This video produced by security researcher Dan Morrill brings home how easy tracking is:
The identifications the process produces are nowhere near 100 per cent reliable, given that all an IP number proves is that there is a device connected to the internet. Open Wi-Fi networks and dynamic address pools both provide a good "it wasn't me" defence.
If the rights holder lobby gets its wish, however, new rules on filesharing will be built into ISP terms and conditions, and the identification will never be scrutinised by a court. It seems increasingly likely it will get its wish, whether by voluntary agreement or legislation.
Whether that will fix the broken record industry is more questionable.
The swivel chair-revolutionaries that create the web's anti-copyright echo chamber seized on the EU decision as a victory yesterday (top story on Digg! OMG! Ron Paul for president of the universe!). Back on planet Earth, it changes nothing for the people struggling to understand how to consume creativity online, or the mutually-dependent ISP and music rackets who're both flailing for a business model. ®
*One ironic consequence of an established scheme to cut off filesharers without involving the courts might be that the bottom falls out of the new line of business being pursued by Davenport Lyons and other intellectual property ambulance chasers.