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UK High Court Orders Identification Of Music Downloaders

by Robin Pilgrim,

19 October 2004

The UK's High Court on Thursday ordered internet service providers (ISPs) to turn over the names and addresses of 28 alleged major music pirates to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

Earlier this month, the BPI announced that in conjunction with the International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI), it had launched a legal campaign against "major uploaders" of unauthorised music files.

The recording industry body announced that it would be seeking damages and injunctions to stop the filesharers illegally uploading recordings on to filesharing networks, and revealed that the uploaders in question include users of file-sharing networks such as Kazaa, Imesh, Grokster, Bearshare and WinMX.

Speaking following delivery of the court order by Justice William Blackburne last week, BPI chairman, Peter Jamieson explained to the Associated Press that the 28 peer-to-peer network users in question are "uploading music on a massive scale, effectively stealing the livelihoods of thousands of artists and the people who invest in them".

This is in contrast to the current situation in the United States, where the Supreme Court earlier this month rejected a request by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to streamline the process of obtaining information about users of peer-to-peer file sharing services from their internet service providers.

Although the Association was successful in the first round of its dispute with Verizon Communications, which was ordered to provide subscriber information, the US Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the lower court's ruling, arguing that subpoenas cannot be issued against an ISP that does not store the copyright-infringing materials in question on its servers.

The Supreme Court reportedly rejected the RIAA's appeal over the Circuit Court ruling without comment.

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