British High Court Rules Against ISPs in P2P Case

Jeff Berg
LONDON — The London High Court ruled Thursday that Internet Service Providers are required to reveal the names of accused file swappers to the British music industry.

Under the ruling, ISPs will have 14 days to hand over the names and addresses of 28 individuals accused by the British Phonographic Industry trade group of illegally sharing music.

“We have been warning for months that unauthorized file-sharing is illegal,” said BPI chairman Peter Jamieson in a statement released earlier this month. “These are no people casually downloading the odd track. They are uploading music on a massive scale, effectively stealing the livelihoods of thousands of artists and the people who invest in them.”

Justice Blackburne, in ruling on the matter, agreed with the BPI’s position.

“On the face of it, this appears to be a powerful case of copyright infringement,” Blackburne said.

According to the BPI, 15 percent of file-sharers are responsible for 75 percent of illegal music downloading.

The ruling follows closely on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court refusing to hear arguments about whether ISPs should be forced to turn over records to the Recording Industry Association of America. Without the Supreme Court’s review, the appellate ruling that ISPs can not be subpoenaed for information regarding copyright violators stands.