Sky customers to be hit with fines for torrenting

New reports suggest Sky Broadband customers who used torrent services and other p2p networks should expect to receive demands for cash settlements as it becomes clear that the broadband provider has been made to hand over the identities of more customers.

Adult with computer mouse

Starting in the last few years entertainment companies and those in the adult industry especially have been seeking court rulings to require UK ISPs such as Sky Broadband to hand over the details of users who were assigned an IP Address at the time of a copyrighted work being downloaded.

An IP Address is a unique identifier that is assigned to your internet connection and basically links any actions carried out to your household.

Although it is possible for entertainment companies to store IP Addresses of downloaders they do not have any further details or personal information. It is with this IP Address and alleged copyright infringement that Sky Broadband have been required to hand over the personal details of those users.

Letters demanding cash

Leading torrent news site Torrentfreak are reporting that some Sky Broadband customers have been receiving letters warning them that an impending communication from the adult entertainment company Golden Eye International is likely to be winging its way to them within the coming days and weeks.

As has happened on previous occasions the letter is likely to demand a cash settlement to resolve the issue with the threat of further legal action should the users not pay up.

These letters have become known as speculative letters because in most cases it is the threat of legal action that persuades people to pay up in the first place. In many instances where individuals have refused to pay there have been very few actual court cases as there are certain legal issues about determining who the liable party is.

An IP Address identifies an internet connection but it doesn’t identify an individual. In a household with more than one person or a broadband subscriber who lets friends use their Wi-Fi when at their house it is impossible to determine who downloaded the copyrighted file at the time it was alleged. Often a court case would be thrown out because the party bringing the claim is unable to identify the culprit.

Regardless many users will pay up due to the threat of legal action and to save embarrassment especially because it is an adult outfit making such claims.

VPN services provide protection from speculative letters

The situation goes to show that your IP Address can link you to your actions or at the very least link your household to your actions. Taking steps to prevent this by using a VPN service to disguise your IP Address should be the first port of call for users worried about their privacy and their download habits being made available to third party companies.

By using a VPN you can avoid such letters and accusations due to the ability to encrypt your internet connection and hide your IP Address behind an added layer meaning in essence anything you do shows the IP Address of the VPN service and not of your home connection.

A VPN service can cost as little as $6.49 per month (around £4.26) from a provider such as IPVanish and there is a large choice available in our VPN Comparison Guide.

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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