As reported in today's Guardian, the British Phonographic Institute has been making threatening noises against British internet service providers over the past couple of weeks. The BPI have given them until around now to "take action" to prevent their networks being used to facilitate copyright infringement. So far, only Carphone Warehouse has responded to the threat.
The Guardian makes a guess at what action could be coming, and even speculates at the potential for future law-making, but completely fails to see that copyright holders already have a powerful tool against ISPs that they could use right now, in the form of section 97A of the CDPA. This allows the High Court to grant an injunction against an ISP "where that service provider has actual knowledge of another person using their service to infringe copyright". To the IPKat's eyes, this seems to be pretty broad, and gives the BPI potentially pretty strong grounds to go after ISPs, provided they have good evidence that their service is being used for infringement (which everybody knows is widespread). They would presumably only need to show that infringement is taking place, for example by users making available copyright works contrary to section 20(2)(b).
The IPKat now wonders: what will happen next? Could ISPs have their services shut down, or (if they choose instead to cooperate) will this be the beginning of an escalating battle between filters and infringers?