At the end of September, we wrote to Geoff Taylor of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) to ask about what we believe to be inaccuracies on their website about their “standards of evidence”. Specifically, the BPI are continuing to claim that their evidence has been accepted by the courts as conclusive evidence. We have not as yet received a reply from the BPI.
This is very serious. We feel the BPI may have deliberately misled politicians and Ofcom when discussing how useful their evidence really is.
I am writing urgently to clarify widely circulating information about the evidence that is collected on behalf of the BPI relating to possible copyright infringement.
Your website states that your evidence is
“of an extremely high standard. It is the same quality of evidence that was provided in more than one hundred cases to the High Court in litigation against end users and which was accepted by the court in each case. Most of these cases resulted in settlements, and all of those on which judgment was given found in the BPI's favour.[i]
The implication given is that IP evidence is “accepted” courts as evidence of guilt. With regard to the recent Digital Economy Act legislation, you wrote to BIS to say that:
“BPI’s evidence has never been challenged in any UK court, including the High Court proceedings during the ‘hubcap’ litigation”[ii]
We would like you to clarify this by answering the following question:
Has any UK court ever treated an IP address as being sufficient by itself to identify a defendant as a copyright infringer in a contested copyright infringement claim decided after a trial of an action?
A simple “yes” or “no” would be most helpful. If the answer is yes, then references to the cases would be very helpful.
As your organization works alongside ISPs and citizen groups including ORG around the Initial Obligation Code, we think clarifying this point would aid politicians and policy makers alike.
Executive Director, Open Rights Group