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back to article Pensioner gets apology over S&M smut filesharing threat

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 …

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Silver badge

Invoice them!

I think he ought to send them an invoice with 30 day terms. Then see if they pay up. It'll cost them more to defend it than pay, especially if they think they might lose in the small claims court after the 30 days is up. After all, he's incurred expenses directly as a result of their actions.

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Anonymous Coward

It wasn't

Max Mosely who's "behind" the film?

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Bronze badge

@Davenport Lyons

You're all a bunch of tossers.

That is all.

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Unhappy

"A retired 64-year-old Reg reader, who we'll call John,"

Oi! It wasn't me!

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Alert

Lible?

As well as the legal fees, he should peruse them for libel against his character. Imagine what the wife, kids, etc, must have thought?

Would be good for them to loose some money on this sort of practice...

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gotcha

Maybe he should invoice them with a devils contract. Pay me this amount in 15 days or I automatically take sole ownership of your company and all client companies.

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Stop

Interesting Wording

Is it my imagination, or is the wording of their letter almost suggestive of generousity?

It doesn't appear to state that they actually made a mistake, instead saying that the client had decided to pursue no further action.

I guess they can't go around admitting that their business model is B*llocks, but surely if they had made a mistake the client wouldn't be given the option of pursuing the matter, i.e. the client couldn't Decide not to pursue, he'd be unable to

Clearly they did make a mistake, and likely have in a wide number of cases. The whole thing really is a lawyerly grab for money.

Mines the solid gold jacket that I DECIDED not to buy

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Alert

Old legal scam

Such tricks are not confined to filesharing: in 1994 a legal firm in Skelmersdale, Lancs., wrote to me alleging that my driver had damaged their client's sports car when unloading pallets in Peterborough (neither place ever visited by me) when I lived in Oxfordshire and, as a one man software company, employed no drivers They ignored all letters; when I reached an oik on the telephone he said, "See you in court". My solicitor wrote a four line letter demanding the names of their witnesses. We instructed a local solicitor to represent me in court in East Anglia: the claimants failed to appear and the case was dismissed with all my costs being charged to the Skelmersdale solicitors.

As you suggest: this is a "legal" scam to frighten people into sending money just to avoid trouble. One would have thought that such fishing activities would be postively illegal and punishable. Trouble is, I suppose, so many in Parliament re "lawyers", so little chance of an unbiased approach.

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Anonymous Coward

Euro Domination at it's best

That's disgusting. Now I've got this horrible picture in my head of Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy with black leather, latex and whips. What a horrible way to end a Friday. I'll sue...

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Talking of the law

"Since it (Davenport Lyons) began demanding money to avoid embarrassing court action.........."

Is this not blackmail and, therefore, a crime?

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Sue the hell out of them

Damages, reputation, emotional distress, all the shebang. They desserve it.

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Unhappy

@John_A_Blackley

Probably not blackmail. Sadly, the offence of Barratry was abolished in 1967. (Why?!) Methinks it should be reinstated.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barratry

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@John A Blackley

I think elReg has paraphrased this a bit... They threaten court but give you the option to settle outside. Theoretically saves both parties time and money. It's no different to a speeding ticket. You can argue it in court if you like, but you're just risking more points and a bigger fine, so most people just opt for the 3 points and the fixed fine.

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b

Libel?

Blackmail?

Demanding money with menaces?

What these guys are doing can't be legal.

Can it?

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Anonymous Coward

@Nigel

My thoughts exactly.

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Coat

Barratry

"Sadly, the offence of Barratry was abolished in 1967. (Why?!) "

Because by then Syd had reinvented it to mean something completely different altogether.

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Paris Hilton

@ AC posted 14:35 GMT

Why, oh why, is it *always* whips when people need to name a tool of S&M delight? How stupid! I denounce this AC as one of the silly whip-beat-spank-flog-flagellate gang who giggle because they're doing something "dirty".

As any proper sadist knows, it's penetration of not entirely-willing orifices that is the ne plus ultra of s&m play. Let's have more references to giant inflatable dildos, please, and fewer to the kinds of things used to discipline recalcitrant kids.

After all, without proper equipment, the process is flawed from the start — as many tech types have noticed under a wide variety of circumstances.

Paris because <cough> her orifice rarely appears to be unwilling.

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@Nigel

Wonderful word! I'd forgotten it and I thank you for re-introducing it to my vocabulary.

Interesting that it's still a felony in Texas. Hmmm. I know a few ambulance chasers up there.

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Linux

Legality of downloading

If I download Eurodomination or whatever, I have no idea if it's in copyright or not until I watch it, assuming the copyright material hasn't been removed. Until I do so I am also uploading the file to other users as I am such a generous person. How am I breaking the law. And don't say ignorance is no excuse. If I sell a stolen car that I do not know to be stolen I am not sent to prison for it, I may have to pay back the money but I am not a criminal. How is this any different?

And many non-copyrighted films, music and software are available over P2P, do I have to check the legal standing of each one prior to clicking the link? Surely the only person breaking the law is the original uploader or any downloader who subsequently finds out it is copyrighted and continues to seed.

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time to pay

The fuckers need to be taken down a notch. Where do I sent my dosh so the old geezer can sue the britches off those bastards?

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@Nigel re. ........(Barratry)

I followed your link and then other links to old and perhaps obscure legal definitions.

It seems that many previously illegal practices, that involved misbehaviour by the legal profession, intended to line their own pockets, have now been removed from the statute books. This has happened not only in the UK but all over the world.

Can this have anything to do with the large number of lawyers in government?

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Thumb Down

Utterly Pathetic

Davenport Lyons way - guilty until proven innocent, you are the criminals, simple as that, hope you can still sleep at night by being so morally and legally corrupt

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Pat
Unhappy

we'd all LIKE to do things

Davenport Lyons (DL) quote = "You may treat this matter as closed. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience or distress this matter may have caused."

Did DL apologise to John? I'm not sure they did. I'd like to ask out the new cute receptionist, but I know I'd be leaving myself open to trouble of one sort or another if I did. Did DL "like to apologise" in a similar way?

DL formally, and in a legal manner, contacted various organisations to pursue John, with possible unknown but troublesome consequences for his reputation now and in the future. If DL were truly apologetic wouldn't they have again been in touch with those organisations to make equal or greater effort to clear John's reputation and restore his status, and also contacted John to confirm this? I hate to think of the emotional disturbance and stress John must be suffering and, of course, the unjustified threat that now hangs over his work and personal relationships.

(I'd LIKE to give BT a bollocking as well for giving out personal information without letting the actual person know what's going on; I'd like to but I can't as BT don't have any.)

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Uncivil

As far as my understanding goes, the biggest problem is that DigiProtect aren’t only claiming that they have suffered the civil wrong of copyright infringement. The nature of their claims means they are also accusing people of criminal acts. The evidence they claim to have is of uploaders. Euro Domination 5, like Army F*ckers, has received an R18 certificate from the BBFC. Digiprotect are accusing people of the offence of supplying an R18 video outside the premises of a licensed sex shop.

Following on from the earlier commenters, ‘John’ should certainly seek financial redress. The £150 in legal fees is a given. I personally think it would be reasonable to ask for a further £150 to cover the stress and hurt caused by such a serious accusation.

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Anonymous Coward

And I thought...

That Euro Domination might be something to do with foreign exchange!

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I hope he keeps going....

They are clearing taking the p*** saying you can consider the matter closed without even bringing "John" back to a financially neutral point. As really that is the least they should do even before their weak worded apology.

Hes down on cash, hes down in reputation. I hope he has the time and motivation to keep going and get some real action from DL.

Good luck "John".

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Anonymous Coward

Could it be defmation of character?

I wonder if he could sue for damages?

One would have to ask whether making a false accusation that someone was sharing pornography online might damage their reputation and good name.

So, surely he would have the right to sue the person accusing him in order to clear his good name?

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