So the deal between the BPI and six of our largest ISPs yesterday turned our comments section red hot with many of you (rightfully) frustrated, disappointed and just plain furious. This should put something of a smile back on your face...
Be Unlimited, which is fast becoming something of a people's champion, has stepped into the breach to proclaim it has politely declined the BPI's membership offer and will not be divulging any user details unless instructed directly by legal court order. Here's what Oli White, Be's Head of Marketing, had to say:
Be welcomes today’s announcement form the BPI that ISPs should engage in communicating the issue of illegal file-sharing to their customers. As Be grows its member base we are getting an increasing number of requests from 3rd parties for information about members who they believe have infringed their copyright or other intellectual property rights. Be has a policy of making it clear to our members of how Be deals with these requests.
Where a content owner (like a record label or a games company) approaches Be and requests the details of a member because of an alleged copyright infringement we will not supply this information direct to the requester unless they have a Court Order. To keep members informed of what’s going on in most circumstances we will try to contact the member in question to make them aware that we have had a request from the rights holder.
Can't say fairer than that: protect the customer to the max and forewarn them of BPI investigation up until the point the law forbids them. How will the BPI react? Well, issuing thousands of individual court orders may seem like a powerful way to get its point across but in reality doing it (and getting each approved) is a laborious and time consuming process so the appeal is likely to wane quickly. Instead expect the BPI to come back at Be a few months down the line. Before that it will hope to gather the momentum to make its proposals harder to ignore.
Simultaneously expect thousands of customers to switch over to Be while waving two fingers (one if you're American, but UK based) in the direction of BSkyB, BT Retail, Carphone Warehouse, Orange, Tiscali and Virgin Media.
Kudos Be, kudos.