For the less trendy (and the less British) among us, I’ll come right out and say it: The Ministry of Sound is not an official government body, it’s just a UK music label.
As such, they don’t have the kind of sway that say, the ministry of defense has, or even the ministry of agriculture. They certainly don’t have the authority to make up their own laws and rules regarding copyright infringement.
That’s exactly what they’re trying to do though. 2000 Brits received letters from Gallant Macmillan, hot shot lawyers hired by the Ministry of Sound, demanding payment to the tune of around $500.
Presumably, this includes some kind of legal fee, since CDs in the UK cost roughly the same as in North America. Perhaps the figure also includes a small bribe for the judge presiding over the bogus court cases.
Record labels in the UK are typically far more determined to stamp out piracy rather than offer innovative or contemporary products for people who wish to download music online.
Internet service providers are forced to hand over information to lawyers who seek court orders, which seems like the source of the problem. If privacy is being compromised in the name of chasing file sharers, can’t they do the same to hunt down terrorists?
Users receiving these letters should not be too worried though. Consumer protection groups say that unless users admit guilt or are forced to provide access to their computers, the threats are largely unenforceable.