Just been surfing the BPI site. This is the UK version of the RIAA which has also been sueing people. These bits caused me to raise my eyebrows. Can you spot the Fnords?

Is downloading music illegal?
Downloading is when an internet user obtains a digital music file from the internet – in filesharing this source is another internet user known as an uploader. Unless this act of downloading is done from with (sic) the permission of the record label (for example, from a licensed service like iTunes), it is unauthorised copying and is illegal.

Uploading is when an internet user allows other internet users to access (and download) their digital music files. This phenomenon creates an enormous illegal library of music available for illegal download using filesharing services.

Copyright law provides that a person must have permission to make a copyrighted work (such as a sound recording) available for download on the internet. Doing so (i.e. uploading) without permission of the copyright owner (in the case of a sound recording, the record label) is against the law, regardless of whether the music was originally obtained legally or illegally by the uploader.

It is for the illegal act of uploading without permission that the international recording industry has commenced legal action against more than 14,200 people to date.

How can you tell which websites are legal?
Although there are some online music services that claim to be legal when they are not, a careful consumer should not find it difficult to identify legal music services.

Who are you suing?
After a prolonged period of warnings, the BPI has taken the decision to launch a programme of civil litigation against major uploaders – the “worst” filesharers in the UK.

The BPI is only able to identify copyright infringement at the level of the internet protocol (IP) address of the infringer; BPI then has to go to court to obtain an order requiring the relevant internet service provider to disclose to BPI the name and address of the owner of that internet account.

BPI then writes to the individuals concerned and offers them an opportunity to settle the legal claims against them before legal proceedings are issued.

How do you find major uploaders?
When filesharing, the uploader's computer transmits its internet location, so that the downloader's computer knows where to download from.

The BPI simply logs on to the internet like any other user and looks for downloads. When we download a sample track that track comes with details of the IP address of the filesharer who is offering it.. The BPI then obtains a High Court order that the internet service provider (ISP) which controls that particular IP address should disclose the identity of the owner of the computer in question. Having received those details, the BPI is able to initiate legal proceedings against the uploader.

Interesting that downloading from an illegal source is unauthorised copying and so illegal. That could get hard to tell as a consumer. And it appears to be hard for them to tell as well. I love the way "a careful consumer should be able to tell the difference." So when I can pay AllofMp3 via Paypal, and they say they have paid all relevant dues in their country, I can feel that I have taken due care in selecting them as my preferred download source then.

Apparently, in order to get the IP address and to verify illegal uploading they download a sample file. You might want to watch your logs then. Or disable sharing with unknowns. And they are less than clear about whether having files available is illegal as opposed to actually uploading. The fact that they do a sample download from you suggests that it's the second. And them doing that download looks curiously like entrapment.

Whatever, it's all just "demanding money with menaces".

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[ 22-Sep-05 2:56pm ] [ ]