“Ministry of Sound” buckle as ISPs stand up to them

The Ministry of Sound has buckled under pressure of their disastrous “Speculative Invoicing” Scheme.  Like all bullies it has backed down after someone stood up to them and called their bluff.

That someone was the ISP BT,  BT it seems wanted Ministry of Sounds lawyers(Gallant Macmillan)  to  ensure the safety of it’s subscribers data.  This followed the catastrophic release by ACS:LAW of its emails online, exposing thousands of internet users personal data.  As Gallant Macmillan models its own plan on that of ACS:LAW it seems that BT was very concerned.

A hearing that had been adjourned until January 2011 was greatly anticipated by internet users and those wrongly accused by Gallant Macmillan and others as being a turning point in the future granting of Norwich Pharmacal Orders (NPO) the orders that a Court grants for the release of information.   Sadly now it seems that won’t happen.

There has been growing opinion that law firms had been abusing the NPO orders, using them to get information with no actual intention of going to Court for the sole purpose of gaining money by sending letters to people they suspected of sharing their “Works”.

BT has issued its own statement on the issue, most revealing was this “Ministry of Sound’s decision is clearly a matter for them. It’s a shame though that, in this instance, our concerns over the current process will not be examined by the court,”

Ministry of Sounds statement was put through the new Bull$hit Detector

The following is what came out

Ministry of Sound have had to put on hold their plans to send warning notices to 25,000 illegal uploaders on BT’s broadband network after discovering that the ISP has deleted over 20,000 of the records that Ministry of Sound had asked them to save pending the resolution of a court application.

This is not true, Ministry of Sound and their Lawyers are well aware of the data retention policy of BT.   Ministry of Sound/Gallant Macmillan looked set to lose a Court case adjourned until January 2011 that would have been a PR disaster for them.

Ministry of Sound launched a campaign in July targeting the illegal uploading of their music on the UK’s digital network. This work was undertaken by lawyers Gallant MacMillan and technology provider DigiRights Solutions who identified over 150,000 UK addresses from where Ministry of Sound’s copyrighted material was illegally uploaded on the internet.

Well there is nothing like adhering to the “Innocent until proven guilty” I guess.  It is not surprising as  the last thing that Gallant Macmillan would want is an actual Court Case where the alleged infringer actually challenged their evidence or rather lack of it as Gallant Macmillan would be most likely laughed out of the Court.

Since July, Ministry of Sound has been applying to the High Court to require ISPs to provide them with the customer data of the illegal uploaders. This process had been working smoothly and seen over 5,000 warning letters and settlement notices sent to illegal uploaders requiring them either to confirm that they had infringed Ministry of Sound’s copyright and make an out-of-court payment of £350 or risk legal action. Since this campaign was launched a large proportion of those contacted have settled out of court.

Well Ministry of Sound HAVE indeed been applying for these NPOs that require the ISPs to provide them with customer’s details.  This however had NOT been going smoothly and the 5000 warning letters were actually “Pay up or face Court and possible financial ruin” letters.  There Is no recourse to the law for those accused as Lord Lucas in the House of Lords has stated that it can take around £10,000 to defend one of these cases, this he concluded is “Straight forward legal blackmail”  Indeed the Judge who allows the Court Order for the ISPs to release Customer details Chief Master Winegarten said “There wouldn’t be this hue and cry unless you were pursuing people who were innocent. I can’t understand why in these thousands – hundreds of thousands – [of letters sent out] no-one has been sued.”

Last month BT decided to challenge this process following a security breach by an unrelated firm, ACS Law, and convinced a Master in the courts to require Ministry of Sound to provide additional information to ensure that the privacy of BT customers would not be breached. Ministry of Sound were happy to do this despite the substantial costs that were going to be incurred and in spite of the fact that the ACS Law security breach bore no relation to this application.

Well this is NOT true at all, indeed Gallant Macmillan are using the same business model as ACS:LAW and to further compound the connection, in the leaked emails from ACS:LAW it shows that Simon Gallant and Andrew Crossley met up for coffee (I am sure they were not just talking about the merits of HMV*), and Crossley later referred to Gallant Macmillan as fellow Brigands, so not as unconnected as we were first led to believe.  The fact that the Ministry of Sound had NO CHOICE but to go along with the adjournment as the quality of evidence was starting to be questioned
However, subsequently in legal correspondence it was revealed that BT has failed to preserve over 20,000 of the 25,000 customer records which Ministry of Sound had originally requested and which they had agreed to do their best to preserve. Whilst Ministry of Sound were happy to incur substantial legal costs to access 25,000 names it is simply not economic to pursue the 5,000 remaining illegal uploaders.

Why should this have anything to do with economics? Surely this is about a principle that the Ministry of Sound believes that people are stealing their music (The fact that this is NOT what they argued in Court is by the way it seems, as Ministry of Sound are a compilation label they only have the “Rights” to the track listing of an Album NOT the music, I know I know, now stop laughing)  This statement amongst all others proves that the Ministry of Sound are not interested in true justice but merely fleecing potentially innocent people out of money

Ministry of Sound CEO Lohan Presencer said: “It is very disappointing that BT decided not to preserve the identities of the illegal uploaders. 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. We are more determined than ever to go after internet users who illegally upload our copyrighted material. 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.”

The XFactor has more original talent than the Ministry of Sound, nay I say Sir, Britains Got Talent has more talent, and that is saying something.
Further information:

Ministry of Sound

Ministry of Sound is a flagship for British youth culture; an iconic brand that includes a club, the world’s largest independent record label, and a multimedia entertainment business, all directed from the company’s South London home.

LMAO God help the British youth culture if this bunch of ambulance chasers are its flagship

Norwich Pharmacal Order

The IP addresses of illegal uploaders are identified using the same technology as is used for identifying other illegal activity online. An application is made through the courts to have ISPs hand over personal information relating to those customers. This process is known as a Norwich Pharmacal Order after a 1974 case where the House of Lords determined that:

“where a third party had become involved in unlawful conduct, they were under a duty to assist the person suffering damage by giving them full information and disclosing the identity of wrongdoers.”

For the application to be granted by a court the victim, in this case the copyright holder, must demonstrate:

• a reasonable basis to allege that a wrong has actually been committed
• the disclosure of documents or information from the third party is needed to enable action against the wrongdoer
• the respondent is not a “mere witness”, but is sufficiently mixed up in the wrongdoing so as to have facilitated it, even if innocently, and therefore be in a position to provide the information
• the order is necessary in the interests of justice on the facts of the case

When put together with the statements of Gallant Macmillan and the Ministry of Sound who seem to have already found the people guilty without a hearing the above statements regarding the NPO shows how abused the system has become.  It is a great shame that the Ministry of Sound have denied people the January hearing as it may well have been a turning point in the history of Speculative Invoicing, as it is Gallant Macmillan and the Ministry of Sound like ACS:LAW and Davenport Lyons before them have once again made a mockery of the Justice system.

The statement that ACS:LAW and Gallant MacMillan were not “connected” seems to imply that they did not know each other and did not work together, I call this an outrageous lie.  See the two statements below

*I think people have got used to being able to file share. Nobody would dream of going into HMV and walking out without paying. Even more to the point they wouldn’t dream of reproducing CDs and just giving them out to other people for free. – Simon Gallant (Gallant Macmillan)

“It is the equivalent of someone stood outside HMV with a pile of the latest albums, handing them out to people who were intending to go in the shop and buy it,” – Andrew Crossley (ACS:LAW)

Ok so they may have just come up with very similar sounding statements on their own.  However below are included the emails that PROVE they knew of each other, even meeting up.

 

About Hickster

I am one of the many innocent people who have been accused of file sharing by Copyright Trolls, my letter came from the now infamous ACS:LAW, but they have now been emulated by many more using the same system. Their ruse is simple, Send out letters of claim with NO Real evidence beyond an IP address that they claim was captured using a frowned upon hack of Shareaza. My REAL opinion of these companies turned when they started sending out Pornography claims, THAT is what I find most disturbing. People who HAVE to pay up without the option of having their day in Court. THAT is NOT Justice. Why can't they just go to Court? because the Lawyers, pitch the price of paying the "Compensation" at about the same rate as hiring a lawyer to fight it. Things have changed in the last 8 years though. I would advise people to read the "Speculative Invoicing Handbook Part 2", research these people yourselves, and find me at Slyck Forums, or on Twitter. Do NOT Worry, Stand Strong
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