BitTorrent Pirates Won’t Receive ISP Warnings (It Will Be Something Worse)


BitTorrent Pirates Won’t Receive ISP Warnings (It Will Be Something Worse)

As part of its overall strategy to reduce piracy in the Netherlands, local anti-piracy group BREIN announced a program to identify major or frequent uploaders by their IP addresses so that warnings could be sent via their ISPs. Under this system, user identities would not have been obtained by BREIN, but after a local ISP refused to cooperate and BREIN’s request to proceed was denied twice in court, BREIN had a decision to make. (SPOILER: It’s bad news for pirates)

pirate warning2Many copyright holders believe that if they’re able to communicate with pirates, a proportion will change their behavior. The tone of the messaging varies but legal consequences are typically found somewhere in the mix.

When attempting to reach alleged BitTorrent pirates at scale, the immediate problem is accurate identification. While IP addresses can lead to an infringer or at least the person who pays the internet bill, it’s an expensive process when there’s no intention to sue while recovering costs.

In late 2020, Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN believed it had found a solution. The plan was to monitor BitTorrent swarms, identify IP addresses sharing content most frequently or long-term, and then match them to local ISPs. After receiving warning notices from BREIN targeting those IP addresses, all the ISPs had to do was match them to the relevant customers and forward BREIN’s notices.

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