Identifying file sharers — the US approach

December 24th, 2012 at 13:08 UTC by Richard Clayton

Last Friday’s successful appeal in the Golden Eye case will mean that significantly more UK-based broadband users will shortly be receiving letters that say that they appear to have been participating in file sharing activity of pornographic films. Recipients of these letters could do worse than to start by consulting this guide as to what to do next.

Although I acted as an expert witness in the original hearing, I was not involved in the appeal since. It was not concerned with technical matters, but was deciding whether Golden Eye could pursue claims for damages on behalf of third party copyright holders (the court says that they may now do so).

Subsequent to the original hearing, I assisted Consumer Focus by producing an expert report on how evidence in file sharing cases should be collected and processed. I wrote about this here in July.

In September, at the request of Consumer Focus, I attended a presentation given by Ms Marianne Grant, Senior Vice President of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in which she outlined the way in which rights holders in the United States were proposing to monitor unauthorised file sharing of copyright material.

I had a number of concerns about these proposals and I wrote to Consumer Focus to set these out. I have now noted (somewhat belatedly, hence this holiday season blog post) that Consumer Focus have made this letter available online, along with their own letter to the MPAA.

So 2013 looks like being “interesting times” for Internet traceabity — with letters going out in bulk to UK consumer from Golden Eye, and the US “six strikes” process forecast to roll out early next year (albeit it’s been forecast to start in November 2012, July 2012 and many dates before that, so we shall see).

Entry filed under: Legal issues, News coverage

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