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London and Paris offices affected, as well as  New York. And some curious downloading going on in the European Parliament.

Universal Music, which lobbies for enforcement measures against peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing, has been caught with its proverbial pants down.  Statistics on Bit Torrent usage, made available by the anti-piracy surveillance company, ScanEye, and uncovered by TorrentFreak, reveal the possibility of  P2P downloading within the offices of copyright industry companies.  For example, the data  links certain   downloaded files of copyrighted television programmes to the  London and  Paris  offices of Universal Music.

 ScanEye sells its services to the copyright industry for the purpose of identifying file-sharers who can be  either taken to court, or punished via 3-strikes measures.  ScanEye picks up the IP addresses of file-sharers actively using BitTorrent  to download files, and performs what is known as an IP address ‘translation’, to find out who the IP address belongs to.

IP address ‘translation’ will usually reveal  the ISP, to whom the rights-holders must go in order to get the identity of the individual subscriber. What is less well known, is that it can uncover a corporate user, leading it straight to the company or organisation where the file-sharer is based.

 The ScanEye P2P surveillance data shows clearly and irrevocably how a large number of copyrighted files have been downloaded using  corporate IP addresses.  The matter  was highlighed by TorrentFreak, which has exposed file-sharing linked to  the  United States offices of Universal as well as Warner Music  and Sony Music Entertainment, and some of the Hollywood Studios.

 Iptegrity carried out its own review of the ScanEye P2P surveillance data.  The data has monitored  downloads of copyrighted material  that can be  linked to  the London and the Paris offices of Universal. In both cases, a television programme was downloaded – an episode of Channel Four’s comedy series 8 Out of 10 Cats,  and  an episode of the the ‘Drug Kings of New York’ series shown on  the National Geographic Channel. Both of these would be outside the scope of Universal Music's own repertoire.

 Of course, the howling mob will have a good laugh at Universal’s expense. But if Universal, and the other music companies, cannot control their own staff, how do they hope to make 3-strikes laws work?

 If the copyright industries have  any sense, they will realise this is a loud, clanging  wake-up call to change their business model.

 Moreover, it will  demonstrate to policy-makers exactly how copyright enforcement measures  work in real life.

The  ScanEye P2P surveillance data also exposes BitTorrent activity within the German Bundestag, and in European Parliament itself,  where someone downloaded  Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons – a pop group  dating back to the 1960s, who  give annual concerts for pensioners in  British seaside towns. Hence, it rules out the younger MEPs, and suggests that the downloader is likely to be over 60.

Can you imagine the conversation when the industry lobbyists turn up at his or her office?

 Industry lobbyist: ‘We’d just like to remind you that downloading of copyrighted music is illegal’.

MEP: ‘I’d just like to remind you about that amendment you asked  me to table to the Collective Rights Management directive’.


 For more on the lobbying of the music industry in the European Parliament, see my book  The Copyright Enforcement Enigma  - Internet Politics and the ‘Telecoms Package’    It discusses entertainment industry lobbying on the EU Telecoms Package.

 This is an original article from If you refer to it or to its content,  you should cite my name as the  author, and provide a link back to  Media and Academics – please cite as Monica Horten, Universal Music caught in its own trap,   in,  27 December  2012 . Commercial users - please contact me.

Iptegrity in brief is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I’ve been analysing analysing digital policy since 2008. Way back then, I identified how issues around rights can influence Internet policy, and that has been a thread throughout all of my research. I hold a PhD in EU Communications Policy from the University of Westminster (2010), and a Post-graduate diploma in marketing.   I’ve served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe  Committee on Internet Freedoms, and was involved in a capacity building project in Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. I am currently (from June 2022)  Policy Manager - Freedom of Expression, with the Open Rights Group. For more, see About Iptegrity is made available free of charge for  non-commercial use, Please link-back & attribute Monica Horten. Thank you for respecting this.

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Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

In 2012, I presented my PhD research in the European Parliament.

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