BT and Ministry of Sound clash headlong in unseemly battle

The war between the Ministry of Sound (MoS) and BT continues to rage with both companies fighting tooth and claw and entering into a “they said, we said” scenario.

BT said it had warned MoS about its data retention policies, while the music company said BT “has been evasive”.

BT got in contact with us last night following our story about MOS reportedly having to pause plans to send warning notices to 25,000 illegal uploaders on BT’s broadband network.

MoS said this was because it had discovered that the ISP has deleted over 20,000 of the records that it had asked them to save pending the resolution of a court application.

However, BT was having none of it, telling us: “BT did not delete the emails after they were requested by the MoS. Our data retention policy is that we keep data for 90 days – when they MoS made their request some of the data they were asking for was older than 90 days – therefore we did not have it.”

It told us that it had warned MoS in writing as early as 4 March 2010 that it was not generally possible to recover information about IP addresses which were older than 90 days.

“BT further warned MoS that the search of the IP database can take considerable time during which some data may be lost. This was illustrated to MoS clearly when their first application heard in May 2010 yielded far fewer records than they had originally requested,” a spokesperson told TechEye.

“When MoS made their request to BT to preserve data on 14 June 2010 in advance of the current application, BT immediately took steps to save as much data as it reasonably could. However, given (a) the previous application and (b) MoS being fully aware of BT data retention policies, MoS would have known right from the outset of the application that much of the data would not be capable of retention at that stage.”   

On hearing these comments MoS got its claws out.

Lohan Presencer, CEO of Ministry of Sound told TechEye: “MoS put BT on notice that it required BT to retain this data on a number of occasions dating back to June.

“Ministry of Sound repeatedly requested clarity from BT as to how much data had been retained, BT has been evasive.”

He said the company was only informed of the magnitude of the loss 2 weeks ago.

“Given that BT have escalated the cost of this application and so much data has been deleted, this application is no longer economically viable. BTs data retention policy has no bearing on this situation, when it was formally required to retain this data in June yet waited until October to inform us that it had lost the majority of this data and has consistently avoided answering questions relating to the procedure it follows to preserve such data,” he added.

The spat is surely going to be music to the ears of anti-copyright groups who have issued DDoS attacks on MoS for its methods, however, it seems BT may be doing just as good a job of representing itself, too.