Wednesday, November 03, 2010

BT hit delete, tell Ministry Of Sound these are not the customers they're looking for

That stamping of feet? That'd be coming from Ministry Of Sound, enraged that BT have deleted private data the MOS were demanding to pursue unlicensed filesharers. MediaGuardian explains:

BT had agreed to retain the personal details of 20,000 of its customers earlier this year, so that Ministry of Sound could pursue them once an injunction on the court order was lifted. However, the record label today said that BT had "failed to preserve" the details.

The telecoms company was granted an injunction on the original court order, submitted by law firm Gallant Macmillan on behalf of Ministry of Sound, on 4 October. The broadband provider argued that it would continue to challenge such orders – known as "Norwich Pharmacal orders" – until the rights holder and law firm can prove that accusations of illegal filesharing have "some basis".
It almost makes you forgive BT for those Kris Marshall ads, right?

Ministry Of Sound likes to think of itself as a record label, although grouping a bunch of other people's tracks together and slapping a picture of a foxtrelle in a bikini on the sleeve isn't really being a record label, is it? Still, it has copyrights and it's going to protect them, dammit:
The Ministry of Sound chief executive, Lohan Presencer, said: "It is very disappointing that BT decided not to preserve the identities of the illegal uploaders."
Alleged illegal uploaders, surely, Lohan. You claim they were "illegally" uploading, but BT suggested that you hadn't shown these claims had any basis.
"Given that less than 20% of the names remain and BT costs have soared from a few thousand pounds to several hundred thousand pounds, it makes no economic sense to continue with this application."
Again, there's that whining sense from the copyright industry that they shouldn't be expected to pay the costs of their own security - like the bloke from the corner shop wanting the council to pay for his CCTV as the kids who steal Mars bars use the street to get there.

It's a bit surprising, though - let's say everyone on the MOS list was somehow stealing from them. 20% of a list of 150,000 is still 30,000 chummies making off with Carl Cox remixes.

And, surely, the people on the list must have been serial abusers to have made it worthwhile pursuing them in the first place, so shrugging about 30,000 bad, bad people seems a bit strange.
"We are more determined than ever to go after internet users who illegally upload our copyrighted material."
Except, oddly, not for the 20% of names for whom BT still hold the details. Not really determined about them any more.
"We will be making further applications for information from all ISPs. Every time that a track or album is uploaded to the web it is depriving artists of royalties and reducing the money which we can invest in new British talent."
Ah, yes. New British talent. Those '15 years of anthems' or 'Dave Pearce: 1995' albums don't just create themselves, you know.

Look, I could go through the whole 'an unlicensed download is not the same thing as a lost sale' argument, but I think even Ministry Of Sound know that nobody really believes in the old 'every time a track is downloaded, an angel loses its wings' saw. In fact, lets just pretend that Lohan said "everytime someone goes out in the sunshine for free vitamins, it means the loss of a sale of an orange and reduces our ability to invest in Florida."

The sudden decision to drop the pursuit of 30,000 alleged infringers might look a little like Ministry Of Sound not really wanting to have to explain the quality of their data in a court. BT sweetly points out they're more than happy to help. With safeguards:
"The safeguards we aim to establish via the court are on the security of data handling, a threshold for providing a customer's details based on a minimum number of separate incidents, the tone of contact with broadband subscribers and a reasonable approach to financial compensation sought."
All of that seems reasonable enough. You'd have thought that Ministry Of Sound, determined to pursue these villains, would have been happy to give those assurances, and give them quickly. Strange that - despite this sapping their ability to invest in another Housesexy collection - they chose not to.

[Thanks to Michael M]