Last month ISP Karoo in the north of England found itself in the middle of a storm when it said it would disconnect its subscribers upon an allegation of copyright infringement. Under pressure it quickly backtracked to a “3 strikes” regime but now they have told TorrentFreak that no-one will be disconnected without a court order.
At the end of July it was revealed that Karoo, an ISP serving the Hull area of northern England, was effectively operating a one-strike-and-you’re-out policy to deal with alleged copyright infringements.
After a mountain of bad publicity, the ISP released a statement admitting that it had been “exceeding the expectations of copyright owners, the media and internet users.” Announcing a change in policy, Karoo said in future it would provide customers with three written notifications before their service was temporarily suspended.
Although this rethink was fairly well received, at TorrentFreak we wanted to find out more. How does Karoo – indeed any ISP – know that it is acting on accurate information from the copyright holders when it chooses to accuse its customers of acting illegally on their behalf? How does an ISP know that the anti-piracy companies haven’t made a terrible mistake?
We put this question to Karoo and after a few back-and-forth emails, finally received back a rather interesting statement, which included the following paragraph:
“Going forward, we will provide customers with three written notifications to make them aware that a copyright owner has alleged that their internet account has been used to infringe their copyrighted material. These letters do not accuse the customers of any wrongdoing and will offer help and support so that those customers whose internet access is being used unknowingly are able to address it.”
So far so good, but what about the earlier threat of 3 strikes and disconnections? What about the accuracy of evidence from the anti-piracy tracking companies?
“We will no longer suspend a customer’s service unless we receive a court order from a copyright owner taking legal action. As a result it is the responsibility of the legal system, not Karoo, to ensure the accuracy of the information provided by the copyright owners.”
Common sense prevails. Well done Karoo, you got there in the end. But we still haven’t had our question answered.
How does an ISP know that they are acting on accurate information when passing on copyright warnings to its customers or threatening disconnections?
If any ISP anywhere in the world is prepared to answer this important question, please feel free to get in touch. We’ve asked a few already with no success – we’re starting to think this issue is a very delicate one indeed, judging by the apparent reluctance to answer.