Ministry of Sound to sue 2000 filesharers

27 July 2010

three-inch-record-playerLots of people in the music industry are weighing up ways of stopping people from illegally downloading music. Most of these people own labels and see themselves as out-of-pocket after nurturing and developing new artists. Effectively, they want the money back from someone and they don't care who has to pay up. However, suing people willy-nilly would be a PR nightmare, so for the time being, they continue to scratch their chins while they make a plan.

However, in a weird turn of events, Gallant Macmillan has got the ball rolling with some mass litigation against 2000 filesharers on behalf of Ministry of Sound record label - which is weird, considering that MoS don't seem to do much other than make compilations of other label's bands.

The file-sharers have received threatening legal letters which basically state that they have to cough-up a settlement fee of something in the region of £350 or have the axe hang over them in court with much larger penalties. It seems incredibly heavy-handed.

Even the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) isn't best pleased with this move. They're okay with with trying to penalise copyright infringers, but tend to save this action for the most serious abusers.

ExtraTorrent report that some people have panicked and simply stumped up the settlement fee, whilst others have shrugged and binned the letters.

What's odd about this action is that MoS can't be certain that the individuals who have received the letter have done anything wrong. The only certainty is that the ISP IP address has been used for filesharing, which of course, could have been hacked or indeed, used by a family member who doesn't pay the bills.

For the time being, those that have ignored the letter have not heard of any further action but Gallant Macmillan is saying that Ministry of Sound is serious about this action, even though no-one has been summoned to a court as yet.


  • mistersmee
    "ISP" or "IP address"?
  • Ben
    I'm guessing IP address... but still. Compared to the producers of the Hurt Locker demanding $2000 ($3000? I forget) per customer, this seems a good attempt. Even if half pony up, they've covered the cost of stamps and some lost CD revenue. Seems like smart business.
  • Hong P.
    ahhh Ministry Of Sound.... every one of their songs Original.
  • Alexis
    This is a mail scam, in the same way private parking companies operate. They can only claim their actual damages. £350 is an arbitary figure, plucked out of the air at random purely as a way to make some quick cash for the 'solicitors' involved. If you download 10 tracks, you may have caused damages of 50p a track. If you upload these, because you are actually only distributing fragments, for which actual damages are a nightmare to prove. Much easier to just scare people into pay three hundred odd quid. These letters should be ignored.
  • Alexis
    Incidentally, if they want to sue 2000 people, they'll need to cough up £60,000 to the courts straight up. Solicitors fees will probably be another £20k, and since you're chasing actual loss, they'll be lucky to be awarded £10k in the end. And they'll be lucky to actually recover half of that in the end. Much easier to just send out 2000 letters and hope 25% pay up. That's £175,000 for not much work.
  • Tim
    Simple response. "Prove it". As for the figures bandied about related to losses, the music (and movie) industry has still yet to justify these figures and prove beyond doubt that had these "sharers" not illegally downloaded they would have actually stumped up money for their overpriced crap. The reality is these guys are not losing money at all, they're raking it in and doing very nicely. The only ones who are getting screwed are the artists, by the labels. Sadly some of these have fallen for the propaganda and campaign against illegal downloads, moaning that it harms their income when in fact it doesn't and they'd be far better off going independent and pushing cheap downloads themselves (or even chucking some stuff out for free to promote a tour etc).
  • warwick h.
    Aye - prove who downloaded what, virtually impossible.
  • I_hate_MOS
    I'm one of the 2000 that got the letter from GM / MOS legal bods. The thing is to pay the lesser amount you have to phone up and admit you have done wrong ells you can't get your Case Number or Password to log into their website and pay via card the lesser £350. this is the website the letters tell you to go to. They have no proof what so ever me or my familly downloaded and made avaliable for upload thier stuff and they will never find it on any PC as its not even on there as I never downloaded it, the only thing they have is my IP which is as much use as a chocolate tea pot in a cort of law ! as it could of been spoofed or wireless network sniffed at with "air snort". I Will NEVER buy a Ministry of sound recording ever again for what they have done, I used to buy nearly all the compilations but they will now be losing £100 a year from me, they can sit and swivel now ! 1. accuse everyone of illigal download / upload. 2. send demanding and threatoning letters saying pay up £350 or ells your going to court. 3. drive the very few customers who bought your CD's away and lose even more money. 4. go bankrupt as you have no customers. NICE ONE Mos shoot yourself in the foot why not numb nuts !
  • Ali
    I wonder what would happen if all those sent letters coughed up a tenner and submitted a Subject Access Request to Gallant MacMillan under the terms of the Data Protection Act.
  • Brian T.
    I also got a letter . I was sent another recently saying that I may be innocent and if so I should reply to state my case. I know I am innocent . I thought this was another Internet scam until I thought I would check with Sky. I am no more guilty than if I left my car unsecured and someone stole it ran somebody over and killed them. Would I be done for manslaughter . Clearly if GM solicitors won one of these cases I would have to throw away my wifi router and settle for a wired modem. So would every free wifi hotel pub or any establishment offering it.
  • gary
    i paid my fine as i could not afford to go to court, i did not get a reciept which makes me wonder that this is a scam. i did download illeagaly to try out an album before i buy as i buy alot of music. i still will buy a lot of music EXCEPT FOR MOS SHIT. GREEDY FUCKERS WILL SHOOT THEMSELFS IN THE FOOT.......
  • mark
    I to have received a letter of GM. My mrs wants to pay the bill as it is in her name but she did not download the album. Dont know what to do.
  • Andy
    I got a letter and got standard reply off the internet which I sent. They've replied basically saying that the inference is that I downloaded it, but if other people did have access to my internet connection, tell them who they are. Not sure is ab 'inference' will be enough to convince a judge. Off to the CAB tomorrow to find out where to go next. Did speak to a solicitor last week - wanted nearlt £400 to do a bit of reserch and send a letter. Do wonder whether this is one reason Gallant Macmillan have set the payment at sub £400?
  • menolka
    No co-incidence at all that GM have set their fees at £350 (and beautifully done that you can pay via the internet!) Yep GM are being more canny than their predecessors. Letting your mind run riot and interpret what "inference" may mean and how likely a court is to find in their favour based on it. They don't need to be as heavy handed as ACS or DL as they would risk the same "bullying" label. It's completely in their interest to keep this out of the courts. A win would be wonderful for them. But a loss would turn off the money tap. That's the risk they're not willing to take Whilst going to court is an "unknown" it leaves doubt in the person reading the letter's mind. It is that doubt which they rely on overwhelming any urge to tough it out and let them keep sending letters. I'm not advocating either path. I can't blame someone for coughing up as it can be immensely stressful. It doesn't really help matters though as they then have £350 more for stamps and NPOs.
  • sound s.
    Superb!!! Bookmarked this web page that has this striking guidance. Will come again to see if there are any updates. You, the author, are a master. Thank you
    I torrent, SUE ME! oh wait no-no YOU CAN'T

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