ISPs in Australia may have a way out of any confrontations with their customers similar to what iiNet encountered with their recent landmark copyright case between iiNet and the film & television industry, by simply deleting data in the same way that the giant UK ISP, BT did in their fight with music company The Ministry of Sound.
As a result of BT dumping 80% of the data that The Ministry of Sound was after, in an effort to pursue individuals who they claim had illegally downloaded their copyrighted content, the company has been forced to suspend its plans to pursue thousands of individuals who were customers of BT.
According to the BBC, the companies solicitors had been trying to get a court order to obtain the names and addresses of the connection owners.
The ISP – one of three targeted by the Ministry of Sound’s solicitors – said 20,000 of the 25,000 requested details had been deleted to comply with data retention policies. BT said it held data for 90 days before deleting it.
“The Ministry of Sound and its solicitors are well aware of this,” said a spokesperson for BT.
“Upon request from Ministry of Sound, we saved as much of the specific data sought as we reasonably could and any not preserved must have been too old.”
Ministry of Sound CEO Lohan Presencer said that it was “very disappointing that BT decided not to preserve the identities” of the alleged file-sharers.
“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.”
Despite the setback, the firm said that it was now “more determined than ever to go after internet users who illegally upload our copyrighted material”.