This is a response to an interview given by Ben Dover Commercial Director Julian Becker in regard to the O2 sellout of it’s customers. We felt it warranted a response, to correct some of the “mistruths” that occurred in the interview.. (See Bottom of post for original source)
The author, Julian Becker, is Ben Dover Productions’ commercial director. A London jurist decided this week on a key porn BitTorrent ruling in favour of the studio and affiliated company Golden Eye International. The companies can proceed in obtaining IP addresses involving more than 9,000 O2 customers who are alleged to have downloaded Ben Dover movies.
Well actually the Judge ruled that only Ben Dover Productions can pursue this action the other claimants were struck out and told they had to apply themselves. Indeed although you say this is NOT about the money, you were quite willing to take up to 75% of the revenues raised from the other claimants, (The Judges Words not mine) But hey lets not let the truth get in the way.. (2)
My parents, always encouraged me to become a solicitor or an accountant, so I found it most bizarre and ironic that one of the many false accusations that has been directed towards us is that we are a reinvention of ACS Law. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to raise a smile in court when our barrister produced a pair of Ben Dover boxer shorts as evidence.
It is neither bizarre or ironic for those of us who realize you ARE a reinvention of the “Speculative Invoicing” scheme that was licensed from Davenport Lyons by ACS:LAW, and who collaborated with Tilly Bailey & Irvine, who represented, now who was it? Ahh yes your Company Mr Becker, Golden Eye International. (2) And no, when your barrister produced the underwear most of us saw through this cheap pathetic stunt.
The Hon. Justice Arnold accepted that “there is nothing particularly unusual, let alone objectionable, about the Ben Dover agreement. 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 or otherwise unlawful. Golden Eye and Ben Dover Productions have a good arguable case that many of the relevant intended defendants have infringed their copyrights. I am satisfied that they do intend to seek redress for those wrongs and that disclosure is necessary to enable them to do so. In these circumstances, I conclude that the claimants’ interests in enforcing their copyrights outweigh the Intended defendants’ interest in protecting their privacy and data protection rights, and thus it is proportionate to order disclosure.”
Well there isn’t anything wrong with it, not all, unless you don’t realize the history of “Speculative Invoicing”, then there is everything wrong with it, but nothing a Judge can do with an organization who presents one argument with the idea of using the information for something else. If you are persuing people who have infringed your copyright, no one would argue, however you are using a flawed system, a system that has already been shown in court as flawed.
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.
LMAO, well not really, we KNOW you and Andrew Crossley were friends, and I am sure that your Mother is very proud of you, as I am sure the Rabbi of the Synagogue that you provided security to, will be as well.
Its positive that the court acknowledges that we have the right to take this action and protect our content. This action has been inspired by our core business being decimated by piracy and we are pursuing several projects in combating both the Internet sites that facilitate online piracy as well as the end violators and the physical DVD pirates. Our clothing, merchandise and events business was initiated very much in response to our core film business being so negatively impacted by different forms of piracy. Due to the nature of the way most consumers view adult content, the adult business has been affected far worse than mainstream film due to the fact that the pirates cannot replicate the cinematic experience of mainstream movies.
It may be the fact that your films are not watched as from what I understand they feature a disturbing and ageing man, who seduces younger woman in some bizarre amateurish nonsense. Who the hell wants to see a poor Keith Harris lookalike doing porn films… I mean seriously.
The court also accepts that this form of piracy does result in a commercial loss for our business and that we have the right to pursue compensation, I understand it is difficult to quantify how much this loss is due to the nature of how file sharing networks operate. I may not have in depth technical knowledge of the workings of these websites, however my limited knowledge appears somewhat more in depth than Guy Tritton, the Consumer Focus barrister, who calculated that if every violator shared content with every other violator then Golden Eye’s loss would be 9,000 x £10, totaling £90,000.
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.
I am amazed your films sell for more than £10, maybe that is down to you and your poor business model. ACS:LAW who of course you know showed in their leaked emails that it might be hard to prove damages beyond a SINGLE copy. The uploading argument is a misnomer, as you know torrent clients HAVE to upload as well as download, that is straight from Crossleys business model.
I’m still at a loss to understand why consumer groups are so opposed to a company that is merely seeking to protect its core business from individuals who are stealing and distributing its products. The definition of consumers are those that purchase goods or services, the individuals who are infringing our copyright are not paying for our product but are stealing it, I do not understand how they can be described as consumers. My belief is that our actions are actually in the interests of the true consumers as if piracy carries on at the level we are witnessing today, many creative organizations will cease to be commercially able to fund new content, limiting future consumer choice.
Once again straight from Crossleys mantra. Blah blah blah. Crossley had issues with Which? And other less well know consumer groups, who realized he was targeting innocent people. When Davenport Lyons and ACS:LAW were investigated by the SDT they were shown to be knowingly targeting innocent people. You are using the same system, why do you think we will trust you to get different results? The definition of insanity in fact!
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.
It does not imply anything, Alireza Torabis system was not tested and Mr Vogler merely supplied a report that it could work. Hardly scientific, and this is what will be your undoing as it was for the previous exploiters of the scheme. It was certainly one of the undermining factors in the ACS:LAW case.
It is true that we license the same software that ACS used. I was one of the biggest critics of their operation and spoke several times at adult forums and privately to several other companies in our industry of my concerns. The reservations I had were nothing to do with the software that they licensed but everything to do with the references and information I obtained from those that had previously conducted business with both ACS and MediaCat. As well as operating in the adult industry I also work in telecommunications so was able to speak directly to several people who were able to divulge information regarding Lee Bowden and Andrew Crossley.
There is NO EVIDENCE that you criticized ACS:LAW at all, although there is evidence you had a friendly working relationship with him AND encouraged him, (as shown above, even warning him of a letter leaked online, this showed you had support for him), If you had information regarding Andrew Crossley and Lee Bowden, why did you not put it into words and contact the SRA/SDT? No this is a lie until proven otherwise.
The fact you have NO reservations regarding a piece of software which is quite obviously flawed as shown in the leaked ACS:LAW emails, shows again a breathtaking level of either ignorance or arrogance.
I’ve lived in Holland and travelled extensively and I’ve found that attitudes towards pornography in the U.K. can best be summarized by calling them hypocritical. I was told a stat recently that 80 percent of U.K. computers contained porn history, my biggest surprise was that 20 percent didn’t. So often I speak to people about Ben Dover who appear vague as if they have never heard of the company and minutes later are divulging their in depth knowledge of our brand. This very English attitude towards pornography could potentially be used to shame people into paying compensation; however I believe people should be far more embarrassed by the fact they have committed a theft rather than what has been stolen.
I for one had NEVER heard of “Ben Dover” until you started trawling for copyright Infringement through “Tilly Bailey & Irvine”, you might THINK you are big and well known, but deep down you know that is simply not true. You repeat the often repeated lie as well that “Copyright Infringement is theft” this is NOT true, it is just “Copyright Infringment”, to say it is theft is like saying a “Taking a photo of someone is the same as kidnapping them”.
Oh and one more thing, you lived in Holland AND worked in the telecommunications industry… Hmmm would that be http://www.hilftelecom.nl/ (Donation by Ofer Hilf and team at Hilf Telecom on 27/04/11)) who donated money to you on your http://www.justgiving.com/Julian-Becker page?
Our initial letters in summary gave details of the infringements the software had detected, giving specific dates and times in addition to film titles. The letters then gave the recipient our legal position and encouraged them to contact us so that we could make an informed judgement on whether we would be pursuing the case through the courts or ceasing action. It also gave the recipient the option to admit the offence, financially settle the matter as well as committing to not re commit the offence.
The letters were designed to encourage communication with the recipient and then we could take an informed decision on next action if any. There were several cases after speaking or email correspondence where it was decided that no further action would be taken. In fact we had several instances where the recipient of the letters was grateful for the information we provided them with.
Yes mmmm uh huh, sure you did, and you have evidence of this? Or do we just rely on the word of someone who at best is rather “Charitable with the truth”
I don’t understand how our letter could be described as “objectionable” as it merely highlighted and asked for more information regarding evidence of an infringement of our copyright that there is no dispute that our company owns. You can argue that our content is objectionable however there is no dispute that it is legal, it belongs to us, our revenues have been decimated because of its theft and that it has been accepted by one of the most senior Judges in the country that we have every right to protect our product.
Not theft, “Copyright Infringement”, again big difference, however I think it more likely your sales have been affected as like Lee Bowden realized, OLD PEOPLE DOING SEX DOES NOT SALE, especially when they look like poor Keith Harris.
The comments attributed that included the term “objectionable” were referring to HHJ Birss QC and his description of the ACS letters. It did state however that our letters “included some (though not all)” of these features. As we stated to the court we are prepared to listen to instruction on amendments to these letters.
Yes well you have to don’t you. Your letters will be toned down, scare some people into paying you, but it will all ultimately fail and you will have destroyed what little reputation you had to begin with.
On the subject that our content is objectionable I would argue that far more people in this country would recognise my partner Lindsay Honey (aka Ben Dover) than Calvin Klein, it’s always surprised me Mr Klein sells more boxer shorts than us. The point I’m making is that regardless of peoples perceived outrage of our content, a large percentage of the population are aware and view pornography on a regular basis, giving the outward appearance of shock and revoltion. Golden Eye is not a company in pornography that has targeted consumers in order to shame them into paying silence money, it operates and always has done in an industry that is hugely popular and is targeted by violators of copyright, in effect thieves, who believe that paying for our product is somehow morally wrong and/or do not perceive stealing it is a crime.
Once again, (you are rather good at perpetuating the idea of telling a lie long enough people will believe you), you state that this is about people stealing, it is COPYRIGHT INFINGEMENT, did Tilly Bailey & Irvine teach you NOTHING?
It is simple to realize why your Boss is not so well know as you think, the ONLY people who would recognise Ben Dover (Lindsay Honey aka Steve Perry) is those who mistook him for someone else and wondered where Orville was. Of course I suppose they do both make money putting their hands up a birds bottom (oh ok sorry, that was poor)
One gentlemen I spoke to apologized for stealing our films and explained to me that he had no issues in paying for our films on the Internet, but had used a file sharing site in order to avoid his wife catching him buying porn with his credit card. This attitude of better to steal porn than get caught buying it is depressingly common in the U.K.
*Sigh* really, steal? Again, come on this is getting silly now, who was this person? Where is the evidence? Of course it DOES expose your business plan for what it is, if as you say, and lets go with that for a moment, is so embarrassed he has to COPY your film, rather than pay for it, then sending letters out to people demanding hundreds of pounds or the chance of going to court to defend themselves, ahh I see how embarrassed would they be then? Why they would far more likely pay up wouldn’t they? I mean even an innocent person would pay up for fear of being accused of watching some of the porn you produce.
As explained previously we are only pursuing those that upload, not just download, so we would never be interested in an individual that was merely just downloading. The letter asks for more information, including whether anyone other than the account holder has been given access to password protected routers. In several cases after liaising with the account holder we were able to identify the violator and cease any action against the original recipient.
Another Andrew Crossley gem, only the uploaders, not the ones who download… Well as you are well aware, you accuse people using Ali Torabis, software of using ONLY clients that can download while uploading. If I am right in thinking Torabi actually accused some people of using a Torrent client that hadn’t even been released at that time, see that is when we realized it was all a scam.
The question of if the violator was a minor would we pursue is an interesting one, not being a solicitor I am unsure of the legal position, however from a moral perspective I believe that the responsible adult has a duty of care to control the usage of a minor when using the Internet. We had more than one case where parents discovered that their children had been infringing our copyright on file sharing networks and were grateful that we had brought this to their attention.
Another Andrew Crossley gem, wow you are really racking these up, and you say you wanted to distance yourself from your friend? There may well be an argument for parents watching their kids online, however that shouldn’t come as a false accusation which is far more likely considering the software monitor you are using. And I am sure the parents were really grateful you had bought it to their attention. Hmmm
Our letters had stated a settlement fee of £700, that for reasons I explained previously I strongly believe can be justified and were decided upon by legal counsel to our previous solicitors Tilley Bailey & Irvine. I need to have the ruling explained to me by a solicitor in the first instance before deciding on what figure we will now be seeking from those who do not wish for the matter to be pursued and are willing to commit to not re offend.
In summary I am very happy with The Hon. Justice Arnold findings and look forward to the day when we once again sell more copies of “Strictly Cum Drinking than Boxer Shorts.”
Ahh now that is not theft of part of a name of a popular BBC programme is it? How non hypocritical of you.
The interview was taken from the http://newswire.xbiz.com/view.php?id=146471 website, it is replicated here with a response from us.
Telefonica Spanish owner of O2, were approached by Golden Eye International with a request to disclose 9124 (NINE THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY FOUR) of its customers details. “Golden Eye International” (GEIL) is a trading name for “Ben Dover”, the Pornographers.
It is astonishing to think that this request came on the 20th September 2011, a FULL year after the ACS:LAW debacle unravelled. At a time when all other ISPs have stated they would not work with the “Speculative Invoicing” scheme, O2 alone has bucked the trend.
They did NOT fight for their customers, rather they SOLD them out
5: On 7 October 2011 Baker & McKenzie filed an acknowledgement of service on behalf of O2 stating that O2 did not intend to contest the claim.
6: On 18 November 2011 the parties were given notice of a disposal hearing before Chief Master Winegarten on 6 December 2011. On 28 November 2011 Baker & McKenzie wrote to the Chief Master to confirm that O2 did not oppose the making of an order in the terms submitted by Golden Eye, and therefore did not intend to attend the hearing. At the hearing on 6 December 2011 Mr Becker attended on behalf of the Claimants. The Chief Master raised a number of questions about the proposed order, which he asked Mr Becker to relay to Baker & McKenzie. Mr Becker duly did so, and on 14 December 2011 Baker & McKenzie wrote to the Chief Master answering his questions. In the letter Baker & McKenzie stated that, prior to issuing the Claim Form, Golden Eye had provided O2 with a draft of the proposed order and that Baker & McKenzie had made amendments to the draft. A number of amendments were identified and explained. The letter reiterated that O2 did not oppose the making of an order in that form. Having considered the letter, the Chief Master decided to refer the claim to a judge.
120: In consider the proportionality of the order sought, it seems to me that it is important to have regard to the precise terms of that order. The terms of the draft order having been negotiated between Golden Eye and Baker & McKenzie, it is in a form that O2 is content with. Thus it may be regarded as proportionate as between the Claimants and O2
32:1: 4(b) Within 7 days of the date of this Order, the First Applicant, on behalf of all the Applicants, shall pay into an escrow account to be held by the Respondent’s solicitors, Baker & McKenzie LLP, (the ‘Escrow Account’) a sum equal to £2.20 per IP address requested within the initial Batch together with £2500 costs to be held as security for the costs specified in paragraph 5 below.
They COULD have contested it, but CHOSE not to.
If YOU are a subscriber of O2, I think maybe you should consider moving to an ISP who values you as a customer more than the needs of a Pornographer who after all is merely following the example of ACS:LAW. Golden Eye International after all were first represented by Tilly Baily Irvine. It was only when TBI reacted to the negative publicity including being named in the House of Lords that they withdrew and GEIL continued.
Their will be another hearing after Easter regarding the GEIL hearing and how the letters will be composed, one thing is for sure GEIL did NOT get what they wanted.
This is not a new direction more an attempted refinement of the scheme that Davenport Lyons, ACS:LAW, Tilly Baily Irvine and Gallant Macmillan/Ministry of Sound have attempted and failed. It should be treated with the same contempt.
The contempt indeed that O2 have shown it’s customers.
Previous Posts RE Golden Eye International
Tilly Bailey Irvine (TBI) the Law Firm that jumped on the “Speculative Invoicing” bandwagon driven by ACS:LAW has “Agreed” to accept a monetary punishment of £2800. This is a sad sad day for those who followed this case and were expecting more from the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
TBI launched their letter campaign in January 2010 and by April had had enough. They represented “Media & More GMBH” and also “Golden Eye International” sending out letters of claim to members of the general public that they claim were infringing the copyright of their clients.
Problem for TBI was that it was a deeply flawed system that rounded up far to many innocent people.
TBI like ACS:LAW and the law firm that followed Gallant Macmillan, never sought to go to court but relied heavily on the embarrassment of receiving one of these letters, and the assumption that no one would challenge them because of the damage to their reputation in doing so.
One of the more infamous titles represented by TBI was “Army Fu**ers”, I cant publish the titles of the others as they are that bad (You can type in Media & More into a search engine to see what I mean)
Ironically TBI withdrew from the “Speculative Invoicing” plan, in a letter to the SRA TBI stated:
“We have been surprised and disappointed at the amount of adverse publicity that our firm has attracted in relation to this work and the extra time and resources that have been required to deal solely with this issue.
We are concerned that the adverse publicity could affect other areas of our practice and therefore following discussions with our clients, we have reluctantly agreed that we will cease sending out further letters of claim.”
Hmmm well not as surprised and disappointed as a military man returning from service to one of their letters accusing him of downloading a porn film called “Army Fu*kers” but still.
TBI went on to try to eradicate all trace of their “Speculative Invoicing” actions by Vandalising” an entry on Wikipedia. This led to a rather amusing clash with one of the editors:
“Please do not remove sourced content from Wikipedia, as you did with TBI Solicitors — this is vandalism,” wrote a Wikipedia admin to Tilly Bailey & Irvine.
“Furthermore, your IP address geolocates to ‘TILLY BAILEY & IRVINE’ which suggests that you have a conflict of interest in removing criticism of the firm from Wikipedia. I suggest that you familiarise yourself with that policy before editing this particular article any further,”
The Speculative Invoicing plan that TBI took wholesale from ACS:LAW as shown in the ACS leaked emails (And for which ACS:LAWs Andrew Crossley originally threatened to report them to the SRA, but later relaxed and attempted to “Work together” when the SRA came down on them both), was also described in the House Of Lords as “no better than Legal blackmail”
In the end most people who read my Blog know that I seek only one thing from these Lawyers, and that is an apology, an apology for the pain they have caused in falsely accusing people who were left with a feeling of helplessness, and having no option but to pay up to avoid losing their homes or their jobs.
Did Tilly Bailey Irvine feel they could apologise? Well here is what one of their Bosses said,
TBI managing partner John Hall said the firm was “delighted to be able to dispose of this matter in a way that makes it clear that the firm has never acted with any conscious or deliberate impropriety”.
He added: “We take pride in our reputation for fighting our clients’ corner to the best of our ability. Although on this occasion the SRA has ruled that we went too far – on their interpretation of the rules – we shall continue always to put the interests of clients first, as our clients and the public generally would expect.
“Copyright breaches cost business £200m per year. We hope that these cases will highlight the lack of clarity in the rules and ensure that, in future, criminal activities such as these can be dealt with by the legal process so that copyright is safeguarded and clients’ legitimate interests are protected.”
noting that the SRA ruled that the company went “too far”, that decision was based on “their (SRAs) interpretation of the rules”.
One wonders what on earth John Hall means by this, the SRA after all are the ones who MAKE THE RULES and regulate Solicitors, this is no apology, and I hope the SRA will reconsider referring Tilly Bailey Irvine to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal which is independent, and where the likes of John Hall can argue the rules all he wants.
Terence Tsang is working for PSB LAW. The former Davenport Lyons and ACS:LAW Paralegal, had gone off the radar as far as those interested and greatly affected by the dealings of Davenport Lyons and ACS:LAW were concerned.
After a brief stint at Cramer Pelmont that ended at the same time as leaked emails from ACS:LAW showed that he had continued working for them whilst at Cramer Pelmont, he seemed to have dissapeared.
The fact he has been so hard to find is that Terence Tsang has stopped using his real name and has adopted the new name of Terence Jintin (This may actually be his middle name) What is of interest is that PBS LAW it would seem have gone to great pains to conceal his identity.
On their website the actual text describing their team members is HTML text, however on Tsangs it is an actual image. This has the effect of being invisible to both Googles and other search engines “Search Robots”. In addition to this, in the HTML of the page “About us” there is in the header a HTML intruction <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,nofollow” /> this instruction will stop a search engine actually indexing that page and any links from it. In effect this makes the page invisible to normal searches and would only be seen by someone who was on the actual PSB LAW website. there is NO link to Tsang/Jintins presence on this page. All rather strange.
To be clear Google and other search engines will search and index the total PSB LAW website EXCEPT Tsangs own page.
One has to wonder WHY Tsang has changed his name. If what he had done at Davenport Lyons and ACS:LAW was so right and above board, then why try to hide? Of course the Courts have not found what Davenport Lyons and ACS:LAW did was right, and neither has the Solicitors Regulation Authority that has sent both Davenports Brian Miller and Dave Gore and ACS:LAWs Andrew Crossley to their Disciplinary Tribunal.
There are many ways to hide online, doing what PSB LAW has attempted to do, may have worked, however the best way to remain anonymous online and protect your name and reputation seems to me to not upset people in the first place by exercising dubious legal methods.
The FULL hearing into Davenport Lyons Lawyers Dave Gore and Brian Miller.
(On Page 7 at 18 the cryptic letters are as follows …
Tw = Topware Interactive
Cm = Codemaasters
RP = Reality Pump
T = Techland
A = Atari
Dp = Digiprotect
Ls = Logistep)
I realise they may be seeking anonymity, but NONE of them have apologised for the pain they caused, so I think they are fair game.
It has come to my attention that this PDF is NOT searchable, so here is one that is. I must caution you however that this is an OCR Conversion and may contain grammatical innacuracies.
I would urge you to use this one for it’s search capability and then compare the results with the original. Unlike those engaged in Speculative Invoicing, I like to be accurate… I hope you understand.
Here is the SEARCHABLE version
Please post any observations or comments below.
To Download each version. Please click HERE for the original….
As has been already reported this week, Davenport Lyons duo, Dave Gore and Brian Miller have been punished by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. One would have thought that this would be an end to the saga, many thinking that they got off quite lightly with just a £20,000 fine and a suspension of a mere three Months.
Not good enough for Davenport Lyons though, they plan to appeal…. After wreaking havoc for two years on the General public before introducing us to ACS:LAW and Andrew Crossley. During their two year regime of Speculative Invoicing, they were featured on the BBC Watchdog Program incurred the wrath of Which Consumer Group and also Internet Forum Slyck and influential Blog TorrentFreak.
Why did they garner such attention? Well apart from the accusations of Old Age Pensioners sharing games and others some quite vile Pornography films :2:, the people of Britain realised that this was NOT the “Piracy Crusade”, it was made out to be.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority investigated, (some say to slowly), and they found there was a case to answer, the Davenport Duo were hauled before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in a hearing that lasted a whole week and were found guilty on SIX counts of violating the Solicitors Code of Conduct.
They have issued a response to the sanctions levelled at the two Solicitors involved:
‘We consider the decision of the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal and sanctions imposed against David Gore and former partner, Brian Miller, are totally unjustified.
Well see how foolish the opening line is? Unjustified? Davenport Lyons are a Firm of Solicitors regulated by the Soliciors Regulation Authority(SRA), they were investigated by the SRA and found wanting, FULLY JUSTIFIED.
‘Davenport Lyons is a leading law firm with highly specialist intellectual property lawyers. We were instructed by the owners of intellectual property rights in music, film and games to help them curtail the significant losses they were suffering as a result of the unlawful file-sharing of their products.
As a “Leading law firm”, they should have known better. Instructed by Owners of Intellectual property? Hmmm like maybe John Stagliano or maybe Digiprotect? . Hmmm Confusing I think as the SRA has stated, ‘used their position as solicitors to take or attempt to take unfair advantage of other persons, being recipients of letters of claim, either for their own or for the benefit of their clients’ speaks for itself.
The steps we took on behalf of our clients were for the protection of their legitimate legal rights. We consider that we acted in our clients’ best interests at all times.
Well Digiprotect was one of your clients, and here goes: DigiProtect is acting on behalf of one of the biggest adult studios in the United States, Evil Angel, run by American porn mogul John Stagliano. When contacted, Mister Stagliano appeared to be unaware of the £500 DigiProtect is demanding from alleged file-sharers to settle out of court.
”It’s not my understanding that they ask for anything near that. I think the amount was $50 (£34) or €50 (£43),” he said. “I would be very surprised and I wouldn’t be happy because it would mean it was completely misrepresented to me.”
Now what is Digiprotects Corporate Motto again…? Ahh yes “turn piracy into profit”
‘We wholeheartedly support David and Brian’s intention to appeal both the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal’s original decision and the resulting suspension and fine.’
I am sure you do, but as Michael Coyle of Lawdit said of you in the beginning…
”The cynical lawyer in me would say this is a money-making exercise. ”If you send out 10,000 letters and ask for £500 each time, you only have to get half to pay up and you’ve made a significant amount of money. “Because it is porn, the person who’s being accused won’t want to go to court and is more likely to pay up to make the matter go away even if they are completely innocent.”
And more interestingly this is what Judge Birss said of those who followed you in this “Speculative Invoicing” ACS:LAW
“Whether it was intended to or not, I cannot imagine a system better designed to create disincentives to test the issues in court,” said the Judge. “Why take cases to court and test the assertions when one can just write more letters and collect payments from a proportion of the recipients?”
Why don’t you just hold your hands up and say “We are sorry, we are sorry for the pain we have caused by our false accusations and the linking of innocent peoples name to such horrid vile pornography.”
I will leave the last word to Andrew Crossley the Solicitor who you (According to the SRA) helped to set up and carry on the “work” you started.
Dave Gore and Brian Miller have been suspended by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal for sending intimidating letters of claim to members of the general public that they accused of filesharing. *
Although Gore and Miller accused the people they sent letters to , they never gave them a chance to prove their innocence in Court, they relied on people not responding to their letters to get dubious “Default payments”
The Suspension willl be for three months and they will be fined £20,000.
The SDT said:
Their judgment became distorted and they pursued the scheme regardless of the impact on the people receiving the letters and even of their own clients.
In addition to the £20,000 fine, Miller and Gore were ordered to pay interim costs to the SRA of £150,000.
The SDT went on to say:
“Some of those affected were vulnerable members of the public. There was significant distress. We are pleased that this matter has been brought to a conclusion and hope that it serves as a warning to others.
“Solicitors have a duty to act with integrity, independence and in the best interests of their clients. Solicitors who breach those duties can expect to face action by the SRA.”
The order has been suspended for 21 days to allow for appeals.
Although this is a welcome development, it no way goes to be an adequate punishment for the pain caused. £20,000 fine would be easily miniscule to the profit that was made from people scared of legal letters and paying up to make the situation “Go away”, Davenport like their successor ACS:LAW aimed the letter of claim at a cynical price of £500 – £750, the same cost to employ a lawer to fight the claim.
A Three month supension will allow them to be back in work for the New Year.
We look forward to seeing what the SDT does with the ACS:LAW/Andrew Crossley hearing later in the year, but after this rather dissapointing ruling we dont expect much.
*(For more on the background of Davenport Lyons “Letter of Claim” see the excellent Torrentfreak that broke the news way back in 2007)
**Davenport Lyons has issued a response to the SDT Findings.
“We were instructed by the owners of intellectual property rights in music, film and games to help them curtail the significant losses they were suffering as a result of the unlawful file-sharing of their products.
“The steps we took on behalf of our clients were for the protection of their legitimate legal rights. We consider that we acted in our clients’ best interests at all times.
“We wholeheartedly support David and Brian’s intention to appeal both the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal’s original decision and the resulting suspension and fine.”
Just a thought Davenport Lyons, when you are in a hole, STOP digging, you have been found guilty in the Court of Public Opinion a long time ago, and that could be easy to dismiss, however NOW you have been found guilty by you own regulatory body and their disciplinary body.
Accept you have done wrong and APOLOGISE for the pain you have caused.
You are going down the same road as Andrew Crossley and ACS:LAW by denying that you have done anything wrong. Last time we looked that path was not good…
The hearing will take place on
August 18th 2011 (The date of the hearing is yet to be set thanks to those eagle eyed readers who spotted the mistake.)
The allegations are or contain the following
1) Allowed his independence to be compromised
2) Acted contrary to the best interests of his clients
3) Acted in a way that was likely to diminish the trust the public places in him or in the legal profession
4) Entered into arrangements to receive contingency fees for work done in prosecuting or defending contentious proceedings before the Courts of England and Wales except as permitted by statute or the common law
5) Acted where there was a conflict of interest in circumstances not permitted, in particular because there was a conflict with those of his clients
6) Used his position as a Solicitor to take or attempt to take unfair advantage of other persons being recipients of letters of claim either for his own benefit or for the benefit of his clients.
7) Acted without integrity in that he provided false information in statements made to the Court.
We at ACS:BORE are pleased with these charges and think they largely cover what we and many others have been saying for the last two years. We look forward to seeing the hearing in practice and feel sure that these allegation whilst unproven at the moment, will be thoroughly pursued with the full weight of the law.
This is not the first time that Andrew Crossley has appeared, this will be his THIRD time. One has to ask how many times can a Solicitor be pulled in before the Disciplinary Tribunal and be allowed to continue. We look forward to August and hope it will be a FULL vindication for all those innocent people affected by the actions of ACS:LAW and their cohorts.
Many of those who engaged with ACS:LAW in bringing this misery to the general public will NOT be tried, but for those who follow this Blog, we at least know who they are.
Thanks to Enigmax!
Davenport Lyons the originator of the odious “Speculative Invoicing” scheme, have been found guilty by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) of breaching SIX rules of the Solicitors Code of Conduct.
They were referred to the SDT by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, after a complaint by Which? and protests from many many innocent people who had received letters. , after a campaing of “Bullying” against Members of the general public.
The SDT met for a week and has now found that the SIX allegations against the two members of Davenport Lyons are proven and upheld. Brian Miller has since left the Law firm but Dave Gore is a Partner.
The SIX allegations of breaching the Solicitors Code of Conduct, now proven are as follows:
(1) Breach of rule 1.03 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007: respondents allowed their independence to be compromised.
(2) Breach of rule 1.04: respondents did not act in the best interests of their clients.
(3) Breach of rule 1.06: respondents acted in a way that was likely to diminish the trust the public place in them or in the legal profession.
(4) Breach of rule 2.04(1): respondents entered into arrangements to receive contingency fees for work done in prosecuting or defending contentious proceedings before the courts of England and Wales except as permitted by statute or the common law.
(5) Breach of rule 3.01: respondents acted where there was a conflict of interest in circumstances not permitted under the rules, in particular because there was a conflict or significant risk that the respondents and/or their firm’s interests were in conflict with those of their clients.
(6) Breach of rule 10.01: respondents used their position as solicitors to take or attempt to take unfair advantage of other persons, being recipients of letters of claim either for their own benefit or for the benefit of their clients.
It remains to be seen what sanctions will be imposed on the two.
The Firm that took up the “Speculative Invoicing” baton ACS:LAW and their Principal Andrew Crossley has also been referred to the SDT and will appear this October. Andrew Crossley has already slammed Davenport Lyons for being “rubbish” and “Arrogant” in the way they conducted their business.
The SRA said it “welcomes the decision of the SDT in this case brought for the protection of consumers”.
Updates will follow…..