Ben Dover to tackle O2 porn piracy

Posted: July 25, 2012

Ben Dover Productions and licence holder Golden Eye (International) Limited have begun legal proceedings against nearly 3,000 O2 customers, whom they accuse of illegally downloading and sharing porn films through peer-to-peer websites.

Before letters to the ISPs consumers could be issued, an order had to be requested from the High Court to instruct 02 (Telefonica UK Ltd) to release the names and addresses of service users who are alleged to have committed copyright infringements. The response to this application for a court order to 02, which is publicly available here, reveals that the scale of the proceedings could have been much broader, with approximately 9,000 cases raised on behalf of numerous copyright owners. Judge Justice Arnold dismissed the joint application of the majority of would-be claimants, approving the Ben Dover-Golden Eye application only: “I do not consider Golden Eye to have any legitimate interest separate from those of the Other Claimants for this purpose,” he stated in his judgement. “If the Other Claimants want to obtain redress for the wrongs they have suffered, they must obtain it themselves.”

The original draft of the letters, which are set to be issued in August, was heavily scrutinised by the judge, in cooperation with citizens’ rights group, Consumer Focus, who insisted on numerous mandatory changes on the final document as a condition of the court order being approved. Representatives, ACS Law, had originally included a one-off £700 fine, which both the judge and Consumer Focus deemed to be inappropriate.

“We do not condone copyright infringement, but innocent people should not feel bullied into settling claims and they must be made aware of where to go for help,” Mike O’Connor, chief executive of Consumer Focus told the BBC. The final letter advises recipients to contact the Citizens Advice Bureaux, who have agreed to support the accused.

Managing director Julian Becker of Golden Eye (International) Limited told the BBC, “Golden Eye (International) Ltd continues to monitor all ISPs for our titles and pursue online and physical forms of piracy of our content.” Although the licensee is so far only known to be pursuing alleged copyright infringers on the O2 network, similar action may be extended to other ISPs at a later date.

For more information on this action, visit the BBC, where you can also download a PDF of the final letter.

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