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UK High Court Clears Golden Eyes Internet Piracy Letters for O2 UK Users

Posted Friday, June 1st, 2012 (7:55 am) by Mark Jackson (Score 1,661)
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London’s High Court yesterday helped Golden Eye International, a firm that holds numerous film copyrights and is linked to the UK’s Ben Dover porn brand, to finalise the format of its controversial P2P internet piracy settlement letters. Thousands of O2′s broadband ISP customers (those accused of copyright infringement) can now expect to receive the letters, albeit not without some crucial limitations.

The outcome follows Golden Eye’s submission of a Norwich Pharmacal Order (NPO) to collect the personal details associated with 9,124 internet connections, which was cleared at the end of March 2012 (here). Crucially the court ruled that Golden Eye could only send the letters if a made a series of critical changes to the format and wording. The firm has also confirmed that it will not send letters to individuals who “simply downloaded one film“.

According to yesterday’s proceedings, GoldenEye will need to send two letters. The first will act as a general notice to inform the connection owner that copyright infringement has been detected on their internet connection and ask them to respond within 28 days (Golden Eye had wanted 14 days). The court has also prevented Golden Eye from wrongly asserting that the bill payer may be liable for any copyright infringement that occurs on their connection. Likewise the letter must not threaten to “slow down or terminate” the suspects broadband connection.

In other words the bill payer will not automatically assumed to be guilty, which could open the door to an ‘open wi-fi network’ defence. Golden Eye, after effectively asking customers to incriminate themselves, will then send a second letter (assuming they decide to pursue it) that is designed to individually negotiate the settlement sum (Golden Eye had wanted to demand £700 from everybody). People who admit, in the first letter, to the alleged infringement will also be asked to disclose information about their P2P filesharing activity.

O2 Statement (BBC)

We are pleased that the court has taken a robust approach and controlled the tone and content of the letter Golden Eye proposes to send to our customers. We are also pleased that the judge acknowledged the unique position we are in, and agreed that we have approached this issue in a reasonable way.”

Unfortunately the letters cannot simply be ignored as the first will include a warning that failure to respond could result in the individual being found liable. In reality Golden Eye would probably prefer to avoid taking people to court as the history of such cases tends not to favour the Rights Holders.

We hope to post a copy of the letter drafts just as soon as one surfaces. It’s not known precisely how many letters Golden Eye will send as in the last case 12 of the 13 claimants (excluding Ben Dover) were told to start separate cases, although Ben Dover is still believed to account for the lions share.

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2 Responses
  1. Hmmm we have been here before. This is just a refined attempt at resurrescting the Davenport Lyons/ACS:LAW et all speculative invoicing scam.

    What is more amusing in this though is that the letter has been ordered by the court to be toned down. Golden Eye International/Ben Dover may claim to have no connection with ACS:LAW but there is one, and one Justin Becker has already admitted to, the data gatherer, the person who will harvest the IP addresses of those suspected of uploading/downloading, is a man called Alireza Torabi of ng3 systems, Mr Torabi is the guy who got things spectaculary wrong with the IP addresses that led to ACS:LAW targetting innocent people. He is using the same software, so one can presume the same results.

    Golden Eye International are also using the same “Expert Witness” Alireza Torabi was shown in the leaked emails to have a somewhat troublesome relationship with Andrew Crossley to the point that Crossleys cohort Terence Tsang, consulted and arranged for the monitioring to be done by Guardaley. One would have thought Torabi at least would have learnt his lesson!

    I am just angry, pornography accusations can wreck lives and marriages, that is why I will fight for those wrongly accused.

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