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back to article Major law firm drops filesharing threats

Davenport Lyons, the high profile London media law firm, has dropped its mass letter writing campaign on behalf of copyright holders, which accused internet users of illegal filesharing and threatened court action if they did not quickly pay hundreds of pounds compensation. However, the campaign has been taken up by a much …

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Sounds familiar

Stealing intellectual property is a bad thing, but ACS:Law contain the same insane provision that other similar law firms do (from their "Notes on Evidence" page)

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8. Use of Our Documentation

Finally please note that the information and documents contained in this letter are the copyright of ACS Law. Any unauthorised use, e.g. posting on websites and fora, will render the persons responsible liable to ACS Law for copyright infringement, in addition to any liability which may be owed to our client for the same. Further action, in addition to that contemplated in this letter, may result.

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There are several choice terms that you can use for law firms that are so far up their own arses that they say things like that. But I won't use them here. Didn't Davenport Lyons try the same thing?

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Joke

Snigger

"The firm confirmed some of its staff had transferred: "Certain members of Davenport Lyons' staff have joined ACS Law to continue working with these clients and we have given permission for ACS Law to use documents originally created by us, in the file-sharing work they undertake.""

File sharing law firms in file sharing shocker?

:-)

Steven R

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Clones

Wonder how they catch the peeps on the virgin network with cloned modems.....

That would be a kick in the Teeth as the network works on the Mac address of the modem which is linked to your bill...

When the Modem chats to server the server check if access is allowed. if allowed then you get a IP address..

All well and dandy..

How ever if your Mac has been cloned and being used else where then u r buggered!!.. (if they are filesharing)

Kind of reminds me of the Tv Licence people who assume every one in the uk has a tv and you have to prove you dont.....

Bit like saying every one with a net connection must file share and you ahve to prove you dont....

Oh the joys of uk law eh lol

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Stop

Is this even legal?

How can a law firm possibly claim "copyright" on correspondence?

If I want to seek help on a public forum against an accusation, does this clause effectively prevent me from doing this? Surely there's some other law/right to fair representation that overrides this nonsense?

Next step: "This document is copyright Sue, Grabbit and Rune. You may not disclose the contents of this letter to anyone, including your solicitor, legal representative or anyone else who might assist you in fighting your case"...

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Black Helicopters

Is ACS guilty of software Piracy??

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090508/1944054795.shtml

It seems some of the software used by ACS is actually registered to Davenport Lyons...

Draw your own conclusions...

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Pirate

What a bunch of Muppets

I wonder if there is any interest by Davenport Lyons Partners in ACS ? There is a good bit over at torrentfreak on this one for those that have been on holiday to Pluto:

http://torrentfreak.com/new-anti-piracy-lawyers-chase-uk-file-sharers-090508/

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Hollow threats

Usual debt collector-cum-solicitor gumph.

• letters do not demonstrate actual loss alleged to have occurred.

• IP address is not enough evidence to make bill payer liable 'on the balance of probabilities'. You may, for example, have a wireless network and friends over regularly. You may have 10 friends, each who have access to your WEP key and any of them may have uploaded files at various times.

• it is up to them to prove their case. They have no evidence, only an IP address and a timestamp. This is a civil matter, not criminal, so they have no way of gaining any other evidence e.g. your hard drive contents.

so

• do not pay

• do not contact them

• don't hold your breath for court action

• should hell freeze over, a defence can easily be submitted

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Website knocked up in Joomla

Just though I would have a browse through their website and low and behold its a Joomla, using the standard Template.

I sure some really clever person out their could find a clause in Joomla's T&C's saying that it isn't allowed to be used by tossers extorting money from feckless P2P sharers.

Wouldn't that be ironic if they wrote to somebody saying you stole stuff and we are going to sue you and all your family only to be hit with a counter claim for stealing or mis using Joomla

Can I have an icon for keeping my fingers crossed X

Please Please Please let the clause be there.....................

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Is there anything to stop me from doing this?

I could get an IP address off a torrent, find the owner of the IP address and send them a letter asking for money, but be careful to not mention i have no legal right to this?

I may do just that....

infact, i may choose to patent this process, and sue anyone else who does it!

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Happy

RE: Is ACS guilty of software Piracy??

Well we will soon find out. They have now been reported to both FACT and Microsoft

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Anonymous Coward

ACS=?

Ambulance Chasing Shysters?

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@ SuperTim

"Is there anything to stop me from doing this?"

Yes - you need some means of resolving an IP address to a real-world user. This requires the co-operation of that user's ISP.

You could try suing the ISPs directly, though:

"Our Intawebz Detekta Party Vans have detected that illegal films have flowed through your Intertubez. Give us more money, you bastard. May the seed of your loin be fruitful in the belly of your woman. Signed Terribly, Terribly, Boring & Dull, solicitors."

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Dodgy

""Is there anything to stop me from doing this?"

Yes - you need some means of resolving an IP address to a real-world user. This requires the co-operation of that user's ISP."

It would contravene the 2006 Fraud Act, but then there's a likelihood ACS's letters contravene the The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 anyway.

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@Toastan buttar

Your legaleze mumbo jumbo is exactly what i need. We should set up in business.

Boomshanka!

BTW, i may just trawl through facebook for pictures of cars. The DVLA are more than happy to give up keeper's addresses, and i could make up any IP address....only the idiots would actually pay up anyway!

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Anonymous Coward

question..

"t would contravene the 2006 Fraud Act,"

How? unless you were claiming to be someone your not?

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Stop

Worst Advice EVER!!!

@ Anonymous Coward Posted Tuesday 12th May 2009 12:41 GMT

DO NOT DO what the AC suggested.

If you Ignore the letters the all ACS have to do is to get a trial date. They turn up, you don't, they win by default and no not have to give any evidence! All you get is a huge bill backed up by the County courts.

best thing to do is:

When you get the first letter, reply with a letter stating that the allegations are false, that you have NEVER downloaded or even heard of the title in question and you are willing to go to court to defend yourself.

You will receive a second more strongly worded letter.

Reply like the first letter.

NEVER ADMIT to anything! DENY everything. it's up to them to prove on the balance of evidence that you broke the law since this is a Civil case.

After 2 or 3 letters they will give up. They do not want it to go to court if the other party is willing to fight!

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Bill - complete rubbish

Bill - you're advice is poor.

They can take court action and go for a win by default, whether you write or not.

However - you're immediately at a disadvantage if you contact them because they can weigh you up. This is a *mail scam* and they rely on you showing your hand. If you reply with a templated internet letter, or a poorly written one you immediately flag yourself up as a rattled victim.

Then you're put on the 'hooked fish' list and are bombarded with more letters.

These companies hate dealing with people who never respond - they don't know who they're dealing with.

Cases are cherry picked, and the person who go taken to court in the first place probably contacted them, showed their hand and were seen as an easy target. And then they didn't turn up on the day!

You're correct that they will give up after 2 or 3 letters. IF YOU COMPLETELY IGNORE THEM.

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Go

RE: Clones

@Steve

You macs are cloned. But from a differntsector of the network. Each town is split up into sectors. So VM can identify the real mac and the cloned one from the differnt sectors.

God knows why they dont kick them off though.

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Dead Vulture

@ SuperTim

If you can prove that you are the creator of said file being shared. You can request information from the ISP for the IP.

This is how a lot of people get there private info dropped online.

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BitTorrent swarms

Quote "Both Logistep and Digiprotect work by harvesting timestamped lists of IP addresses seen infringing copyright via BitTorrent swarms."

Who in their right mind uses BitTorrent swarms when downloading, erm you know what!

This is like buying something you know is stolen goods from some dodgy bloke in a pub, then running round the high street on Saturday lunch time shouting "I stole this, does anyone else want a copy?" to everyone around, including the local coppers! Muppets!

Most torrent sites that contain, erm, dubious contents, won't allow you to connect if you have swarm mode switched on, for obvious reasons!

Swarms are fine for legit traffic, Linux distos and such, but not for those 'other' items ;-)

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Challenging the evidence...

Working in IT Security for a university, I get to deal with take-down notices on a regular basis.

The quality of evidence provided in some of these complaints is shocking - I've had several where the infringing IP address belonged to someone else (in one case, someone on the other side of the planet) and I've even received a batch which reported infringements on 192.168 addresses !

I told them to stop being so bloody silly and read RFC1918. I even threatened to bill them for wasted staff time if they sent through any more made-up complaints.

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Flame

Software Piracy - FFS just doc templates.

Dunno how you can reckon that ACS are guilty of SW piracy? - oh it's the fact that when you look at the document properties then it says company Davenport Lyons therefore ACS must be using their software.

But if you read the article it says "we have given permission for ACS Law to use documents originally created by us, in the file-sharing work they undertake"

So if ACS is using DL's document templates (as per the article) then thats probably why the document's properties say DL, and is nothing to do with whether ACS is using licensed or unlicensed software which as a media firm I very much doubt..

as to reporting them to microsoft and FACT - epic fail

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In British law

People who don't turn up are guilty. You did not turn up to fight *because* you know you have no chance of winning. This is not the same as just sending your lawyer instead. As Bill Cumming has put it show your willing to fight and they will back off. £16k buys a hell of a lot of albums.

Is this a case of work migrating down the legal food chain? What's the betting when someone does stand up to them and go to court they blow away like blossom on the wind?

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@AC 16:52

I think you're a bit mixed up.

You're confusing swarm information with DHT. having DHT on or off makes no difference to being found, its just a way of finding other peers on the torrent without using a tracker. The 'private flag' disables that, and PEX (Peer EXchange) as well as Local Peer Discovery on torrents when it's enabled. But it being on or not is besides the point.

The swearm info they're talking about is that bit when you go into a client, and look at the peer list. They see all the IP addresses, and just write them down, or screencap them with a 'always on top' clock with seconds showing. (Or, even easier and more automated, they can turn on connection logging in utorrent and have it done for them, for instance). This happens regardless of DHT being enabled or not.

Private torrent sites are not 'safer', if anything they're a greater risk. Smaller swarm, greater repeating of users allows for multiple hits on the same person, and the greater information such sites store. http://neuron2neuron.blogspot.com/2007/03/private-protection.html explains some of these risks in greater detail.

Can you tell I do a LOT of research into bittorrent (as well as do support for µTorrent over at their IRC channel)?

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Anonymous Coward

Arm's-lengfh operation - re "What a bunch of Muppets"

Precisely. Guess whose hand is up the puppet's arse.

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Wouldn't employ you two as lawyers

"People who don't turn up are guilty. You did not turn up to fight *because* you know you have no chance of winning. This is not the same as just sending your lawyer instead. As Bill Cumming has put it show your willing to fight and they will back off. £16k buys a hell of a lot of albums."

Absolute nonsense. There are plenty of reasons people don't defend, usually because they are dopes. Someone with their head screwed on doesn't just ignore a £16k civil claim, unless they have plenty of CCJs already and/or own no assets of that amount.

You misunderstand the scam if you think 'fighting' will scare them off. This is a victimisation process, where people are cherry picked.

They are basically 'fishing' for victims. Those that respond are classed as hooked fish - and these people can be cajoled into caving in with further letters. If you put your foot in it and sound like a rattled victim, their eyes will light up and they could well take a punt on you in court.

Sending letters that go unresponded is hitting their head against a brick wall for them. Yes, they could go for a win by default, but it's too risky for them. Remember their case is flimsy - the last thing they want is for them to pick victims with their eyes closed.

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Pirate

Never said I was a Lawyer

@ Anonymous Coward Posted Tuesday 12th May 2009 23:19 GMT

I've 3 Civil court appearances

All 3 were to do with reclaiming from Credit card agency's for the charging of "Overdraft fee's"

In ALL 3 occasions the Credit card company Failed to show up at court and judgment went in my favor I got my court fee's and the overdraft charges awarded to me.

Best 45 mins total in court i've ever had :D

Basic moral : If you ignore the threat THEY WIN!

Since you (AC) are a HUGE coward you'd probably have you're chequebook opened as soon as you read their letter....

Try posting with an ID then people might take you seriously.

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Soo..

Someone needs to not reply, wait till they get summoned, then turn up in court and take ACS/DL to the cleaners (because their case sucks). Set a precedent, and everything goes away?

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Jon

@ Bill and AC

AC Never said ignore a court summons just the initial probing mailshots.

I thought that a court summons is sent recorded delivery and you sign to recieve it. If you then fail to turn up its your own fault. Please correct me if i'm wrong however.

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