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Golden Eye Will Expand Piracy Threat Letters to More UK ISP Customers

Friday, Dec 28th, 2012 (9:01 am) - Score 2,062

Golden Eye International (GEIL), the firm which holds numerous copyrights for UK adult films (Ben Dover) and has recently been targeting O2’s broadband ISP customers with internet piracy settlement letters, has confirmed that it plans to use a recent court win to expand its scheme by tackling copyright infringement on behalf of USA based rights holders.

London’s High Court had initially blocked GEIL from seeking the personal customer details associated with data from roughly 6,000 O2 and Be Broadband internet connections, which had been extracted from activity logs on public P2P file sharing networks (i.e. where the adult copyright content is alleged to have been “illegally” shared).

At the time it was ruled that the data related to claims from 12 separate copyright holders and that GEIL should not be allowed to represent them. The court stated that to allow such activity would be like selling “the intended Defendants’ privacy and data protection rights to the highest bidder“ (GEIL stood to keep 75% of any related cash settlements).

But on 21st December 2012 this ruling was broken by the Court of Appeal, which found the High Court’s “reasons difficult to follow“. Both Lord Justice Sullivan and Lord Justice Patten agreed that “If the arrangements are not therefore unlawful and are not simply a money-making exercise designed to take advantage of the vulnerability of the subscribers rather than a genuine attempt to protect the rights of the Other Claimants, I can see no justification for refusing relief based on a disapproval of those arrangements.”

As a result GEIL has now confirmed to the BBC that it plans to both pursue the other 6,000 internet connections and will also travel to the USA in order to begin offering its services at adult conferences in both Los Angeles and Vegas during early January 2013.

Julian Becker, GEIL’s Spokesman, said:

Adult content is legal in the UK and should be given the same rights as mainstream films. However, in reality, I believe there is always going to be a bias against this genre of film production. 85% of computers exhibit porn history, although 90% of users will preach against it. This makes me wonder, if Golden Eye represented the interests of mainstream producers, would there have ever been a necessity of such a long and expensive legal process?

The move would result in a huge expansion of GEILs scheme that could impact a larger number of ISPs and their customers. However, despite the court’s ruling that GEIL’s strategy was “not simply a money-making exercise“, even Ben Dover (Lindsay Honey) himself admitted earlier this year that “At the end of the day, if I can’t make money out of porn, the only way I can make money is to get to the people who are not buying it” (here).

Meanwhile GEIL must still prove that such a pursuit can rake in the cash, which was made more difficult after the High Court imposed a raft of restrictions upon what they could and couldn’t say in their letters. For example, the recipients would effectively have to admit their own guilt before a claim could move forward. The court recognised that the bill payer should not automatically be assumed responsible for any copyright infringement on their internet connection.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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