BSA Monitoring BitTorrent Traffic

The Business Software Alliance, an organisation similar to the RIAA, is reportedly monitoring BitTorrent traffic in the UK. The software trade group that represents major vendors like Adobe, Microsoft and Symantec has contacted UK ISP Pipex with harvested IP addresses of its customers.

Business Software AllianceUsually, it’s packet-shaping ISPs that users have to watch out for. But this time it’s an ‘anti-piracy gang’, as we like to call them. The BSA, like the RIAA and MPAA, is known for its aggressive tactics. Last year, the group targeted small businesses suspected of using pirated software with their “Bust Your Boss!” campaign. They offered rewards of up to $200,000 to anyone willing to turn in their employer.

Apparently, the BSA watches all traffic going in and out from a specific ISP, in this case Pipex, and logs all the IPs that are uploading and downloading files over BitTorrent. Then letters are sent, first to the ISP, and if it co-operates, to the customer. The ISP has a legal obligation to give the BSA or any other such organisation the e-mail address of the customer whose IP was provided. If the ISP decides not to give up its customer’s information, it is held liable for “contributory infringement”.

What’s really scary is that the e-mail sent to Pipex from the BSA contains extremely detailed information on users’ activity and includes not only IP addresses, but the protocol, the file that was downloaded, the exact file name and the DNS address of the connection with the date/time stamp.

Here’s an excerpt of the e-mail sent to Pipex.

The Business Software Alliance has determined that the connection listed below, which appears to be using an Internet account under your control, is using a P2P network seen below to offer unlicensed copies of copyrighted computer programs published by the BSA’s member companies.

And a quote from Pipex’s e-mail to its customer.

We have received a complaint regarding an allegation of Copyright Infringement.

We were supplied an IP address of the system that was sharing the alleged copyrighted material, which we traced to your PIPEX ADSL account.

As I am sure you are aware, this breaches our Acceptable Use Policy, (http://www.pipex.net/legal/aup/ ) and many copyright laws, namely the Berne Convention.

Is the BSA changing its tactics? Are we going to see yet another organisation packet sniff data and stalk people? Let’s hope not.

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