BPI slam ‘shameful’ BT for not clamping down on illegal downloaders

Boss Geoff Taylor says the BPI handed over details of file-sharers

British Phonographic Industry boss Geoff Taylor has slammed internet service provider BT for not acting after being given details of 100,000 of its customers he claimed were guilty of illegal downloading.

Taylor told the Daily Mirror that despite being given the necessary information, the ISP cared simply about profits and had disregarded illegal behaviour.

BT have hit back by claiming that many users of legitimate peer-to-peer applications would have been included in the figures, making it unfair to look into the cases.

“It’s shameful for a company like BT to know that a high percentage of the traffic it carries is illegal material but do nothing,” Taylor said. “If you operate a commercial service and know it is being used to break the law, taking steps to ensure it is used legally is a cost of doing business. This is just about BT protecting profits.”

A spokesperson for BT said: “Many peer-to-peer applications are perfectly legal, such as ‘World Of Warcraft’ and BBC iPlayer. To investigate the exact nature of each case would involve an intrusive level of inspection of people’s traffic and customers would rightly complain.”

Earlier in the month BT had claimed that if ISPs had to bear the cost of policing the internet with regard to illegal downloading it would cost the industry around £1million a day. This led to fears that such a cost would be passed on to users.

Business Secretary Lord Peter Mandelson has called for persistent file-sharers’ internet connections to be temporarily cut off. The Featured Artists Coalition has called for a ‘three strikes’ rule with connections weakened for persistent offenders.