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

Monday, December 3rd, 2012 (8:35 am) - Score 5,071
internet piracy flag

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).

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Mark Jackson
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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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7 Responses
  1. Avatar cyclope

    Goldeneye is no more than a front, for Bendover a purveyer of soft core porn to try and cash in during a time of recession, because the material his company publish isn’t selling So they have come up with this plan to extort monies from people,by claiming that this same material is being copied across the net via P2P
    Which i would doubt is really the case,& they used the same equipment/methods to harvest the IP adresses that the last scammer Andrew crossley ACS law used as evidence last year, and a court threw cases out crossley ended up being the accused
    This is yet just another speculative inviocing scam all those who recieve letters from goldeneye nedd to do is bin them and ignore what is said in the letter,an IP adress is not enough to win a case in court

  2. Avatar James

    Goldeneye were probably one of the original seeds of the torrents and this is merely a sting operation. In order to obtain an IP address, wouldn’t they need to have also seeded content? This needs to be verified. If this is true then this entire charade needs to be stopped.

    Also, I cannot see how Goldeneye aka Ben Dover is seeking £700 damages for the content downloaded, since any content would have cost between £10 and £30 retail, shouldn’t they be sending invoices for £10-£30 + the cost of printing and mailing a cookie cutter letter to all accused? It should be no more than £50 … any more is EXTORTION. As such the courts need to clamp down on this behaviour from greedy rights holders.

    If you had stolen a physical item from a store and are found guilty (if there’s enough evidence against you), you pay for the item + court costs, and that isn’t 20-50 times the cost of the original item. A guy stole my mobile phone, I had CCTV footage of the crime, after declaring a very long statement to the police they picked up the guy and charged him, he had to pay me the cost of the phone and that was paid over time.

    I agree with cyclope, if you receive one of these letters just file it, do not respond or acknowledge that you have done any wrong.

  3. Avatar zemadeiran

    Ben Dover can suck my BEEP! and on top of that, eat my BEEP! and to finish it off he can also take my BEEP! up his milky white BEEP! 🙂

    As an O2 customer if I receive one of these letters trying to extort money from my good self I will have no option but to pull my trousers down and have a BEEP! on it and send it back for official confirmation of said BEEP!

    I do however like the indian takeaway episode 😉

  4. Hi all, it is Hickster from acsbore! I am a person LOL, Thanks for the link though I really appreciate it.

    The ZdNet post is interesting, although they miss out the true heroes of this whole debacle, and that is Consumer Focus, it is they who stepped up to defend the O2 customers, when O2 shamefully refused to actually attend the court hearing. The admission that less than 1000 peoples ips have been matched is truly shocking and must seriously undermine the confidence in NG3Systems (GEILs Monitor) Software monitoring system. It has just gone from bad to worse for GEIL.

    Also for those who receive a letter, the second edition of the “Speculative Invoicing Handbook” has just been released thanks to those chaps at “BeingThreatened” is can be viewed here!

    http://www.scribd.com/embeds/115443516/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-2bv9cdozndp8vis9fe36

    Thanks again!

    • Avatar James

      Thanks Hickster. Do you have that document in .pdf format so it can be distributed? I don’t like Scribd. 😉

  5. Avatar Ade

    just load the link and save as pdf easy 😀

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