Feeds

Pensioner gets apology over S&M smut filesharing threat

Davenport Lyons: The lawyers who care

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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."

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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?