Feeds

Pensioner gets apology over S&M smut filesharing threat

Davenport Lyons: The lawyers who care

New hybrid storage solutions

Updated A pensioner accused of infringinging copyright by sharing hardcore sado-masochistic pornography using peer-to-peer software has received an apology from controversial law firm Davenport Lyons.

A retired 64-year-old Reg reader, who we'll call John, was accused last year of illegally sharing the movie Euro Domination 5* via BitTorrent. In a now-familiar gambit, El Reg's favourite porn-focused ambulance chasers demanded he pay several hundred pounds costs and damages to avoid court.

Certain he had never watched, let alone shared the movie, John contacted a solicitor for legal advice at a cost of £150. Then earlier this week, he received a second letter to say the accusation had been dropped.

In a missive signed "Davenport Lyons" rather than by an individual lawyer, the London-based firm wrote: "After further consultations with your internet service provider and our client regarding this matter, our client has decided to take no further action against you.

"You may treat this matter as closed. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience or distress this matter may have caused."

John doesn't consider the matter closed, however. He said: "I am now wondering if I should now send Davenport Lyons an invoice for my time and expense in this matter."

Davenport Lyons' client in its pornography copyright infringement business is the German firm Digiprotect. Smut producers signed over their copyrights to Digiprotect, which then harvested IP numbers from BitTorrent swarms seen sharing their output. Davenport Lyons then obtained orders at the High Court requiring ISPs to hand over thousands of customers' personal details.

When John contacted his ISP, the Post Office, it denied having received a demand for his home address. It transpires that his details were held by BT, which operates the entire Post Office broadband operation, including the billing.

Happy to get an apology, John had planned to fight Davenport Lyons anyway. Since it began demanding money to avoid embarrassing court action (a model it first ran on behalf of videogame producers in 2007), the firm has never tested the strength of its evidence in court.

In December, the Solicitor's Regulatory Authority said it would investigate a complaint that Davenport Lyons' letters "make incorrect assertions about the nature of copyright infringement" and "ignore the evidence presented in defence". That followed Atari's decision to drop the videogame infringement cases Davenport Lyons brought on its behalf.

Davenport Lyons did not immediately respond to our question as to whether it had had a rethink on its pornography copyright infringement practice. ®

*"Several gorgeous European women and some lucky guys willingly abase themselves for the cause of hardcore power exchange. Latex, toys, bondage, foot play and lots of amazing custom-made outfits. This is Euro Domination at it's best!"

Update

Davenport Lyons sent this short statement, indicating its interest in pornography copyright infringement remains active: "Davenport Lyons continues to approach each case of alleged illegal file-sharing on an individual basis."

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.