Golden Eye International Limited (“GEIL”), of which Julian Becker is a Director (Cartoon picture), are now sending out letters to people they accuse of infringing copyright even though the recipients denied their claim. A classic “Not listening to anything you have to say”
From the copy of the letters we have seen; let’s look at what they say:
GEILs starts with;
The letter we sent you on <some date> has been approved by Mr Justice Arnold, after input from both Telefonica’s (O2/BE) legal representatives and Consumer Focus and Open Rights Group on behalf of consumers.
Your name and address have been disclosed by Telefonica (O2/BE) as being assigned to the IP address referred to in our earlier letter, at the date and time when the infringement too place.
So GEIL associate their Court approved letter and its content with this this letter they have created themselves? The problem with that is Justice Arnold stated in paragraph 125 from the NPO judgement;
Secondly, the draft letter does not make it clear that the fact that an order for disclosure has been made does not mean that the court has considered the merits of allegation of infringement against the Intended Defendant.
So everything else GEIL say in their response letter should reflect those words.
GEILs own words say the subscriber details were assigned to an IP address. This is a fact because somebody has to be named at an address to pay the Internet Service Provider (“ISP”) bill. To me GEIL are acknowledging this fact and would be aware that the subscriber is not the infringer.
And at the NPO judgement, Consumer Focus was representing the intended defendants because O2 didn’t have legal representation to defend their customers. Quite clearly Consumer Focus provided a monumental effort to not allow GEIL to send their original template letter. The Open Rights Group (“ORG”) were NOT part of the original NPO hearing and O2/BE had no representatives. So basically GEIL are being disingenuous here.
GEILs letter goes on;
You have responded to our letter with a standard response from the internet. In addition to the evidence we have, we would also present to the Court, if necessary, that your communication copied and pasted from the type of sites that offer these responses is further proof of your infringement using the P2P networks.
Julian Becker is someone who claimed to not to have anything to do with Andrew Crossley and ACS:Law (Which he clearly does here), is quite happy to use a template letter originally used by Davenport Lyons and then ACS:Law (And others). This changed as Justice Arnold in the Norwich Pharmacal Order (“NPO”) application Court case wouldn’t allow his template letter as Becker wanted to send it.
Now GEIL are dismissing Letter of Denial (“LoD”) responses from O2 subscribers because he says it is a template!
Notwithstanding the fact that GEIL have no evidence that the subscriber is the infringer as they insist, they now make assertions that using a template response is further proof of the infringement! I call it clutching at straws.
I hope this will finally disprove those rumors that associate us with Andrew Crossley, although my mother was disappointed it has been proved that I am indeed a pornographer not a solicitor.
And I am guessing that his work puts him in easier access to Lawyers to call on at will but scared, innocent, confused and limited means O2 subscribers are not allowed help according to him.
Anyone using the “Speculative Invoicing Handbook – Second Edition” gets a full and concise explanation of an area of expertise and law that even High Court Judges have trouble understanding, as do Members of Parliament and others.
The firm had used template letters/paragraphs which did not fully reflect the true position.
So effectively if GEIL are to reply using a template response then a template LoD is sufficient also. Actually it is more than sufficient because it fully adheres to the Civil Procedure Rules – Pre Action Conduct – Annex A.
So by GEILs logic, would it be incorrect for an O2 subscriber to go to a Solicitor and gain legal advice and have the Solicitor draft up a letter? Would that also be seen as proof of infringement because no effort was made to draft the letter alone?
And what about the “type of sites” part? What type of sites? Is this guilt by association? So I assume this very blog is promoting copyright infringement from GEILs perspective. Or maybe
is packed with torrent downloads from GEILs perspective also?
No, the fact is that this blog and
are helping vulnerable people who have been accused of something they haven’t done simply because they are O2 subscribers.
Maybe GEIL should look at their “type of site” which contains some questionable content:
Clem Vogler, a Chartered Physicist who is registered as a computer expert with the Expert Witness Directory, has written a detailed report of our software.
And surely an “Expert Witness” who has to write a “detailed report” to be used in the High Court would perform a rigorous test of software that is going to be used to obtain IP addresses from a P2P network? Well, from the NPO again:
The tests were carried out in October and November 2009. Mr Vogler explains he did not have Xtrack installed on his computer, and did not concern himself with how it worked, but treated it as a “black box”. He simply presented it with inputs, namely his test files, and examined the outputs to see if they corresponded to his inputs. He was satisfied that they did correspond.
“Mr Vogler explains he did not have Xtrack installed on his computer, and did not concern himself with how it worked”. Some statements are worth commenting on but any “Expert Witness” making this statement in the High Court, well, it speaks for itself.
We use the latest technology to identify those IP addresses from which our films and content are being uploaded to peer-to-peer networks and through rigorous and legal means contact the offenders notifying them of our intent to get them to cease any similar activities in the future as well as negotiate an equitable settlement for the losses caused by their unlawful practises.
So publically saying that IP addresses represents “the offenders”. Which Court said that? Which Judge said that? What Court case said that? Indeed Judge Birss at the case that ended the ACS:LAW debacle, stated that ACS:LAWs client Media C.A.T “do not know who did it and know that they do not know who did it” (Section 28)
GEILs letter goes on;
In the absence of a defence from you relating specifically to the infringement to which we are referring, we consider it likely that the Court would, on the balance of probabilities, come to the conclusion that it is you who has carried out the infringement to which we refer.
In the absence of real evidence from GEIL, and they have already implied the subscriber is assigned to an IP address and not the infringer earlier in their letter, the Court on the balance of probabilities may very well come to the conclusion that the defendant did not infringe copyright.
Thirdly, the draft letter asserts under the heading “Infringing Acts” that the Intended Defendant is liable for infringement. Although the last paragraph under that heading implicitly acknowledges the possibility that the Intended Defendant may not be the person who was responsible for the infringing acts, this acknowledgement is not sufficiently explicit. Furthermore, the reference under the heading “Proposed Settlement” to “inaction, by permitting a third party to use your internet connection” undermines the effect of the implicit acknowledgement. As HHJ Birss QC has explained, nothing less than authorisation suffices for infringement, at least in the context of a claim for damages.
Fourthly, the second paragraph under the heading “Legal Consequences” is too one-sided in that it sets out the consequences to the Intended Defendant of a successful claim without acknowledging the consequences to the relevant Claimant of an unsuccessful one.
Justice Arnold said the above in relation to the original LoC GEIL wanted to send. So HHJ Birss QC says “nothing less than authorisation suffices for infringement, at least in the context of a claim for damages” and the “Legal Consequences” is too one-sided. The statement from GEIL again does not set out evidence of authorisation and again is too one sided.
GEILs letter goes on;
The evidence we have shows the following:
1) Hash of the content being uploaded by you, along with the content name, size and Torrent name. This will uniquely identify the file/movie that was being shared over P2P network.
2) Percentage of the file/movie that was being shared at the time of capture and detection of the infringement.
3) If you are seeding (or partially) more than one content, we have those identified by the ISP.
4) The P2P software, name and version, you were using and the hash that was generated by your software during that session of seeding or partial seeding.
5) The date and the time of seeding of any piece of the content by you with the index of the piece which shows where in the content that piece of data is. As we ask for just one identification by the ISP, this is a snapshot of this as it was happening. All of this could again be sent to the ISP to further identify you.
If we proceed to Court, we will be able to produce the following in digital format:
1) All the pieces seeded by you in a raw format that can then be inspected and further analysed.
2) The raw capture of the packets sent by your P2P software to the Internet at the time of identification. This is raw data that can be analysed further that will essentially show the piece of the content being seeded by you.
That is a lot of technical blurb clearly set out to purposely confuse the subscriber. What it is really is information that was captured from an IP address not an individual person.
It is also a clear assertion from GEIL where they say the subscriber is guilty of the infringement. “being uploaded by you”, “If you are seeding”, “you were using”, “further identify you” etc.
So we see that there is no “phishing” exercise here. GEIL are directly accusing the subscriber which is also apparent from his statement at the NPO hearing:
the Claimants sought disclosure by O2 of the names and addresses of the subscribers associated with the IP addresses shown in the CD-ROM attached as Exhibit 1, that the Claimants believed that those IP addresses had been used by the subscribers to make available copyright material for P2P copying
“those IP addresses had been used by the subscribers”. There it is again! Subscriber is the infringer. What is interesting in this interview with Julian Becker, he says:
As regards Richard Clayton’s evidence that the software we use is capable of identifying the correct IP Address but this is not the case every time, I have to listen to my technical advisors who assure me that in the vast majority of the time, the software will identify the correct IP address that has infringed our copyright. The fact that the order was granted implies to me that the judge shared our opinion on this.
“my technical advisors who assure me that in the vast majority of the time, the software will identify the correct IP address that has infringed our copyright”. Hmmm…..Two things of interest there. Firstly, “vast majority of the time” is NOT “all of the time”. Secondly, “the correct IP address that has infringed our copyright” is acknowledging that it is an IP address and not the subscriber.
GEILs letter goes on;
If you would like to view more details regarding the evidence relating to your specific case then please log onto <some “type of site”> , entering the Case Reference <ref> and the Access Code <code>. You will find here the information you have requested, together with the statements of Mr Torabi (Golden Eye’s expert) and that of Mr Vogler, who was the independent expert. The evidence of both Mr Torabi and Mr Vogler was accepted by the High Court when we made our application against Telefonica.
Who would want to log in to GEILs website? Who? Who knows if they use this against someone in a follow up letter saying they have another IP address and this proves again that they are the infringer.
And Mr Vogler being an independent witness? I would agree to him being Independent if he didn’t get paid. I don’t agree that he is an Expert Witness.
GEILs finishes with;
In light of the above, we suggest you reconsider your position and if necessary seek professional legal advice. We look forward to hearing from you either by email <some “type of email”> or to our office at <some office where you dial premium rate numbers>, quoting your reference number <ref>.
<some signature who is not a person>
In light of being very much less than straightforward, dismissing a perfectly good legal response, a direct accusation of the subscriber being the infringer and an attempt to get the subscriber to log in to one of those “type of sites”, GEIL suggests the subscriber to reconsider their position (Back to the SRA Report, Andrew Crossley stated the LoC’s were “…to try and entice people to settle with us, because that is the object of the exercise to avoid litigation”).
The only part of this letter that actually gives good information is to seek legal advice (And that was Court Ordered)
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t reconsider my position if I received this letter!
But wait………what is this that accompanies the letter…………another letter!!!
Let’s see what this letter says:
GEILs starts with;
Thank you for your correspondence regarding infringing our copyright in <some copyright videos>.
Ah, “Without Prejudice”. That’s interesting. So effectively this letter they are offering some form of settlement for which it cannot be tendered as evidence in Court. See Wikipedia Article paragraph:
The term “without prejudice” is used in the course of negotiations to settle a lawsuit. It indicates that a particular conversation or letter cannot be tendered as evidence in court.
GEILs letter goes on;
We would be happy to settle this matter with you at this stage and would ask for <Some disproportionate amount> from you together with the undertakings and details of where to send payment.
Hmmmm……..I’m beginning to think that “Golden Eye” is actually the “All Seeing Eye”. In the first letter they are making the assertion that the subscriber is the infringer and then ask the subscriber to reconsider their position. In the second letter it seems they have anticipated the subscribers response and requested a settlement figure! Amazing! If they are really struggling because no one buys their material, with foresight like that they could pick six numbers and win the lottery! And guess the bonus ball whilst they are at it!
Also this article, Mr Julian Becker says:
Fundamentally we are pursuing those that are uploading not downloading, they are potentially uploading to millions of others who are also using these networks. How many they upload to is impossible to calculate, but in effect these violations are unauthorized distribution, we are not pursuing those who have simply downloaded one film.
That is interesting. The letter I seen was for one download. And apparently it is “impossible to calculate” how many “they upload to” but it is not impossible to calculate a settlement figure!
GEILs finishes with;;
If this is acceptable to you, we will send you an agreement to sign together with the undertakings and details of where to send payment.
Please respond in writing to either our office at <some office where you dial premium rate numbers>, or by e-mail to <some “type of email”> quoting your reference number <ref>.
<some signature who is not a person>
So sending the first letter to a subscriber asking them to reconsider their position simply because the subscriber denied their claim, then accompanying that letter with another letter proposing a disproportionate settlement figure on the basis that the subscriber has admitted the infringement could be considered injudicious.
Now such a settlement letter being sent by a private company is obviously possible because there is no regulatory body that can scrutinise GEILs actions.
An extract from Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (“SDT”) Case Number 10726-2011; between the regulatory body Solicitors Regulation Authority (“SRA”) and Andrew Jonathan Crossley, paragraph 91.16:
The settlement sums demanded were not based on any or any genuine assessment of the damages and costs for which recipients were liable. In interview with the IO on 16 February 2010, the Respondent had stated:-
“…actually I decided to take a more broad brush approach to this now and simply said “our client is prepared to compromise his claim in receipt of £540 or £495” whatever the figure is going to be, and that’s what it is and we believe the damages would be more in court, as simple as that. I don’t think we need to quantify how the compromise amount has been arrived at other than to say it’s the amount our client is prepared to settle at to avoid a claim.”
And a reminder of what happened to Andrew Jonathan Crossley, paragraph 109:
Statement of Full Order
The Tribunal Ordered that the Respondent, Andrew Jonathan Crossley, solicitor, be suspended from practice as a solicitor for the period of two years to commence on the 16th day of January 2012 and it further Ordered that he do pay the costs of and incidental to this application and enquiry fixed in the agreed sum of £76,326.55.
If the SDT judgement is that such practices warranted Andrew Jonathan Crossley being suspended for 2 years, then such practices must be considered unacceptable.
Anyone who has been a recipient of such a settlement letter could raise a complaint to various persons / organisation such as:
Judge: Arnold J. (NPO Judge) Clerk: Alison Lee, Tel: 020 7073 1789, email: email@example.com
Judge: Birss J. Clerk: John Curtis, Tel: 0207 947 7379, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Write to your MP or Lords representative:
Find your MP:
Consumer Complaint – Citizens Advice:
Open Rights Group: email@example.com
Court of Appeal civil division - Listing Office
For queries about listing cases for hearing, and other queries regarding hearing dates, and should also be used for queries about the settlement of cases
Telephone: 020 7947 6195/6917, Fax: 020 7947 6621, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Court of Appeal civil division - Associates
Relates to the Associates or Court Clerks and should be used for queries about Orders of the Court, and any other post judgment matters
Telephone: 020 7947 6879, Fax: 020 7947 6751, Email: email@example.com
Scrambled first letter page one:
O2/BE There Send More Pre-Warning Letters In Anticipation Of Further Golden Eye International Claims
In a repeat of last Decembers warning letters in anticipation of Golden Eye International Limited (“GEIL”) Letter Of Claim (“LoC”) of copyright infringement on behalf of Ben Dover Productions (“BDP”), O2/BE There have started to send out the same warning letter to their customers in what can only be in anticipation of further LoCs from GEIL on behalf of the other 12 producers.
GEIL successfully gained disclosure of O2/BE There subscriber details (Which was un-opposed by O2) from their Norwich Pharmacal Order (“NPO”) application in March 2012 for BDP, but were unsuccessful with the other 12 producers. They subsequently won their appeal for the 12 producers in December 2012.
The 12 producers (Listed in the NPO Court case) in question are: Celtic Broadcasting Ltd, Easy On The Eye, DMS Telecoms Limited, Gary Baker, Harmony Films Limited, Justin Ribeiro Dos Santos t/a Joybear Pictures, Orchid MG Limited, Kudetta bvba, RP Films Limited, Sweetmeats Productions t/a S.M.P, SLL Films Limited & Terence Stephens t/a One Eyed Jack Productions.
For the new recipients of these imminent LoCs, many will be completely unaware of what is effectively a “phishing” campaign by GEIL. This is because GEIL have only the evidence of a “monitored” IP address and with this they “bought” the subscriber details from O2/BE There. The letter under “Infringing acts” starts:
This letter assumes that you, as the internet account holder at your address, were the user of the relevant computer on the day and time in question
After making such a statement, the letter goes on to say:
In the event that you were not responsible for the infringing acts outlined above because, for example, another member of your household was the user of the computer, you should make full disclosure to us of the other parties at your residence using your internet connection to make the Work available for download
So they assume the subscriber is the infringer then say they may not be responsible, to which they say:
A failure to make such disclosure may lead to a claim being made against you with the court being asked to conclude, on the balance of probabilities, that you were the user of the computer
A completely innocent subscriber who has not committed the infringement, and not authorised anyone else to commit the infringement may receive a follow up letter demanding a disproportionate settlement simply because they respond with details of who also lives at their address.
The subscribers who will receive the latest letters GEIL are sending out can see from the NPO judgement that Judge Arnold said:
Furthermore, it will expose them to receiving letters of claim and may expose them to proceedings for infringement in circumstances where they may not be guilty of infringement, where the subject matter of the claim may cause them embarrassment, where a proper defence to the claim would require specialised legal advice that they may not be able to afford and where they may not consider it cost-effective for them to defend the claim even if they are innocent
This is the Judge who presided over GEILs NPO application, and this Judge knows innocent people will be targeted.
The Judge goes on to say:
What the Claimants ought to do is to proceed in the conventional manner, that is to say, to require the Intended Defendants who do not dispute liability to disclose such information as they are able to provide as to the extent to which they have engaged in P2P filesharing of the relevant Claimants’ copyright works
So from the words of the Judge, those “who do not dispute liability” are “to disclose such information as they are able to provide”. The Judge does not say that those who do dispute liability should disclose such information.
The man who has perpetrated this phishing campaign is Mr Julian Becker who is a director of GEIL along with Ben Dover (a.k.a. Mr Simon Lindsay James Honey). Mr Becker has been known to make rather odd quotes to the Adult Media Press, such as:
Fundamentally we are pursuing those that are uploading not downloading, they are potentially uploading to millions of others who are also using these networks. How many they upload to is impossible to calculate, but in effect these violations are unauthorized distribution, we are not pursuing those who have simply downloaded one film.
Now the words there are totally misleading and could lead a subscriber who is innocent or guilty in to a false sense of assurance. “pursuing those that are uploading not downloading” is completely irrelevant because the nature of BitTorrent software IS downloading and uploading. And as I have found out, GEILs response to those who admitted one infringement is a demand of £350.00 which contradicts his statement of “we are not pursuing those who have simply downloaded one film”.
For those who have received the warning letter from O2/BE There and may receive an LoC from GEIL, what can you do?
As is always the advice:
BE CALM, DO NOT PANIC and DO NOT IGNORE.
The Citizens Advice Bureau (“CAB”) would be one of the first ports of call, they can be contacted on 08454 04 05 06, their website at adviceguide.org.uk or you can attend your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
The Open Rights Group (“ORG”) are there to give guidance and advice also.
The Speculative Invoicing Handbook Second Edition provides valuable information and a recommended read.
Read here for testimonies of those who received letters similar in the past, and realise YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Without doubt the whole “Speculative Invoicing” operation employed by various participants with various roles has proven to be flawed and has targeted innocent people. That is proof alone that there has been no justification in operating such a scheme, even if infringers are caught.
Sadly, I know of certain people involved in the GEIL operation who have stated that “Collateral Damage” is acceptable if it catches the infringers. I take this to mean that no matter how many innocent people are targeted and pay up through fear, this “Justifies” their actions if they catch infringers.
As regards GEILs Letter Of Claim (“LoC”), the one small problem in what happened to be an excellent outcome of their original LoC being neutered is there is no initial settlement figure, and thus the real threat of the LoC is dumbed down. That could be a problem because an infringer (Or an infringer who seeks legal guidance) may see a figure of compensation far differently than GEIL.
It now transpires that unsuspecting subscribers who admitted the infringement have immediately received another letter from GEIL demanding a settlement figure which is more close to their original LoC and completely ignores everything that was decided by the Judge in GEILs original Norwich Pharmacal Order (“NPO”) back in March 2012. I suppose GEIL are not going to let a decision from an “unimportant” High Court Judge dissuade them from carrying on their absurd claims!
So what can a subscriber who has been led in to admission of guilt take from it? And what can they do when they receive the unjustified claim of compensation from GEIL?
If the alleged infringer admits GEILs claim then I believe clarification must be given to what extent. Admission could be:
1. An actual download took place by accident and cancelled quickly.
2. An actual download took place by accident and cancelled eventually.
3. An actual download took place in completion in anything from X hours to X days and removed by the infringer from the p2p software.
4. An actual download took place in completion in anything from X hours to X days and not removed by the infringer from the p2p software.
What about the infringement? It may be accepted that “Two acts” of infringements occurred:
1. The alleged infringer has admitted to downloading the copyright material.
2. The alleged infringer has made the copyright material available for GEIL to download a small part.
What is in dispute is GEILs value of compensation of a demand for £350.00 per infringement or £700.00 for four infringements.
Let us start by looking at GEILs letter of claim under the section “Our claim for damages”:
The act of file sharing the Work without the consent of GEIL or BDP has caused damage to our business. We contend that every copy of the Work that is downloaded represents a potential lost sale. Whenever the Work is made available for download to other parties there is the opportunity for multiple downloads to take place resulting in lost revenue. In addition to GEIL selling direct, we also enter into licensing agreements for third party organisations to distribute our content. File sharing also results in lost royalty revenue and weakening of the Ben Dover brand. The court has power in such circumstances to award GEIL and BDP damages for our loss and, in appropriate circumstances, additional damages where the unlawful file sharing has been flagrant
The level of damages we claim will depend on the extent to which you have downloaded the Work and/or made it available for the download by others.
Now the decision from the Judge Mr Justice Arnold in the Court case:
134. Secondly, in the case of those Intended Defendants who are infringers, the Claimants have no idea about the scale of the infringements committed by each infringer. Some might have infringed on a very substantial scale indeed, while others might only have infringed to a minor extent.
Now I will look at particular aspects of GEILs evidence, claim, proposed settlement and their claim of legal consequences.
The single most important fact is GEILs evidence has a small part of an upload from an IP address. This is very evident from GEILs claim of “Whenever the Work is made available for download to other parties there is the opportunity for multiple downloads to take place resulting in lost revenue”. This is backed up by the Judge when he states “the Claimants have no idea about the scale of the infringements committed by each infringer”.
So making a claim of “the opportunity for multiple downloads” when the Judge quite rightly says that they have no idea how much, is where GEIL have the major problem of lack of evidence. GEIL have the evidence of one upload.
What about GEILs claim of lost revenue? Surely lost revenue must be taken in to account after all relevant costs are taken out for sending a DVD to a consumer. Compiling a DVD and packaging costs need to be considered, then the sale value to a distributor and finally the postage costs to post it to a distributor.
After all this is taken in to consideration, even a 30% gross profit on the £30.00 sale of a DVD to a distributor is £9.00 profit.
This is also on the basis that you can actually buy the film if it is at all available through Distribution. It cannot be deemed lost revenue if the film is not available to purchase.
Although it is the case the Judge declared GEIL have the right to protect their copyright, it is certainly not right for GEIL to claim disproportionate compensation. If GEILs claim to an alleged infringer is lost revenue through sharing and uploading, making the same claim against other alleged infringers is double-counting.
If 10 alleged infringers were asked to pay compensation, each alleged infringer would be asked to pay for the infringement of the others. This would in the case of the 10 alleged infringers make them pay for a total of 90 infringements.
From the Judgment, Mr Becker makes reference to “the reasonable royalty should be assessed on the basis of a ‘time limited license [sic] to exploit a work by providing copies of it on an unlimited worldwide basis’ “, whilst the LoC claims “In addition to GEIL selling direct, we also enter into licensing agreements for third party organisations to distribute our content. File sharing also results in lost royalty revenue and weakening of the Ben Dover brand”.
It now transpires that GEIL are making the claim that the Court will grant their claim for a “One year” standard licence agreement for one film which they would typically grant for Distributors. This could be as much (If not more) as £1,500.00. Exactly how they can equate sharing one film to a one year licence is baffling! It can only be considered the basis of a licence for as long as the download took place. If it took two days to download the film by the infringer, it can only be a licence for that amount of time, which would be no more than £10.00.
It may be argued by GEIL that they would only ever negotiate the minimum term of a licence to be one year, but negotiation is precisely the point when it comes to an agreement for a licence. It cannot be one way. A Distributor can make the decision if they wish to agree to those terms or not.
It also has to be taken in to consideration that you have the disproportionate situation (Above) of infringers having to pay for all other infringements resulting in double-counting again.
The particular claim of flagrancy in GEILs LoC relates to their claim that an infringement has damaged the Ben Dover Productions (“BDP”) brand. I will set aside the notion that this is a possibility as it could be argued that is what GEIL are doing. This claim fails again through the evidence situation (Above). To what level can GEIL claim an infringer has damaged the BDP brand? Again no evidence to back up such claim.
My summary of GEIL and their latest claim against those who admitted the infringement are:
1. To what level of infringement has GEIL established from the infringer?
2. What evidence does GEIL have to prove an infringers level of infringement?
3. Why do GEIL quite directly ignore the Judges opinion?
4. Do GEIL consider the profit only aspect of lost revenue?
5. How can GEIL consider the idea of multiple uploads, licencing and flagrancy when it results in double-counting?
6. How can GEIL impose the one year licence on an infringer without negotiation when a download may take up to two days?
Special thanks to Hickster
Mr Becker was quoted here:
Disregarding the fact that our films when purchased sell for far in excess of £10, he totally missed the fact that file sharing occurs not in a closed user group of those circa 9,000 Telefonica customers, but in a far larger community of millions of users. Fundamentally we are pursuing those that are uploading not downloading, they are potentially uploading to millions of others who are also using these networks. How many they upload to is impossible to calculate, but in effect these violations are unauthorized distribution, we are not pursuing those who have simply downloaded one film.
“millions of users”………Oh dear God.
“potentially uploading to millions of others”……..Oh dear God, please!!!
“How many they upload to is impossible to calculate”………..No evidence?
“we are not pursuing those who have simply downloaded one film.”………Untrue!!!
Demanding £350.00 for one infringement makes what Mr Julian Fraser Becker says as untrue.
Letters from Copyright Troll collective, Golden Eye International (GEIL) have started to land on the nations doormats, throwing those unaware into a fit of panic. Many bewildered recipients have woken to find a letter stating that they are deemed by GEIL to be responsible for infringing the copyright on some obscure pornography title.
GEIL are operating a Speculative Invoicing/Copyright Troll scheme almost identical to that run by notorious Law Firm ACS:LAW, and recently gained an appeal to add a further twelve, also obscure companies to their “Legal” action.
One of the firms RP Films has already folded, although that didn’t seem to affect their seeming victory in Court.
The man responsible for these letters, Julian Becker, has said a few contrasting things when he has made statements to the press, (Not faceless keyboard warriors, you understand as he has described those who oppose him)
“While personally I dislike this nanny state intervention” a ban wouldn’t have any effect on our revenues as those that pay for our product have already registered their details as well as undertaking an age-verification process. It may even assist combating online piracy, therefore increasing our profits,” – Julian Becker (May 2012)
I have tried to contact him but had nothing in return, (One of his clients informed me he would be prepared to have a face to face on film in front of an audience picked by him and the filming would be produced by one of his fellow pornographers, I of course declined, not least as I have had issues with Golden Eyes previous Lawfirm) I have taken to posting open letters 2 counteracting his “economy with the truth”
I contacted the Adult Industry Trade Association (AITA) who are now headed by one of the Golden Eye clients, Jason Maskell of “Orchid MG”, I sent him an email detailing my concerns with regard to these letters, and he dismissed it out of hand. I have tried to contact a number of the people behind these companies but none seem to care with regard to what I feel are the dangers with pursuing these claims and the sheer lack of evidence that should never be sent to an innocent person.
This Blog has also been the subject of a DMCA Takedown by GEIL “Forensic Expert” Clem Vogler which resulted in WordPress having to remove a photo (but not the content) of Mr Vogler from one of the posts. I did not oppose this takedown as on reflection I believe it improves the appearance of the page immensely.
The letters look the part but they have no substance, they are in effect “phishing” letters. They rely on the recipient to incriminate themselves. They are of course a diluted compromise that was forced on them by the Courts, but the letters still have the potential to scare people into paying up.
So what are those in receipt of one of these letters to do?
Well first thing is
DO NOT PANIC.
DO NOT IGNORE
Consumer Focus have done a great job in educating the Citizens Advice Bureau, and the CAB would be one of the first ports of call, they can be contacted on 08454 04 05 06 or you can attend your local Citizens Advice Bureau
For more on Consumer Focus see here for some invaluable information
Read here, for testimonies of those who received letters similar in the past, realise YOU ARE NOT ALONE
UPDATE 2: A letter received by us seems to show GEIL including the filename of the media they allege has been infringed listed on the ISP Report they have received from O2, this seems a VERY dodgy method of making out that O2 are in agreement with GEIL about the file being copied. This is not true, and unless this is a mistake on GEILs part, seems a very desperate attempt to use O2′s name to lend credibility to what is in essence VERY patchy evidence.
Thanks to Bpaw!
On the 21st of December the Appeals Court found in favour of Golden Eye International (GEIL) and sanctioned what the original Judge had refused saying it “would be tantamount to the court sanctioning the sale of the intended defendants’ privacy and data protection rights to the highest bidder”.
GEIL intend to keep 75% of all monies collected, their Director Julian Becker has now responded to the successful appeal. We think we should respond too!
“I am delighted that the Court of Appeal ruled in favor of Golden Eye, albeit that I am still confused that the initial ruling allowed us to act for Ben Dover but fell short in permitting the right to protect the other producers that I represent”
“The other producers that I represent”? Maybe you should be aware that other Pornography Producers tried this method of “monetizing alternative revenue streams” before, Darker Enterprises, Pure Platinum/Liquid Gold, Mebray, Phoenix, Relish and Load XXX amongst others, and they all fell flat on their faces, when Media C.A.T and ACS:LAW screwed up by taking a case to actual Court where their lack of evidence was exposed , and their methods were derided, and it resulted in their collapse.
“Having now studied the case, I’d like to say that there was more chance of the end of the world occurring on Dec. 21 than Golden Eye losing this appeal.”
So you won an appeal. An appeal that was given by default to other applicants in the past.
Such as the following
01 Feb 2007 – Davenport Lyons – Judge Behrens – Topware Interactive
22 Nov 2007 – Davenport Lyons – Chief Master Winegarten – Reality Pump
30 May 2008 – Davenport Lyons – Chief Master Winegarten – Atari
30 Jun 2008 – Davenport Lyons – Chief Master Winegarten – Digiprotect
12 Nov 2008 – Davenport Lyons – Chief Master Winegarten – Digiprotect?
19 Nov 2009 – ACS:Law – Chief Master Winegarten – MediaCAT
19 Nov 2009 – ACS:Law – Chief Master Winegarten – Digiprotect
27 Jan 2010 – Tilly Bailey Irvine – Justice Warren – Media & More GMBH
17 Feb 2010 – ACS:Law – Chief Master Winegarten – MediaCAT
07 Jul 2010 – ACS:Law – Chief Master Winegarten – MediaCAT
“I believe there is always going to be a bias against this genre of film production”
Well no, that is a “non sequitur”, whatever problems that this “genre of film production” has had in the past, has absolutely nothing to do with the material you produce, but the actions you take. When other industries, (games 2 , music 2 etc) took the same actions, they too were derided in the same manner. They had the sense to bail out. It is actions like what you are doing, resurrecting a hated and hurtful legal action that is known to target to many innocent people in its dragnet is what is likely to drag your industry through the mud again.
“So although in legal terms we are actually no further forward than in 2010”
Erm, NO. You are further back than you were in 2010. You have been neutered in Court.
You called the account owner an infringer, the Court said NO!
You wanted a default £700 per letter, the Court said NO!
You wanted the account owners internet to be slowed down, The Court said NO.
You wanted to confuse with reference to the Code of Practice, The court said NO
You wanted to give the recipient only 14 days, the Court made it 28 days
The previous Law firm that represented you, halted their action in 2010, and you then attempted to pursue alleged infringers through the “Money Claim Online system” , when it seems you come up against Judge Birss, the Judge who presided over the ACS:LAW/Media C.A,T cases. You deemed your actions inappropriate and that is what has led us to this ruling.
“Golden Eye has now been successful after the most severe of legal scrutiny, combined with bias and manipulation from some areas of the press and mistruths and lies from faceless keyboard warriors in several Internet forums.”
I would question in light of the restrictions placed on you by the Court how successful you have been, but yes you have been successful in obtaining an NPO in light of what I believed the agreement the ISPs had after the ACS:LAW debacle, in at least challenging these orders. You were greatly helped by O2 NOT challenging you. If they had I don’t think you would have been granted the order.
Your only defence of criticism is to say your critics, be it the press or “faceless keyboard warriors”, are biased or spread “mistruths and lies”. My comment on this is simple. You would say that, wouldn’t you? Is it a shame you use “sound bites” rather than provide actual evidence. This Blog has detailed the number of contradictions you have spoken to different organisations. What are the “lies and Mistruths” that I have spread?
“In some respects Golden Eye finds itself back where it was two years ago, having correctly followed legal procedure after submitting technical evidence that has been accepted by the courts that there is an arguable case that Ben Dover and other rights holders content that we represent has been infringed by Internet users on file sharing networks and obtaining the names and addresses of these alleged infringers,” said Becker, calling Friday’s ruling a “positive judgment [that] is very much a bitter sweet, moment.”
May I provide a quote from your statement in the original Court case (15):
“Originally, the only evidence filed in support of the claim was Mr Becker’s first witness statement. In paragraphs 1-3, headed “Introduction”, he explained that the Claimants sought disclosure by O2 of the names and addresses of the subscribers associated with the IP addresses shown in the CD-ROM attached as Exhibit 1, that the Claimants believed that those IP addresses had been used by the subscribers to make available copyright material for P2P copying and that O2 did not oppose the making of an order in the terms set out in Exhibit 2.”
Hmmm…..“the Claimants believed that those IP addresses had been used by the subscribers to make available copyright material for P2P copying”. Now you say alleged infringer. This is plainly wrong, the subscriber as the Court has said is not necessarily the Infringer, alleged or not.
”Two years ago these cases were merely procedural and heard on paper without any formal hearings. This judgment has been debated by leading barristers, funded by government organizations and presided over by some of the most eminent judges in the U.K.”
Two years ago, we didn’t have a case that actually went to Court. ACS LAW tried to take people to Court for a default, but screwed up when those people said they would contest. This had a clued up Judge who completely tore apart the “evidence”. Your latest attempt at obtaining an NPO has been scrutinised because of this. This statement from you is showing that what you took for granted two years ago is now not so straight forward. And remember , the only reason this was debated at all was that O2 acquiesced rather than saying “No”.
This was an NPO hearing, that is all, yes you have gained the rights to exploit other Producers work, however as Rt Hon Judge Birss stated in his Court case with ACS:LAW/Media C.A.T who represented many Porn Producers)
“Media CAT don’t know who did it and know that they don’t know who did it,” said Birss.
Birss said Winegarten granted the (NPO) order based on the facts put before him, adding that the chief master did not have to decide whether Media CAT would succeed in its claims.
“I can’t imagine that the court making the Norwich Pharmacal orders in this case did so with a view to setting in train an exercise that was to be conducted in the manner that has subsequently emerged,” Birss said at the time.
Nothing has changed, it is the same. I will believe you are different when you actively take a contested claim to Court, I for one do not believe you ever will.
On Friday a Judgement was made by the Appeals Court with regard to Golden Eye International(GEIL)
GEIL the Copyright Trolls, who are resurrecting the ACS:LAW “Speculative Invoicing” had originally been denied their chance of using 12 other Porn Companies in their Legal Action. They appealed and now the Court has awarded them what they had wanted.
This was not unexpected however it is VERY disappointing, O2 Subscribers were represented by Open Rights Group (ORG), and they put up a good show according to the Court record.
Although ORG could not stop the appeal, there are some positive points to be had however, GEIL had depended on a high volume of letters being sent out, that is after all the only way this “Alternative revenue scheme” can work.
After being rejected by the initial Court hearing and only having just under 3000 Ip addresses captured by their Software Monitor, they duly sent them off to O2 to have them matched to actual subscribers who would then receive a letter from them asking them to explain why they had infringed their Copyright. GEIL must have been disturbed to see just under a 1000 actual matches. This is a woeful amount, considering the “Software Monitor” is a “Forensic Expert”.
With the disparity in captured IP addresses and the actual matching of them to subscribers one can apply some logic to see that now GEIL have won their appeal, and have the other Producers on board, they can now send the remaining 6000 IP addresses to O2, but based on the low quality of the Monitoring, one can see that it could lead to less than 2000 retuning as being matched. This of course will leave GEIL with around 3000 actual details they can send their letters to.
GEIL had originally planned to charge £700 per letter, that will not happen as the original Court hearing said no, GEIL also wanted to state that the Subscriber was responsible for the Infringement, regardless of whether they knew or not. The Court has also said no to that reasoning.
Also unlike when ACS:LAW were practising a similar Legal action, no one really knew much about it, now they do, and this will be the greatest threat to GEILs plan.
For further reading
With news reaching us that the “Golden Eye International” launch of their Speculative Invoicing(Copyright Trolling) action is due to start in the New Year, we wanted to bring this latest tome to your attention. This quality guide was written by those fine folks at Being Threatened, in response to the number of innocent people targeted by previous companies, involved with these actions.
Download the PDF file here
Comments are always welcome.
We at ACS:BORE are not affiliated with the production of this book, although we endorse it as the best information to read with regard to receiving a letter from one of these companies. For further reading on this please see the excellent Torrent Freak post
My apologies, as pointed out I wrongfully referred to “Golden Eye International” as “Golden Eye Interactive”, my apologies, it was an inadvertent mistake made in a moment of acute clarity of mind that a shell company based on an industrial estate in the UK with only two employees, and who operate only within the UK is NOT really an international company, my apologies again:-)
Lindsay Honey – Ben Dover Productions
Lindsay Honey is the self serving, self styled, “Biggest Porn star in the UK”, served jail time for “publishing obscene material for gain” and “being in possession of obscene material”. Wants to be considered a “Serious actor”, but comes across as a desperate almost “Big Brother” style attention seeking Z-Lister. Released a Football song for the 2010 World Cup Finals, (yes really), tried his hand at Stand up as well!! and has stated in interviews that he needs to get money from people who will not buy his Pornography.
Of course most people who have grown too old for their profession would gain employment in another field, or retire. Honey has obviously tried and failed as an actor, and a singer, oh and a Stand-up Comic, so must rely on a “Speculative Invoicing” scheme to gain extra money.
Maybe we can use Honeys own words in this April 2011 interview
where he actually tells the real story why there is no money in his profession.
“The internet is the main poison that’s now rapidly killing off the industry. Back in 1986 you could sell a 3-hour VHS porn tape for about £65.00, which would be about £150.00 in today’s money. Now you can get anything you want at the click of a mouse. For free.”
This interview was after Golden Eye Internationals first round of “Speculative Invoicing” letters, and there is no mention of his new career of being a “Copyright Troll”. In fact, another statement he makes in the interview is more close to the truth.
“It’s strange but you could make a great movie with the best looking porn stars in the world, and you’ll probably make a very small profit over several years.”
And yet he goes on to say,
“‘My critics do affect me badly. Sometimes so badly that I have to leave my 6 bedroom mansion in a gated executive park in Surrey, get in my Ferrari and drive to the airport to fly out to my luxury villa in Spain and take a long leisurely swim in my beautiful blue sparkling pool overlooking the Jalon valley!’”
One wonders why, given that he is always bragging about how wealthy he is in interviews,
maybe his recent split from his Wife has something to do with it.
In the interview, it can be seen his sheer opportunism in relation to using other peoples success, “But because of his(teenage Sons acting) career, I’m now in touch with people like Ricky Gervais, Andy Hamilton, people like that….You know, Armstrong & Miller, Rob Brydon, people like that. I’m trying to think of anything that I can do…I’m trying to build up an audience on YouTube then sell it to Channel 5 or let Ricky Gervais..”Hmm good luck with that!
For a view of what other people think of Mr Dover see below
Julian Becker Optime Strategies/Golden eye International
Address of Optime Strategies – Suite 10 Halton Close, Barnet, N11 3HQ
Becker is Director of both Optime Strategies AND Golden Eye International.
Head of Sales at Andromeda Telecoms Ltd
Becker has been Director of THREE other companies all of which are now dissolved
Julian seems to be the perfect statesman. The media savvy guy who is always able to provide the right quote.
One such quote from him in this link from computer active dated May 2012 regarding the Governments proposal for automatic porn filters, he states.
“While personally I dislike this nanny state intervention, a ban wouldn’t have any effect on our revenues as those that pay for our product have already registered their details as well as undertaking an age-verification process. It may even assist combating online piracy, therefore increasing our profits,”
Whilst in September 2012 in this link he says.
More from Becker can be seen here….
Alireza Torabi – NG3 Systems
Torabi is the person behind the controversial tracking software used by ACS:LAW, it is now being used by Golden Eye International, despite it never being scrutinised in a court of law. According to ACS:LAW email leaks there were about 30% of the so called “Alleged infringers” IP addresses that simply did not exist according to the ISPs
In the ACS:Law leaked emails, Torabi was going to be replaced by Guardaley GmbH. You can understand why with just one example of a comment from Adam Glen to Andrew Crossley dated August 2010.
“The recent indication by Ali that he is willing to change his position regarding what protocol/client was used by an infringer causes me alarm.”
Bear in mind that Torabi was described by both ACS:LAW and now Golden Eye Inernational as their “Forensic Expert” How forensic can you be if you are willing to change the very evidence required to fit the accusation?
Torabi runs a number of different “Businesses” online, one of which is XYPY, and rather strangely for someone who seems to make money by selling IP addresses to Copyright Trolls, it is a VPN service, even stranger than that, after a few enquiries from some intrepid Slyckers, the English page was removed and replaced with a Persian language one… Hmmm
VPNs are commonly used to hide the true identity of an internet user, there does seem to be somewhat of a conflict, between a person who on one hand sells Peoples IPs and on the other hand seemingly helps hide them.
The IP addresses of his businesses are all the same
http://www.xypy.net – 126.96.36.199
http://www.aleriza.me – 188.8.131.52
http://www.cyberdealer.co.uk – 184.108.40.206
http://www.ng3systems.com – 220.127.116.11
For how the old XYPY looked see here.
Torabi was Director of one other company that has been dissolved.
Big thanks to Bpaw
This page will be update, as and when! Please comment
O2 send Pre Warning letters to customers (whose data they have “sold” to Golden Eye International) UPDATE 3
It has emerged today that O2 and BeThere, have sent out letters of warning to their Customers in light of the Norwich Pharmacal (NPO) they failed to defend against Pornographers Golden Eye International/Ben Dover Productions (GEIL/BDP).
The letter is quite generic, but interestingly does point the recipient to the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB). This is actually significant, as Consumer Focus (who intervened on behalf of O2 customers at the Court Case when O2 acquiesced to GEIL/BDP) won a good victory in ensuring that the CAB would be informed and would have all the relevant information ready for anyone who contacted them when they received a letter.
The fact that O2 and BeThere have included this in their warning letters, must come as a blow to GEIL/BDP as this will give an effective “heads up” for those receiving the letters that they will send. In the past campaigns of Davenport Lyons and ACS:LAW and also Tilly Baily Irvine and Gallant Macmillan, the ISP was forbidden to contact their customers in advance, this seems like a real oversight by GEIL/BDP and could cost them dear.
The Speculative Invoicing model that GEIL/BDP are pursuing relies on people being uninformed and paying up out of fear of Court action, that fear in the past has been fuelled by the previous law firms involved insinuating that an alleged infringer had a choice of paying between £500 and £700, OR face Court action that they could not possibly win, with the threat of thousands of pounds in court costs being awarded against them. One can easily see the stark choice and why so many even innocent people paid up. The evidence against them however was nothing like what they had been told.
Davenport Lyons, ACS:LAW, Tilly Baily Irvine and Gallant Macmillan, were all punished to a lesser or greater extent by their regulatory body the Solicitors Regulation Authority. GEIL/BDP are not bound by this although their solicitor Mark Wagner of Wagner and Co is.
Around December the 10th GEIL/BDP will be back in court to try to appeal against the ruling that they can only claim copyright for their own films, another ten producers are waiting to join the action. As things stand around just under 3000 letters will be sent out soon by GEIL/BDP, however if they win their appeal a further 6000 could be sent. As can be seen in the NPO O2 are charging £2.20 per ip address.
Open Rights Group (ORG) is taking over the appeal role from Consumer Focus, they are seeking support from those outraged by this continuing practice. Contact them here. (I am NOT affiliated with the Open Rights Group in any way, but do agree with the support they give and the reasons they are doing it)
The NPO is here.
UPDATE 2: It is being reported that out of the 2800 IPs that Golden Eye applied for from O2, O2 are saying they have been able to match less than 1000, this is a VERY POOR return by any measure and really undermines the confidence in their Monitoring System.