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High Court order forces ntl to hand over subscriber details

# Feb 1, 04:26 PM by Frank

Ten UK ISPs, including BT, ntl, Telewest and Tiscali, are to hand over subscriber details after losing a High Court battle with the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST).

The High Court order follows a 12-month covert investigation by FAST into 150 UK customers accused of illegally sharing software. Over the next two weeks, the ISPs are expected to provide the names, addresses and other personal details of the alleged file-sharers.

An undercover investigator working for FAST in a project codenamed Operation Tracker identified 150 people suspected of illegally sharing software. The federation says that once it has the personal information it will approach the police and Crown Prosecution Service to press charges.

“We can easily take down links, but this does not tackle the root causes of software piracy, because the links will reappear elsewhere in a matter of hours,” said John Lovelock, Director General at Fast. “Instead, we plan to take action a lot further, making an example of the perpetrators to stop them from stealing and passing on the intellectual property of our members for good.”

Julian Heathcote Hobbins, senior legal counsel at Fast, said: “Traditionally most software owners have relied on notice and take-down procedures and have failed to bring civil or criminal proceedings against the infringers. The progress we made is only the first wave of an ongoing strategy. We expect to be bringing these actions anytime and anywhere we see software being misused.”

According to the anti-piracy trade group, the Business Software Alliance, about a quarter of software used in the UK is an unlicensed, counterfeit or pirated copy.

FAST said it will pursue more file sharers now that it has won the court action.

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