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UPD O2 UK and BE ISP Users Warned to Expect GoldenEye Piracy Letters

Monday, Dec 3rd, 2012 (8:35 am) - Score 5,485

ISP O2 UK and its sibling, BE Broadband, have now officially started sending out warning letters to around 2,800 customers, specifically those whom are suspected by Golden Eye International of having unlawfully shared copyright content online that belongs to the Ben Dover porn brand.

Golden Eye had originally hoped to target closer to 9,000 O2 and BE internet accounts, each of which could have been sent a letter demanding payment of a £700 settlement for alleged copyright infringement, although London’s High Court ruled in June 2012 that such demands were “unsupportable” and that it did not have permission to pursue 6,000 or so of the accounts (here).. yet.

As a result the court required Golden Eye to tone down its letters, which crucially prevented them from wrongly asserting that the bill payer may be liable for any copyright infringement that occurs on their connection.

The firm would instead send two letters, with the first acting as a general notice that copyright infringement had been detected and demanding a response within 28 days. The second letter would focus on a negotiated settlement sum. Failure to respond to the first letter could result in an individual being found liable. The BBC published a template copy of the first letter in July 2012 (Sample Golden Eye Letter).

But according to Acsbore, the relevant O2 and BE Broadband customers now look set to receive a general purpose early warning letter before any of Golden Eye’s threatening ones turn up. We’ve re-published a copy of BE’s letter below, although O2’s is extremely similar (you can see a copy of the O2 letter on Acsbore).

bebroadband golden eye letter

The development means that Golden Eye should be issuing their formal letters very soon, while those who fear they may be affected might be able to find out early by contacting the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), which is supposed to have been given prior notice about who would receive such messages. Doing this at Christmas is unlikely to win Golden Eye any sympathy points among the general public.

Meanwhile Golden Eye and the Open Rights Group (ORG) are soon to face off at the court of appeal over the question of whether or not Golden Eye should be allowed to represent 12 other copyright holders (here), which if granted would allow them to pursue the other 6,000 or so O2/BE internet accounts in the same way.

UPDATE 4th December 2012

A spokesman for O2 has told ZDNet that the final tally of actual customer account details, which were officially supplied to Golden Eye last Friday, was “just under 1,000“. In other words O2 was only able to match the details from 3,000 connections to a third of the actual number in terms of real users.

This could result from errors in the log files or perhaps reflect the fact that some multiple P2P tracks were created via a single connection. For example, when somebody disconnects and then reconnects from the internet during a file sharing stint, which changes the accounts IP address (i.e. two IPs used but connected to one account).

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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