25,000 BT and Plusnet customers were let off the hook yesterday as the Ministry of Sound announced that it was suspending action to identify broadband users it accused of illegal filesharing.
The label attempted to issue BT with a Norwich Pharmacal Order - a writ to force the disclosure of information, in this case names and addresses of alleged filesharers - earlier this year.
Now they say they've been forced to drop the case since BT have deleted 80% of that identifying information.
Under BT's data retention policy, IP address information is deleted after 90 days, a fact, BT claim, the Ministry of Sound were well aware of.
Ministry of Sound CEO, Lohan Presencer, told press: "It's very disappointing that BT decided not to preserve the identities of the illegal uploaders...
"We are more determined than ever to go after internet users who illegally upload our copyrighted material. We will be making further applications for information from all ISPs. Every time that a track or album is uploaded to the web it is depriving artists of royalties and reducing the money which we can invest in new British talent."
BT denied that the Ministry of Sound were unaware that the data that could be made available to them - under 5,000 names - would make it fairly pointless to continue their action.
If they obtained the data, Ministry of Sound solicitors Gallant Macmillan would likely have sent out letters demanding £350 'settlement payments' from those accused of illegally downloading their material.
A BT spokesman said: "...the Ministry of Sound and its solicitors are well aware of this [data policy]. Upon request from Ministry of Sound we saved as much of the specific data sought as we reasonably could and any not preserved must have been too old.
"Our door remains open to Ministry of Sound and any other rights holder who wants to enforce their rights in a fair way through an established legal process."
BT and Plusnet had already successfully had the court date waylaid after expressing data security concerns.
A Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack on another solictors firm working with the music industry - ACS Law - at the end of September led to the personal data of thousands of broadband customers becoming available online.
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