back to article Judge orders O2 to name suspected smut burglars

A top judge in Blighty has ordered telco Telefonica to hand over the names of O2 broadband customers suspected of sharing porn online. In the High Court Mr Justice Arnold handed victory to copyright-chasing law firm Golden Eye International and the British smut-flick house Ben Dover Productions. Telefonica (the parent company …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    It looks like almost everyone involved in this case is a wanker in one form or another.

  2. g e
    Stop

    Being porn films is no reason....

    No... but merely being 'alleged' filesharers would be, you'd hope. What's the betting one turns out to be blind & deaf, one a little old lady who's 'never been to Dover' and one a person who's been dead six years.

    Shame a judge doesn't require a bit more evidence than (apparently) a (C) chaser's say-so.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Being porn films is no reason....

      ACS:Law were successful at this stage of proceedings as well. It is good enough evidence to get the Norwich Pharmacal order, but merely having an IP address and associated account number is not in itself good enough evidence to prove that the account holder was responsible for uploading the material.

  3. Efros

    Intellectual?

    I think some other term needs to be used rather than Intellectual Property. Given the number of IP suits that are being taken to court that seem to be anything but Intellectual. Software patents and the like should be Bleeding Obvious Property, grumble flicks could be Gratification Property, music could be Predictably Generic Property and Hollywood's output would be Total Lack of Inspiration Property.

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Re: Intellectual?

      Intangible Property.

      Much more descriptive and accurate.

  4. Simon Buttress
    Joke

    Golden eye?

    Brown or Japs surely would be more appropriate, if a little less PC?

    1. g e
      Pint

      Re: Golden eye?

      Or perhaps keep the adjective and simply replace the noun...

      Golden Shower.

      Pint (cos it probably tastes like Carling, nearly a Paris, though)

  5. Si 1
    Big Brother

    Why did they go after O2?

    Was this a case of picking off a smaller ISP with less legal resources so they could then move on to bigger ISPs after setting a bit of a legal precedent?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why did they go after O2?

      I'd hardly class O2 as small. Roughly 620,000 subscribers for broadband.

  6. Velv Silver badge
    Mushroom

    When Telefonica release the details, they should also write to each alleged subscriber advising that:

    A) their details have been released under a court order; and

    B) in the event they are sent any legal communication, they should seek appropriate legal advice before replying.

    It is about time the threatening extortion was stopped once and for all. Either take the pirates to court or stop demanding money with menaces.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Tapeador
      Stop

      I think you misunderstand.

      The letters to each subscriber as proposed by the claimant Golden Eye, seek settlement so as to avoid legal action.

      If you have been injured by someone, you are not *allowed* to take them to court for damages unless you first, and at every further possible stage, seek settlement out of court. Anything less is indeed an abuse of the court system and looked on very unfavourably by the judiciary.

      Admittedly this case is complicated by the fact that ending up in court could be unthinkably humiliating for each defendant - a fact acknowledged by the judge.

  7. Cosmo
    Coat

    Hmmmm

    Who would want to admit to being the owner of a Ben Dover vid? I watched one on TVx about 10 years ago and it was laughably poor!

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Hmmmm

      I watched a BBC 3 documentary on him a few years back - about him trying to become a mainstream actor. It didn't interest me in wanting to watch his porno vids. A man dressing up as an old woman in a film with basically no plot whatsoever is not the sort of thing I'm interested in.

      1. Ben Bawden

        Re: Hmmmm

        Mrs Doubtfire, for example?

      2. LinkOfHyrule
        Joke

        Re: Hmmmm

        I remember that, he can't act for toffee. If only he tried to be a mainstream director instead - he could of easily been the man to bring us Avatar...

        Ben Dover Films in association with SweetMeat and One Eyed Jacks Productions presents... Smurfette Dose Dorking - In glorious 3D!

        In a world where people everywhere are blue and the movies are even bluer, one young woman defys all the odds and succeeds in her epic quest... to bang the entire population of a small Surrey commuter town!

        Smurfette Dose Dorking - the movie event of the year, directed by the acclaimed master of meatslapping himself, Ben Dover! In cinemas now! Rated S for shit.

  8. Graham Bartlett
    Gimp

    "The mere fact that the copyright works are pornographic films is no reason to refuse the grant of relief"

    Indeed, granting relief is the *reason* for them...

    1. Richard Wharram

      Was just about to post the same.

      Made me laugh :)

      1. Graham O'Brien
        Happy

        Re: Was just about to post the same.

        Ditto - who says the English judiciary have no sense of humour?

  9. Ambivalous Crowboard
    Windows

    If you receive a letter, what next?

    Has anybody actually done a write-up of what happens /after/ one of these letters are received? Do you go to court, do you cough and pay up, or what?

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: If you receive a letter, what next?

      Is this a hypothetical situation, or has one of your *cough* mates *cough* received one?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If you receive a letter, what next?

        I too need to know, for uh.... research purposes.

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: If you receive a letter, what next?

      If you receive such a letter, you ask them to prove that it was you whodunnit. Being the subscriber to an IP address that was apparently used in infringing activity is not good enough evidence. There are ways to spoof IP addresses, for example to trick hulu.com into providing access to their videos outside the US, or to trick BBC iPlayer into providing access outside the UK. Someone near to you could have hacked into your wifi router and downloaded infrinding material, or someone could have installed a virus or trojan on your computer and routed traffic through it to conceal their own identity. Some p2p clients deliberately transmit lots of spoof packets to confuse the authorities.

      They need to prove that you did it. You don't need to prove that you didn't. ACS:Law totally failed to prove that they did it. I can't see that this lot will manage any better.

      1. MacGyver
        Headmaster

        Re: If you receive a letter, what next?

        I would ask them for the "chain of evidence" in collecting your IP address. Most likey it was some guy "collecting" IP with their computer (in a "business" ran from his house). I would say that's great, what keeps him from making it up, is he bonded, licensed, a government agency? No. How about where is the "other" 3rd party non connected "auditor"'s records that collaborate the first's.

        Are you using WEP for wireless security, because that can be broken in 5 minutes. If so, where is the law that "mandates" that you have better than WEP for home wireless routers.

        In the end, all "BD productions has is an "IP - xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx" and a time/date, recorded by "some guy" that says you did it. They can't "prove" anything from that.

        I would love to see someone fight one of these guys and set a president for dismissal.

    3. Richard Cartledge

      Re: If you receive a letter, what next?

      I would suspect it is a "Conditional Offer" ie. pay £700, and that's teh end of the matter or go to court and pay £1,000,000 + costs. Do not send cash.

  10. The New Turtle
    Facepalm

    "The mere fact that the copyright works are pornographic films is no reason to refuse the grant of relief, since there is no suggestion that they are obscene "

    While I understand 'obscene' to be a legal term, the irony of this statement should not be missed.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RADIUS Server Logfiles are not Proof

    Fixed Line ISP's use RADIUS Servers to authenticate their customers and the logfiles from the servers can be searched to determine the IP Address issued to a particular username/password at a given time

    Where the chain of evidence breaks down is if:

    1) The time is not exactly correct

    2) The IP Address is not exactly correct

    3)The IP Address and/or username/password does not simultaneously exist in the logfiles with a different combination of details (concurrent search results)

    4) somebody else has not clonedor used your UID/Password (easy if you have sold a router and not wiped the login details)

    Of course If your ISP is using BT's Backhaul, the plaintiff would have to prove the information from your ISP was error free, and then re-prove it wth BT Systems, Then prove that the data handed over from BT backhaul to the ISP was 100% correct

    Not Guilty - Reasonable Doubt

    AC cos I don'twant to be on a watchlist

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Re: RADIUS Server Logfiles are not Proof

      And when you've gone to the expense of finding all that, what do you hope to prove with an IP address and a filename they downloaded?

      Because courts are reluctant to prosecute until you can RELIABLY identify an individual. An IP address corresponds to a phone line, at best. Sure, you could search and seize on the address, given the court's approval, but *PROVING* they had anything to do with it is going to be very tricky anyway.

      Now multiply that up by wanting to search and seize lots of people, along with common knowledge that certain trackers insert fake / falsified addresses into their torrent swarms deliberately, and you're asking the judge to approve a mass search warrant over multiple potentially innocent properties. For a film worth a few pounds. Though, technically, there's nothing to say he couldn't do it, it's likely to be INCREDIBLY frowned upon because the intrusion will almost certainly never be justified by the outcome.

      It's really like searching the house of every John in London because you once caught someone whose friend called him John stealing a DVD from your shop, but he got away. At some point, the CPS / judge just has to say no, or the future implications don't bear thinking about.

      1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects
        Black Helicopters

        Re: RADIUS Server Logfiles are not Proof

        > Now multiply that up by wanting to search and seize lots of people, along with common

        > knowledge that certain trackers insert fake / falsified addresses into their torrent swarms

        > deliberately, and you're asking the judge to approve a mass search warrant over multiple

        > potentially innocent properties.

        So how many IR addresses are going to be handed over?

        All?

        All suspected?

        What happens with the information after that?

        I wouldn't want anyone with a porn reputation or any affiliates having anything remotely connected to me. So How do I know they never have any information on me?

        Off on a tangent:

        Apparently there is a 16 year old lad in detention under the USA's Patriot act, who has no redress to a court of law asking them to prove the evidence against him.

        He has been held in secret for weeks with no lawyer.

        How long before he breaks down?

        And that sort of thing could happen here.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ouch !

    The pucker factor just increased ten fold.

  13. Jimbo 6

    Fair play to the beak

    At least he didn't let any Daily-Mail-faux-prurience obscure the legal issue.

    There was an instance a few years ago where a UK court refused to let a plaintiff pursue a case of blatant false advertising relating to adult services, and basically said "well if you're a perv it doesn't matter if you get ripped off ".

    (The facts of the case : the plaintiff rang a premium rate phone line that was advertised with a picture of a busty young lady, and the text "HEAR ME MOAN !!!". The actual product consisted of five minutes of "When are you going to do the washing up and take out that rubbish ? You just sit round the house all day doing nothing ! I should have listened to my mother...")

    1. Oninoshiko
      Coat

      Re: Fair play to the beak

      Sounds like listening to her moan to me....

      What? Not the moaning you had in mind?

      (I'll get my coat)

  14. b166er

    Justice Arnold also made BT block Newsbin2 didn't he?

    bring on the mesh nets

  15. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Reasonable doubt...

    These are civil cases - balance of evidence is all that's rerquired.

    Let's see what plays out next. I suspect Mr "Dover" might well find himself wishing he hadn't attracted the publicity this will garner.

    1. tirk

      Re: Reasonable doubt...

      His "nom de guerre" suggests that he doesn't worry too much about the type of publicity he gets, IMO.

      I suspect his role in this caper is to be the fall guy the 'chasers hide behind, if it all goes pear-shaped - they've learnt that much from the ACS Law fiasco.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Errr...

    Who in their right mind would call a company Telefonica?

    1. DJGM
      Facepalm

      Re: Errr...

      You do know that Telefónica has been around for over 85 years don't you?

      You do realise Telefónica is Spain's biggest telco don't you?

      Nope, obviously you didn't ... on both counts.

  17. David 45

    Doh!

    Where's Judge Birss when he's needed?

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