't someone do that to Tesco's a while ago? I remember reading in the paper that the baliffs cordoned off the alcohol isle and started working out how much they'd have to take to settle the debt

  21. Ferry Boat

    Jabber Hockey

    The race to offer cheaper and cheaper services had seen the standard of customer service go from not bad in the old days of ISPs to atrocious in the current time of media delivery companies. Stories like the one in this article show that the back room procedures are suffering too.

    The people who have bad stories about their internet provider must outnumber the people who don't. A quick straw pole here reveals a 60-40 (ish) split with the bad stories winning the day. I think that's a bit low but maybe the bad story people are more vocal.

    I suspect an ISP who could offer a decent speed, no Phorm and customer service agents who are intelligent would cost much more than we currently pay. Now, would they get any subscribers?

  22. Alan Fisher

    Criminalise us all!

    Criminalise the masses; add the new burdon of Fear and Guilt now that religion no longer excercises such holds on the general populace! The government backs this carp as it gives them power and lets them...legally (fuzzy area this privacy issue eh?) monitor what it's inmates are doing.....I think some form of protest will soon be in order, by Eris!

  23. Tony

    Chase me, chase me...


    "Just as well that there is Virtually Real Democratic Change on ITs Way"

    I do hope so - but I regret to say that I've got a feeling that the Dems are once again going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.


    "Issue a small claims notice"

    Couldn't agree more. One of the best things ever invented - I've used it on several occasions and never once have I been let down by the system. Each time I received my money back and with expenses, twice the court sent the bailiffs round to recover the money. If they were hit by a couple dozen of these, although the amounts would be small, the bad press might wake them up.

  24. dervheid

    Just eagerly waiting...

    for one of these POS letters to arrive.

    We have NEVER used any torrent, of any kind, and have never downloaded anything counter to "copyright". (No, I'm not a feckin saint, just not interested in being a 'freetard')

    I plan to cite demanding money with menaces, for threatening to take court action over a non-existent event unless I cough up.

    This is 'legitimised' extortion, and must be stopped.

  25. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Tiscali - robbed me too!

    And me. Went to TalkTalk (yes yes I know) two months ago, Tiscali say they weren't told, so they've carried on merrily billing me.

    Hate to do the 'tch, politicians/service providers/banks/etc they're all the same', but really, I loathe them all.

  26. David Simpson

    Claim against direct debit.

    Why do any of you idiots leave the direct debit running ?

    Although if you do you can claim the money back from direct debit themselves.

    Tiscali are Italian, no mafia jokes Reg ?

  27. Simon O'Hare

    Re: Tiscali - robbed me too!

    And me. When I moved house last Bulldog told me they'd put my new service in on my old account, whereas they'd actually opened a new account and then left both running (and billing). Due to new baby sleep deprivation I ended up £400 out of pocket before I noticed. They did eventually pay up, but it took about eight months and legal threats. When I joyfully left their service I cancelled the direct debit as a first point of call, then had to suffer months of money demands as they tried to bill for a service I didn't have.

    From forum posts and the like I gained the strong impression that leaving DDs running is company policy for Tiscali.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TV shows?

    I'm not one for downloading movies/music en masse, but I've always thought TV shows weren't too bad, especially shows I have no legal option to view. It's not as if I could nip over to the US every week to watch TV (so they're not losing legitimate audience numbers/advertising revenue or channel subscription).

    The best thing they can do is reduce the gap between US and UK showings (Sky have made some progress on this), get them on DVD quicker, or get them officially downloadable.

  29. Anonymous Coward


    Other than a service that keeps dropping & reestablishing connection since they installed their own junk in my local exchange, I have actually been quite happy with the service I've had from TalkTalk.

    But then I was with BT before, so what do I know? (well, other than I won't be going back to BT until they drop their prices, dump Phorm and actually listen to me when I call them...)

    The only time I downloaded a film from a Torrent site was to make sure I wanted to go and buy the DVD from my local store (for the sneaky-beaky lawyers hiding amongst us, I did go and purchase it later the same day).

    Given that burning the film onto a DVD costs less than £1 and the Chancellor only steals about £2.40-odd as "value"-added tax, the film company is making a tidy profit from a DVD costing me £13.99...

    As for paying the "copyright enforcers" £300 to avoid going to court, I'd like to see their Expert Witness prove that my wireless router is 100% secure and that NOBODY can have accessed the Intnernet via my connection... it's secure enough to stop the local kiddies (and my innocent but IT-illiterate neighbours who cannot set up a wireless link to their own Routers to save their lives!) from using my link, but anyone with a bit of knowledge (and some sneaky software) can break the so-called 'encryption' on it quite easily... Against the average User I'd say it's about 99.95% safe (there's always that million-to-one chance) but against some of the people I've worked with (and that's just the honest ones!) I'd put it closer to transparent if I left 'em near it for a day...

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Tiscalli - Dont know who is connected to their services

    Bulldog another one of Tiscalli newly acquired subsidiaries decided in January this year that they would no longer serve SDSL gave me a months notice that they would cancel my account. Having moved and setup with another service. Bulldog continued to send the invoices for 2 more months. They insisted that I was still using the service that they no longer provided. After a vast amount of time on the phone and a few heated discussions finally they dropped all charges. Yet another example of Tiscalli not knowing who is or is not connected to its services.

  31. John Edwards
    Paris Hilton

    Lawyerspeak for "fuck off"

    First reply:_


    Your communication dated xxxx is to hand this day and its contents noted.

    Yours truly,

    Second reply:-


    I draw your attention to my letter of xxxx.

    Yours truly,

    Paris because, oh, you know why.

  32. Thomas Bottrill


    "Cancels the direct debit or changes credit card straight after"

    Or get the credit card company to do a charge back, if you continue being charged on your credit card.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    I love Tiscali

    They neglected to bill me for a year before I moved house. Can't complain about that.

    They (years) later issued press releases about a 'billing error' and said they would be writing to all the people they 'forgot' to bill demanding their money. Tiscali, meet OFCOM regs that say telecom providers have (I think it's 90) days to issue an accurate bill to your customers or you lose the right to bill them (to stop BT issuing gigantic bills to grannies due to their errors no doubt).

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    And me!

    Tiscali seem to have problems with termination notices. Switched to Sky a couple years back when living with my brother, and changed the service to under his name. They claimed to not have received the notice, even though there was an email trail and they had sent me a survey asking why we had cancelled the service!

    Meanwhile, I left to China for a stint, and Tiscali had the baliffs threatening to nick - sorry, "seize" - all my brother's stuff to pay the bill if he didn't tell them my new address. He told them where to shove that threat and to talk to his lawyers.

    Would have been interested how they planned to enforce the seizure in China though...

  35. Steve

    Easy answer

    Stop watching their stuff, go and do something more interesting instead!

  36. John Robson Silver badge

    @ AC

    " I have actually been quite happy with the service I've had from TalkTalk.

    But then I was with BT before, so what do I know? (well, other than I won't be going back to BT until they drop their prices, dump Phorm and actually listen to me when I call them...)"

    Umm - Talk Talk are in bed with phorm as well...

  37. David Farrell

    Where's the proof?

    Ok, so they have proof that you downloaded a file called "Stargate.Atlantis.S05E02.HDTV.XviD-0TV.avi", but where's the proof that this file actually contained said tv show?

  38. wildmonkeyuk


    That episode of Atlantis wasn't even one of the better one's anyway so they should be greatful that people are even watching a truely great show which has been on a slow decline since the 3rd series.

    Pirate symbol - well arrrrrgh and shiver-me-timbers ;)

  39. Tim

    You steal, you get arrested...


    What you don't seem to realise that it is illegal to get hold of copyrighted material without the express permission of the copyright holder.

    If you see downloading as not doing anything wrong, you are wrong, you may choose to ignore this fact but its correct. It's like going into a shop and stealing the DVDs off the shelves or petrol from a garage. An old argument I know, but it is still true.

    Btw I used to work for Tiscali when the calls were taken in the UK and it's true, they couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery.

  40. Ash

    Fined £300

    Where did they pluck this £300 figure from eh? Greedy bastards, the penalty far outweighs the crime IMO.

  41. Anonymous Coward

    Good ol' Tiscali

    In the days of dial up I once signed up with Tiscali as they were offering a free month's trial and being a student I needed to save as much money as possible. As they wanted card details that they were saying that they were only going to start debiting after my free month and I didn't want to risk forgetting to cancel, I entered 4111 1111 1111 1111 as the card number, which is a commonly used test number that validates using the card checking algorithm. This worked and allowed me to sign up for my free month.

    Surprisingly (or not) my internet access continued into month 2 without any contact from Tiscali. In fact it was a whole 9 months before they sent me a letter saying my card details were out of date and that I'd have to ring them to register new ones if I was to continue using the service. At that point I just cancelled my account with no further charges.

  42. Law

    I would be screwed...

    if I used bittorrent, and they sent me one of this emails! Why? Because I am with sky, and I already have a gmail account, so never check the sky-hacked-gmail account that sky gave me when I registered my account. Given a few of these letters I have no doubt I would be summoned to court, and that would be the first I would hear about it! :S

    Luckily - I don't use bittorrent, but looking at this article, I obviously don't need to!! :(

    To the people complaining about Tiscali - I've never used them, but I have used NTL. They did a number on me when I moved house, kept my old house service running, sending all demands for payment to that address (because they set up a new directdebit for my new address). This was done through their automated "move home service". After months and months, I realised I had a default on my account - so it took me 2 months to get it removed and the account cleared of debt. A year later, Virgin took over, a new default appeared on my credit file, and I had to threaten them with legal action before they recognised the mistake. Gotta love these awesome service providers no? I now make sure nobody I know who listens to me goes to Virgin for bb, tv or phone.

    Flame - burn em all!!

  43. paulc

    idiot ex-customer...

    should have let it get to court... then the entire system could have been brought into question... especially the practice of passing details to the copyright holders... In Germany, an IP address and the details associated with it are now classed as private data...

    Currently this practice is a little too like speeding tickets generated by Gatsos... you get a ticket in the mail asking you to accept the fine and plead guilty by post or else fighting it in court with all the associated costs and higher fine possibility.

  44. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton

    Sounds like

    Sounds like all the wowsers running T's could not find their rear posteriors with a car boot sale selling right arms and a dozen free full length mirrors thrown in for a good measure and their left arms appear to be incapable of holding any balls too !

  45. Luke Wells

    How is a timestamp evidence?

    This is the thing that _really_ annoys me about the music/movie industry allegations :-

    What does a timestamp prove?

    How is it evidence?

    Could it be used in a courtroom?

    For example, I could just type out the following now :-

    Time/Date : 29/08/2008 - 12:15:44

    Protocol : Spazshare

    Username : Theregister

    IP Address :

    Material : Stargate

    Filename : Stargate(e102)HD-DVD-rip.avi

    So i've put a filename on a piece of paper along with an ip address that happens to belong to the register, that doesn't prove they were doing anything.

    I can't see how any logs/lists/timestamps can even remotely be considered evidence, surely the only proof is physical evidence (i.e. confiscation and forensic examination of the hard drive that the file was allegedly shared from)

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Don't want the nasty letter?

    Then don't break the law! Why all the P2P criminals moan and rant beats me. They are breaking the law, they know they are breaking the law, and still the break the law.

    We can argue over the nastiness of Holywood (and DVD regions get right on my tits) but the law is the law. Don't like it, lobby for it to be changed.

    But if you break it, do not come crying to me when you get caught. Idiots.

  47. Parax

    Orange Burgled my account...

    It was orange for me, Moved from Orange to BE in Feb (best thing ever!) Orange continued billing my account, I stopped the DD, next they phoned me about my debt, at which point the lady on the phone immediatly realised.. she didn't read the script, and said..oh dear ermm i see there is a problem here.. she apologisedand unfortunatly I had to re-setup a direct debit so they could refund me... I was not happy about that!

  48. Dan


  49. Brendan Murphy


    "It's like going into a shop and stealing the DVDs off the shelves or petrol from a garage. An old argument I know, but it is still true."

    Except it's not true, which is why copyright infringement does not result in a prosecution for theft.

  50. Mark

    re: You steal, you get arrested...

    "What you don't seem to realise that it is illegal to get hold of copyrighted material without the express permission of the copyright holder."

    Nope, it is a civil tort. Not a crime.

    Selling it is a crime but one of fraud: you do not have the right to sell it on unless it is a legitimate copy and if you are representing it as a legitimate copy for sale you are defrauding.

  51. Daniel Pimley

    @Jabber Hockey

    "I suspect an ISP who could offer a decent speed, no Phorm and customer service agents who are intelligent would cost much more than we currently pay. Now, would they get any subscribers?"

    Zen Internet. And yes, they do.

  52. go


    How dare they accuse anyone of watching Stargate, that surely is the biggest crime!

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just Tiscali

    I phoned to cancel NTHell* when I knew for certain I was moving, and was advised "that's fine, give us a weeks' notice". A month later I did just that, and canceled the DD. A month later I got a letter saying "oh, you've canceled the DD, call us immediately and cough up." I called, spoke to a git who insisted I'd not given sufficient notice and I owed them for an entire extra month (as opposed to the extra 3 weeks that would have made up the full notice period they'd neglected to mention when I called to specifically query it). Fuming, I called OFTEL, listened patiently to their recorded message, then called NTHell back.

    "Hello, can I have your postal address please?"

    "Erm, why do you need that?"

    "Oh, it's just I've been told by OFTEL that I need to submit my complaint to you in writing and give you three months to solve it to my satisfaction before they'll get involved, so I want to send that off today before last post."

    "Um, er, um..."

    Some frantic backpedalling later, I was assured that I would received confirmation that my account was closed, and that I owed them nothing. Can't remember if I ever actually got that letter, but I certainly didn't get any more demands for money or visits from bailiffs.

    (* OK, it was 3 years ago, Virgin may be better but they aren't in the area I now live in so I can't test that theory even if I were tempted)

  54. Simon B

    I'd of played them!

    I'd of replied bring it on! and watch the mess unfold:

    Prosecution: So you deny stealing b downloading?

    Defence: Ummm yep, if you check your records you'll see you don't even provide me with broadband and haven't for over 3 months!!

    Prosecution: Eh? .. But ....

    DUMB ASS!!

  55. Christoph

    @ John Edwards

    Actually, no. Lawyerspeak for "fuck off" is "I respectfully refer you to the reply in Arkell v. Pressdram".

  56. Anonymous Coward

    @Tim - Rhubarb!

    Theft of a physical object prevents the owner selling it.

    Downloading a TV program or similar does not in any way affect how the owner can sell or distriubute it - if it does not deprive them of income, what has been 'stolen'?

    Generally, if you download something you would not have bought anyway, no-ones finances or business are affected so just where, morally, is the wrongdoing?

    Personally, I find I buy more stuff because I have the facility to try it 'for free' first - I quite often find stuff that I like that I would never have considered buying from the info on the box or whatever.

  57. Phill Holland


    what happens if you have proof that not only had you downloaded stargate, but also purchased the DVD set anyway?

    reasons for downloading, pirate version have that annoying "you wouldn't steal a handbag" message removed. Handbags don't have big warning signs on the side pointing out the consequences. nor do torrent application.

    besides which using a torrent application isn't illegal and isn't evidence of guilt. (unless you use it to download copyrighted material, but who knows for sure if it really is copyrighted?)

    Surely targetting the distributor of the torrent is a better way to go.

  58. Anonymous Coward

    Hmm... I wonder ...

    What would happen if you downloaded a program you already owned on VHS?

  59. Lloyd
    Black Helicopters

    I'd have told them

    to stick it where the sun don't shine and do yer worst then,it only makes them look worse in the long run.

  60. Anonymous Coward

    Good ol' Tiscali

    Good ol' fraud...

    you still should have cancelled after the first month! to attempt to continue with any card number you are not entitled to use is still fraud. Giving a false card number is akin to using false number plates. admittedly it is also there fault for not verifying or persuing it... but if they had...

    a long while back (about 7 years now..) a friend moved in temporerily and plugged in his cable modem to our cable point (we were not cable customers, his account was cancelled he had moved house), but the mac was still permitted to use the system for 9 months! I am surprised at the laxness of some companies...

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    who is still usingTiscali thoroughly deserves what they get. Nuff said.

  62. Anonymous Coward

    Re Jabber Hockey

    There’s a few ISP's left of that nature Jabber not least Andrews and Arnold, Zen Internet, Newnet and a couple of others.

    The problem I see as a net user of many years is that customers no longer want an Internet Service Provider that charges a fair price for what they offer what they do want is an all you can eat for very little cost, comms provider and this provides the big boys like BT, Carphone, Tiscali and their like to buy up all those well known long established ISP's we all loved a while back when they were good such as Pipex, Demon all who have now ended up in a Telco providing the UK internet community with absolutely very little worth or value.

    They play the numbers game, they don’t care about you or me or our internet experience despite all the marketing bull.

    They take your £10 a month and have to traffic shape, restrict your usage, slow it right down not because they want to but at £10 a month have no choice because they can’t keep putting in Centrals and similar to pay for the demand your putting on them in your usage.

    Sadly there are too many non plussed consumers out there who happily take the shite these ISP's provide and Ofcom and similar allow this to happen time and time again?

    Why? Look at the money they make and the fact they represent around 90% of the market it’s a quick win and easy target to keep them in line why do you think regulators and government are so keen to work with them. I think we should all be supporting our Independent ISP's by paying for what we use but by doing so we retain the one thing that's just about left in this country which is Independent customer service focused ISP's who care about what you get and how you use it in your favour. As I mentioned at the start there’s not many left and I can see a point soon where IO will have no Internet choice left beyond top 6 to ten big names providing mediocre and much of the same product, poor service and an internet experience that they control not I as a net user.

    Turn the tables on the big boys who couldn’t care less about your experience as a customer and maybe issues like the one highlighted in this Register item will be few and far between.

  63. James Pickett


    "Now Hollywood is chasing UK downloaders"

    Now they know they can extradite them!

    Let's hope they catch a few senior Home Office types...

  64. Pat

    FFS Reg stop say it's downloading when it's sharing that gets people busted

    No-one has been prosecuted, fined or threatened with legal action for *downloading*. It's always for *sharing* content. BitTorrent users are almost always uploading while they're downloading, so they are participating in the illegal sharing of content.

    Courts would be unlikely to award heavy damages for only downloading - the copyright owner could only say they'd lost a single sale, whereas for sharing they can make some kind of statistical claim to have lost multiple sales.

    Also, it's possible a court would decide they couldn't prove the person hadn't already bought the content, as I understand it there's a bit of a grey area as to whether it would be illegal to download something you'd already bought.

    Finally, it's only by sharing content that people get caught - if you're sending bit's of a file to someone, that person can ID you. Just downloading is beyond their visibility at the moment.

    It would be helpful if you'd make this distinction in your reporting. Not to do so undermines your authority as a knowledgable IT site.

  65. Robin Kinge
    Thumb Up

    To Daniel Pimley

    Agreed :) Zen are pretty damn good...


  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have some!

    This is really is turning into ambulance chasing. As a lawyer, I thought Davenport Lyons would have known better than to get involved with this - anyone jumping on the bandwagon deserves to get their fingers burnt (and will, sooner or later).

    The evidence is pretty feeble when you look at it. They've got your IP address, but was the network secure? Might next door's 14 year old be leaching off your wifi? What was actually in the file? If they're saying it was Alice in Wonderland, but it was actually Rampant Dogs and Midgets 8, they'll lose. Did you even complete the download? If you didn't, you only attempted to breach copyright.

    At some point, surely, somebody is going to have the sense to challenge them on this! I just hope it's in the US where the can hit them for punitive damages.

    As for this case, I'd say Tiscali are looking at some pretty major data protection breaches, and the letter is libellous anyway, so it might be time to crack the whip. If ISPs start getting fined for giving out the wrong details, they might just think twice next time.

  67. Radu

    Crap service

    I cannot believe that in UK the ISPs are still offering services with usage allowance!!

    Take for example a well known ISP who offers a connection up to 8Mbps at 14£ but with a usage allowance of 15GB/month.

    Let's consider an average speed of 4Mbps. How long it would take you to reach the 15GB limit ? 15*1000*8/4 seconds => 30000 seconds or ~ 8.5 hours.

    Now, how may hours are in a month? 30*24 = 720 hours/month

    8.5 hours out a month = 1.2 % This is what they are selling you, this is how much you are allowed to use their service! 1.2 % from the time.

    I Can't believe that in this country people take this!! And then, even the "unlimited" service is subject to "fair usage policy"!!

    Take a look at what they are offering just over the channel ( for 24£: 28Mpps Internet + TV + Phone! No hidden taxes, no fair-usage -policy, no extortion or no solicitors after you because you just wanted to catch with the latest stupid show you are hooked up to.

    Try to even dream of that in UK.

    But coming to the point of this thread: Hollywood still lives in the VHS/DVD era whereas the world is evolving to the HD streaming era, where you can watch anything anywhere almost for free. Money will come from ads and subcription to the service. And people will not break copyright laws simply because it will not be worth to spend your time downloading. Change is scarry and they are just trying to protect their cash-cows.

    Unfortunatelly this change cannot happen as long as the ISPs will offer crap. The ISP networks are the highways of the future. If UK will not have highways, then it cannot move forward.

  68. davenewman

    What about licences?

    It is possible to get licences to record, store, and publicly replay TV broadcasts for schools and universities (a few hundred pounds a year to the Copyright Licencing Agency). So why can't they offer the same licences (a few hundred pounds a year) for TV transferred over the Internet?

  69. Bill Cumming

    I wonder why they bothered....

    Stargate Atlantis has been cancelled anyway! Apart from the inevitable Direct to SKY / DVD movies.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On the phone now...

    "But then I was with BT before, so what do I know? (well, other than I won't be going back to BT until they drop their prices, dump Phorm and actually listen to me when I call them...)"

    Actually, I'm on the phone to BT now trying to find out why things have magically appeared on the bill.They charge a disconnection fee of £6 for the broadband. I said that I never signed the contract, someone else did, to which they replied that it was a verbal contract. When I pointed out that the person who made the contract has left the country, they offered to waive it. They still seem committed to charging me extra line rental under the 'two weeks' notice' rule. They disconnected the phone, but charged me for another ten days...

    Amusingly, they sent me a letter threatening disconnection if I didn't pay soon.

  71. Simon Dragon


    It would be a lot simpler if the companies made the video available online, even for a small fee. Any waffle about 'not enough bandwidth' is bullshit, given how the 'net is already swimming in illegal data blatting around the place.

    It boils down to control. The studios had it, and they're losing it so they're making a screech. Sure, they have to protect their interests - I would protect mine in a similar situation, we all would. But for doing it this way they're a bunch of tossers.

  72. Tom Kelsall


    For those of you tempted to "let it go to court and then present your cancellation notice"... FORGET IT. You have a legal duty as the Defendant OR the Plaintiff to make any information available which may make the visit to Court unnecessary - Civil Procedure Rules (the legally binding process for Civil Court Action) make clear that a Court hearing is an absolute last resort and every effort MUST be made to avoid it.

    If you did this, you may lose the case and you may also be found in contempt. Now - if you told them a few times in writing FIRST, and put it in your Defence, and THEN attended Court and waved the bit of paper about... that's a different matter.

  73. Anonymous Coward

    @Good ol' fraud...

    If I was using someone else's card details then it would be fraud, but 4111 is not a real card number. If they'd have attempted to debit it after the first month then they would have realised that it was declined and they should have told me immediately so I could have given them my number. Btw, driving with false plates is not classed as fraud either.

  74. Mark

    @Tom Kelsall

    You forget: before you can go to the court you have to present your evidence to both the court and the defendant.

    At that point, either they have given you their "proof" that you owe them money or they haven't. If they haven't, just send the court a reminder of this fact and ask that it be summarily dismissed.

  75. Squits


    So can I get taken to court for downloading Stargate? I have Sky, so therefore my downloads of Atlantis when it comes out shouldn't matter as within a fortnight they get broadcast over Sky anyway... Obv I don't share them or keep them, they get deleted straight after watching them (not lying either).

    The day has finally come where I might just start encrypting all my downloads.

  76. Mark

    re: Don't want the nasty letter?

    Yes, and if you'd not knocked your brains out with your knee-jerk, you'd have read the fine article and found out that this person got the nasty letter but hadn't done the crime.

    So you should have said "don't want the nasty letter, don't do the crime, but you'll get the nasty letter anyway".

  77. Lupus

    Since certian people here seem to be in the know...

    ... which season/episode is the 'Groundhog Day' epsode of Stargate SG1? That was grand.

  78. Jord

    Woah, TV Show....?

    In the UK, it is legal to record a TV show and keep it for up to 30 days. Indeed, Sky+ (I believe the American equivalent is TiVo) allows you to do just that. It is also legal to go round to a friend's house, record a TV show and take it back home to watch at your leisure.

    Why, then, is it illegal to download a TV show onto your PC? What proof do they have that the show was indeed the file it claimed to be, and that it was still on the PC in question after the 30 day limit?

    Does this mean that anyone in America who recorded the show on their TiVo box will be getting a nasty letter as well?

    And yes, I concurr: Tiscali are a complete bag of shite who could not organise a piss-up in a brewery

  79. jon

    Go figure

    What we are witnessing are the death throws of a business model and you can bet this is going to get ugly and linger for some time to come.

    Just in passing.. scan of the web reveals a curious situation, GOOGLE video has been hosting one particular copyrighted hollywood movie for nearly a year now. It was not difficult to find either.

    If the lawyers want to go after someone for the crime of making copyrighted material available freely then here is a good place to start....

    Why chase the small fry when you can have a bite of the real money?

  80. Shagbert
    Thumb Up

    @ Lupus

    Season 4, episode 6: "Window of Opportunity". :)

  81. regard

    Remember Dowloading is legal, uploading is copyright infringement.

    Downloading is not illegal, the equivalent of buying a dodgy dvd.

    Uploading or 'sharing', which Bittorrent does by default is making a copy or copyright infringement.

    Which is looked by some as illegal or immoral.

    Stealing a DVD from a shop is the same may be equivalent to selling a dodgy dvd.

    But downloading is just improving your knowledege of culture and deprives no one of any sale.

    It is the equivalent of watching a dvd your friend bought and he brought round to your house.

    In fact most research suggests it encourages sales and spreads the word.

    So leech only, stream only, don't share unless you understand the possible consequences and drive on the right please.

    Remember copyright is theft from the public domain.

  82. JohnG

    @Tom Kelsall

    You are not under any obligation to respond to threatening letters from companies or their lawyers. If you are being falsely accused, you can safely ignore everything - except communications from a court. You are not a Defendant or a Plaintiff if and until they have actually filed something.

  83. jason bennett

    How safe is Giganews?

    I rarely download from bitorrent - it's just asking for trouble if you ask me. I download everything from Giganews. I'm assuming that because you dowload from the server and do not distribute the material to anyone else then any court action would see substantially lower damages awarded than if you were using bitorrent?

  84. Jamie Paterson

    RE: Don't want the nasty letter?

    This happened to me too and I DO NOT SHARE ANY FILES.This is extortion plain and simple. If they think they have proof, bring it on I say. If not they should not randomly threaten their customers (or soon to be ex-customers).

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One good thing for Tiscali.

    I'm a Freedom2Surf customer; one good thing about the Tiscali take over was that they seem not to bother with monitoring my bandwidth usage anymore. Incompetence or generosity, I dont care.

  86. Anonymous Coward

    What Proof?

    1. the US "proven" criminal organisation that is the MPAA have no jurediction in UK

    2. Whitout hard evidence (something more then easly faked logs files from non official source_ they have no case "anywhere on the planet" including USA.

    In short there is no case, no reason to sue, no proof, niet nada. The UK goverment should sue the MPAA for illegal harrassement of UK citizens.

    The MPAA (and sister in crime RIAA) have destroyed more lifes then any other terrorist organisation worlwide.

  87. Law
    Thumb Up

    RE: How safe is Giganews?

    I'm guessing if you can prove you have paid for the tv show one way or another then you are covered... I use giganews, but I also have skyplus with the entertainment package, so that's my defence. There are some shows we don't seem to get over here though that I'm addicted to, like Burn Notice!! Awesome series if anybody is looking for a new show.

    Sucks about Atlantis being cancelled, but to be honest it's gotten way too annoyingly easy and predictable, they have the best tech, know everything there is to know, and can pick a fight and win with anybody in three galaxies now, and most episodes they are repeating storylines from previous episodes of sg1, they even asked sam carter "hey, didn't you already do this once, how did you win?" which was quite funny.

    I watched a couple of earlier SG1 episodes last week and was reminded why I loved stargate so much, it's become too star-treky, has a completely different feel to it now. sigh... hopefully SG: Universe will be decent...

  88. Anonymous Coward

    What amount of uploading constitutes sharing?

    I ask that question because on occasion, I have been known to leech certain episodes of a TV show. So whilst I might have downloaded 350mb, I've uploaded just 10-20mb thanks to my slow upload speeds.

    I've not uploaded enough of that episode to be watchable, so technically they couldn't claim I had shared an entire episode.

    and yes, I know it's wrong... but I get these shows long before they are aired on terrestrial or freeview TV channels... if they get shown at all. Some of those less popular shows are not even available to buy on DVD... and those that are, I often purchase... But I want to see them when they air, not 12 months later... or longer in some cases.

    I don't download movies, I go to the cinema... and what little music I do download these days is old stuff I already own on vinyl... so they can't get me there either.

    And yes, I downloaded that episode of SG Atlantis... but only because I want to see just how low that show will sink... it's quite a deep hole so far. :)

  89. Agent420


    What do you know about it. There may be no chance of change in Briton, but change is on the way in the US. If you are an American, then you are probably a lying scum repuke. Go ahead and vote for McGoo and Cinderella's step mother. The next thing you will be called is looser.

  90. Michael

    speaking of talk talk....

    They are running a VERY agressive cold-calling campaign at the moment.

    A good excuse to stand by the phone, i think.

  91. Pheet


    AFAIR, balliffs don't have the right to force their way into your home (at least not initally). Don't open your door (talk through the letterbox), make sure ground floor windows/back door/etc are shut.

    IP address shouldn't be sufficient proof in court (though prob. enough for suspicion to initiate the case) - unsecure wireless network, running a TOR server, etc., etc.

    If you get a letter, get yourself a decent lawyer (hard to find but some exist) and have your day in court (if they'll take it that far - I suspect they're fishing). Copyright infringment is a civil matter, not a criminal offence.

  92. Colin Wilson

    @ Pheet

    IIRC the latest case wasn't taken on copyright infringement - it was based on the design and patents act, neatly avoiding a ruling on copyright, and seemingly making it a criminal offence on ANY amount of shared material.

    Which begs the question how much binary data can be said to be unique to that "product" alone - a stream of 1's and 0's by itself in small enough chunks can no doubt be found in multiple places across the net, and was the basis of a file sharing system reported on the BBC website a few months ago, where chunks of a file could be grabbed from unrelated files as long as it had the right hash for that chunk.

  93. Peter Gold badge

    Dear Sirs,

    Thank you for your letter.

    After reading your letter, I have not found a valid basis to change my behaviour or how I use my Internet connection. I would, however, like to warn you that taking any of the actions you detail will have consequences and could result in legal followup.

    .. the idea is to goad those idiots into correspondence. The moment they'll try to act it'll become apparent just what a bunch of goons they are (notice that teh above does not amount to an admission :-). And legal time is expensive - serves them right.

  94. Anonymous Coward

    Re: me too - Tiscali robbed me too

    ... and me - but - the other way around...

    My DD was set up and running and I was embroiled in a lengthy complaint about the quality of service... in the end I informed them that since the internet connection was so bad (intermittent, slow, discontinuous etc) that Tiscali had defaulted on their side of the purchase agreement and so I went to my bank and cancelled the DD. As you all know, payment is in advance, so when my internet was cut the VERY NEXT DAY a whole new series of rather more offensive letters went to Tiscali (letters, note - emails had never been responded to) regarding the failure to provide my final month's service. Next there was a bailiff notice to reclaim a fictitious one month's subs ... so I went to trading standards... no compensation, no apology BUT - on the plus side... NO more Tiscali or bailiffs.

  95. Andus McCoatover


    <<AFAIR, balliffs don't have the right to force their way into your home (at least not initally). Don't open your door (talk through the letterbox), make sure ground floor windows/back door/etc are shut.>>

    Believe you're correct, Sir. IIRC, one of the baliffs techniques is to say they're from the 'Council' - and as there's so many 'council officials' nowadays (bin/dogshit/litter/applecore/darkiewatch/dodgy-looking-electricians etc. "police"), you let them in. Then, they tell you they're from the "Council of Baliffs", and as you've let them in once, you can't stop the cun*ts breaking your doors down the second time..

    Nice world the Brits live in. TtF I'm no longer there.

  96. Kurt Faasse
    Dead Vulture

    This will generate sales a pig's eye. Does anyone still adhere to the argument that ending file sharing will result in all those blocked downloads immediately becoming people rushing to the store to buy it? It will result in people thinking twice, realizing they don't need it, and getting on with their lives. At the very least, the rest of us can expect a little more bandwidth. Now, if they would only go after the spammers with as much vociferousness, considering spam is now, what?, 60% of all network traffic at least?

  97. Greg GIlbraith
    Gates Halo

    I'd be goddamn scared

    To be one of their customers right now.

    Nevermind being misidentified in a civil matter like file-sharing.

    What if they asked TIscali to match up the IP of someone doing a "kick down your door and drag you away" crime like peddling child porn?

    -- Billy and I are glad we're in the states, where there is no Tiscali

  98. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about this...

    Why not defeat the anti-P2P lobby by turning their own game againt them? At present they can freely monitor any P2P network. But supposing you created a P2P network that could only be accessed after you distributed one small specially created file - a file that is itself copyrighted, but licenced for free distribution by anyone not associated with the music/movie/tv/software industries.

    The only way for the anti-P2P lobby to monitor copyright infringements would be by infringing someone's copyright themselves?

  99. Anonymous Coward

    I think some have missed the point...

    It's not about getting caught making illicit copies of copyrighted software, it's about being falsely accused of doing it when it was impossible to have done. Or worse, being falsely accused when it *wasn't* impossible and you might not have a way to demonstrate your innocence.

    As for playing the company - that could be fun, but you'd have to pay for legal expenses or risk being unjustly found guilty because of some legal mistake you made. Hardly worth it...

    The problem we're facing is corporate greed getting out of hand, attacking not just fairly harmless people breaking draconian laws, but also people who are actually innocent. As long as greed is more respected than justice, you aren't going to get justice.

  100. Mark

    re: How about this...

    Simpler: just have a message turn up that you avow that you are allowed to copy the shared material because of your countries' laws or already having a license for the media.

    Much simpler.

  101. Anonymous Coward

    They're not the only ones!

    Be have recently been receiving complaints of a simailer nature on their forums. Perhaps you could do an article on them?

  102. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One Second of Fame


    "Evidentiary Information:


    Recent Infringement Timestamp: 16 Aug 2008 06:48:42 GMT

    Infringed Work: Stargate Atlantis

    Infringing FileName: Stargate.Atlantis.S05E02.HDTV.XviD-0TV.avi

    Infringing FileSize: 367061894

    Initial Infringement Timestamp: 16 Aug 2008 06:48:42 GMT"

    This is amazing. Suppose I'm having a play around with my computer and just checking out what all this fuss is over p2p. I connect my testing p2p client to a swarm - for one second - and the next thing I know I'm ferkin served with this crap.

    Or am I misreading this and the 'case' (inasmuch as for exercise we can pretend that one exists at all) is a bit more solid in that in one second he managed to download a file of 367061894 [unspecified whatevers - which I suspect is the whole file that happened to be called an 'Atlantis' episode even if it wasn't that]. Where the ferkin' hell does anybody you know have connection like that?

  103. Chika

    Tiscali - My own suspicions

    Yes, I'm yet another one that shifted from Piscali, er Tipex, whatever, as a result of poor service and dubious billing practices, and got well and truly shafted during the transition, which took three attempts and was eventually expedited by my new ISP because Tiscali seemed incapable of issuing a valid MAC.

    In my case, following lengthy battles, I threatened to take the whole matter by snailmail to Ofcom (since their complaints procedure online was deeply flawed - their usual method was to say that they couldn't proceed because they needed more information, no matter what information you supplied!)

    ANYONE still with a Tiscali account or one of the many companies that they have taken over should, IMHO, seriously consider getting out ASAP. The sooner this nightmare of a company goes to the wall, the better I shall like it.

  104. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @ Greg GIlbraith

    "Billy and I are glad we're in the states, where there is no Tiscali"

    We have the same crap happening here. I got one of these frakkin notices from Cox Cable about some file I had never even heard of. I had to google the name to find out it was some crappy video game that I would have heard of otherwise.

    They didn't seem to catch any of the actual stuff I had downloaded.

  105. Neil Hunt

    @Dark Hippo - "alcohol isle"

    Now there is a place where I would like to spend some time!

  106. John Lodge

    Tiscali really do suck

    I used to have a Tiscali business account which never performed as well as the backup BT ADSL account (same premises, same exchange) so I decided to change provider. I emailed Tiscali cancelling the service which they acknowledged and we switched providers. Next month my credit card was debited for the monthly charge - and again, and again.

    Numerous emails and phone calls made bugger all difference so I got on to the credit card supplier and got them to do a charge back for all the payments since cancellation plus one more for luck. This really pissed Tiscali off, which was the intent, I then had a year of fun with debt collection agency's trying to recoup £14.95! The last (of many) phone conversations went something like this...

    Them: "You owe Tiscali £14.95!

    Me: "No I don't"

    Them: "Our records show blahdeblah"

    Me: " I am not going to pay, are you going to sue me for £14.05? I would enjoy that"

    Them "No"

    Me: " Then why are you wasting your time then?"

    End of phone call and end of contacts.

    Tiscali are nearly as bad as that other well known bunch of twats Paypal - a similar strategy saw them long gone after they tried to claim money I didn't owe them

  107. archie lukas

    Friendly Fire?

    It seem seem the yankees are shooting the wrong guys again,

    so nothing new then.............

  108. truetalk

    @ James - Nildram ( Tiscali ) - robbed me too!

    Well, that explains a lot ..... Nildram owe me in excess of £100 that they robbed from me and although they have never actually said they won't pay it back, they never have payed it back, despite several phone calls ..

    Guess what ! after checking Nildram's website I find that Nildram is owned by Tiscali. That Explains the bad service from what used to be a good independant company. !

  109. Anonymous Coward

    'twasnt always so...

    I used to run the 'abuse' department at f2s/Nildram. Back then we had a fully automated, foolproof system for dealing with copyright infringement notices. Mails came in, sat around. Mails got deleted. Nobody got hurt.

    Any views expressed here are strictly the view of an ex employee and not condoned by Pipex/Tiscali :-)

  110. Paul

    @ David Farrell

    It was good quality according to the "freind" who used my machine without permission. ;-)

This topic is closed for new posts.