Despite assurances from GEILs “Commercial Director” Julian Becker that he is NOT connected to ACS:LAWs Andrew Crossley, the release of the template of their Pre-Action letter, shows that he is at least a fan of the format of letter that was developed by Davenport Lyons, and licensed by them to ACS:LAW , who then in turn let Tilly Baily Irvine use them. TBI were the Solicitors for GEIL/BDP.
It is watered down for sure, as I have said all along, it would be a “Refinement”, but it is still essentially the same format with the same evidence, or should that be, LACK OF EVIDENCE.
The letter is really an exercise in Phishing, you would have thought a company who had gone to Court and gained a Norwich Pharmacal order, would at least have some kind of concrete evidence, right? Err no not quite.
The letter states that
“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,” the letter states under the title “Infringing acts.”
“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,” the letter states.
“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.”
ACS:LAW in their desperation issued a questionnaire that covered the same criteria, GEIL are using it in their initial letter! One thing is missing though and that is a demand for money,(GEIL had wanted to demand £700 per letter, but were slapped down by the High Court), this on the face of things seems a good thing, however, it almost certainly guarantees at least a second letter.
We know from the ACS:LAW cases that when they got to court, they were laughed back out. Judge Birss said of ACS:LAWs client Media C.A.T,
The letter also contains another similarity to the ACS:LAW letter, the “Forensic computer analyst”, Hmm that would be Alireza Torabi, the same one that ACS:LAW used, of course Becker has already stated he had no problems with Torabis system, only Crossleys use, but that is the issue, a lot of the captured data was duff.
One final concern, is that in the Solicitors Regulation Authorities report, they stated,
“Neither MCAT nor the Respondent had evidence that the “Work” had been made available. They had a report from the monitoring company which showed that its software had captured pieces of the two pornographic videos being made available from an IP address at a particular second in time.”
What was true a year ago is as true as today, there IS NO EVIDENCE, that is why the letter is designed to trip up a person who has not infringed but at least could be hoodwinked into paying up. It is a scare tactic being used by a failing pornography business to generate money.. PURE AND SIMPLE
Now what was it that Lindsay Honey (Ben Dover) said? Ahh yes..
Says it all really
EDIT: If YOU receive a letter from Golden Eye International, then contact your local Citizens Advice Center. Citizens Advice Consumer Service (08454 04 05 06) or your local Citizens Advice Bureau And of course post comments here or on the Slyck forums!
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.
Golden Eye International/Ben Dover the latest group to try their hand at the Speculative Invoicing Scam, have been given permission to send their Court Approved letters out to O2 Customers.
The Letter, it would seem has been very much scrutinised and has been ordered by the Court to be toned down, after GEIL attempted to overstep their mark by using a letter that made some wild claims, regarding the amount they wanted and also what the ISP would do on their say so.
It remains to be seen the actual content of the letter, however early indications point to the fact that it is NOT allowed to contain a cash demand as GEIL’s forerunners, Davenport Lyons, ACS:LAW, Tilly Baily Irvine, or Gallant Macmillan had done.
GEIL initially wanted to demand £700 per letter, this was quashed by the Judge overseeing the case.
What I wanted to highlight here, is some observations
Golden Eye International/Ben Dover may claim to have no connection with ACS:LAW but there is one, and one Julian Becker has already admitted to, the data gatherer, the person who will harvest the IP addresses of those suspected of uploading/downloading, is a man called Alireza Torabi of ng3 systems, Mr Torabi is the guy who got things spectacularly wrong with the IP addresses that led to ACS:LAW targeting innocent people. He is using the same software, so one can presume the same results.
Golden Eye International are also using the same “Expert Witness” Clem Vogler. Alireza Torabi was shown in the leaked emails to have a somewhat troublesome relationship with Andrew Crossley to the point that Crossleys cohort Terence Tsang, consulted and arranged for the monitoring to be done by Guardaley. One would have thought Torabi at least would have learnt his lesson!
Ben Dover aka Lindsay Honey, was interviewed in January 2009, with regard to the same action taken in the USA by Larry Flynt, The interview can be viewed here. as can be seen, Honey claims he KNEW that his sales were already going down the pan and that he had “Seen it coming” and had diversified into other areas, even attempting to become a serious actor…
The problem with this kind of “Legal Blackmail”, as it was decribed in the House of Lords, is that it is VERY difficult to defend against. A person may have strong evidence that he has NOT downloaded one of their films, however to go to Court and have his name cleared costs a LOT of money. A person would more than likely pay up even if they are innocent through fear of not having the money to go to court to clear their name, and that is EXACTLY what people like GEIL are banking on. Of course being pornographers they have no shame, no understanding and no concern of what their actions have on the average person.
They want you to be frightened, they want you to fear going to Court, the reason being of course is that they have NO evidence whatsoever, against ANYONE. Don’t believe me? See this quote from the ruling of Media C.A.T (ACS:LAW) by Judge Colin Birss
All the IP address identifies is an internet connection, which is likely today to be a wireless home broadband router. All Media CAT’s monitoring can identify is the person who has the contract with their ISP to have internet access. Assuming a case in Media CAT’s favour that the IP address is indeed linked to wholesale infringements of the copyright in question… Media CAT do not know who did it and know that they do not know who did it.
Julian Becker claims that GEIL are different, they all did, every Law Firm that has tried this, claimed to be different from the others, but they were not.
Becker says “In our first letter we seek to find out more information regarding evidence of an infringement of our copyright”
Andrew Crossley of ACS:LAW said “I make an enquiry of the recipient of my initial letter following receipt of evidence that their internet connection was utilized for the purposes of infringing copyright of our clients”
GEIL are not of course Lawyers, so it will be interesting to see what they will do when a letter comes through the door of some innocent subscriber of O2 and they say “Screw you, con merchants”
We will see.
One final point is that I wonder what O2 meant when they talk about their “Unique” position in this case?, the only unique position as I see it, is that they are the only ISP to have acquiesced to this form of racket since ACS:LAWs spectacular disintegration.
I am angry, pornography accusations can wreck lives and marriages, that is why I will fight for those wrongly accused.
I will leave the last word to Mr Honey…
“Fuck! Aren’t I just the luckiest bastard in the World?
Not only do I get to film all of these fantasic looking girls stripping off for my camera, but I also get to slide my fingers knuckle-deep into their hot, wet snatches, then get my knob sucked into the bargain!! Have I got some awesome little jizz-junkies for you!”
And the comment:
“At the end of the day, if I can’t make money out of porn, the only way I can make money is to get to the people who are not buying it”
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
Speculative invoicing or “Copyright Trolling” really is the “Turd that will not flush”
Just as Davenport Lyons, ACS:LAW, Tilly Baily Irvine, and Gallant Macmillan, have been roundly ridiculed in the House of Lords, the Media and the High Court, and apart from Gallant Macmillan all been financially punished by the SRA/SDT most of us thought this tawdry practice of sending out letters in the hope of receiving money from people to scared to frightened or not able to afford to defend themselves was well and truly over.
For those who are not aware of this sad saga, please see these links for background.
However, their will always be one arrogant or greedy or indeed both Lawyer and Troll who will chance their arm, and indeed reputation. Step forward Golden Eye International (GEIL), better know as Pornographer Ben Dover, (AKA Simon Lindsay Honey) alongside Barrister extrodianaire (well if his own hype is to be believed) Jonathon Cohen of Littleton Chambers
They were in Court on Friday applying for an order known as an NPO for 9000 names, yep NINE THOUSAND, they want to send demands of £700, to each of these people which will net them a cool £6.3 MILLION
The interesting thing about all this, is that it IS the same sad old scheme “Pay us or else”
Even more amusing, Golden Eye International are using the same “Expert Witness” that ACS:LAW used but considered troublesome in the emails they leaked, Clem Vogler, and if that was not bizarre enough they are using Alireza Torabi of NG3Systems
Alireza Torabi was shown in the leaked emails to have a somewhat troublesome relationship with Andrew Crossley to the point that Crossleys cohort Terence Tsang, consulted and arranged for the monitioring to be done by Guardaley. One would have thought Torabi at least would have learnt his lesson!
Computer Focus are the group who have employed Ralli Barrister Guy Tritton who tore the ACS:LAW/Media C.A.T case to shreds before High Court Justice Birss.
Jonathan Cohen acting for the Pornographer (GEIL) stated that it was not “economically viable for Golden Eye International) to bring a test case”, in other words to show they have a valid case. This should be no surprise as Judge Birss at the ACS:LAW/Media C.A.T hearing stated, that (See her for link)
Whether it was intended to or not, I cannot imagine a system better designed to create disincentives to test the issues in court. 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?
Media CAT and ACS:Law have a very real interest in avoiding public scrutiny of the cause of action because in parallel to the 26 court cases, a wholesale letter writing campaign is being conducted from which revenues are being generated. This letter writing exercise is founded on the threat of legal proceedings such as the claims before this court.
Judge Birss also made the point In summing up of the ACS:LAW?Media C.A.T case in regard to the Norwich Pharmacal Orders
Wider issues – this kind of Norwich Pharmacal order
111 I cannot 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. In my judgment when a Norwich Pharmacal order is sought of the kind made in this case, it may well be worth considering how to manage the subsequent use of the identities disclosed. Perhaps consideration should be given to making a Group Litigation Order under CPR Part 19 from the outset and providing a mechanism for identifying tests cases at an early stage before a letter writing campaign begins. When Anton Piller (search and seizure) orders are made the practice is for a supervising solicitor who does not act for the claimant to be closely involved in order to ensure that the orders are not abused. The supervising solicitors are experienced practitioners. Perhaps a court asked for a Norwich Pharmacal order of the kind made here should consider requiring some similar form of supervision from a experienced neutral solicitor.
112 A party seeking a Norwich Pharmacal order in a case like this should also give serious consideration to s102 of the 1988 Act. Although s102(3) clearly provides that s102(1) does not affect the granting of interlocutory relief a Norwich Pharmacal order has some elements of final relief about it. After all the Norwich Pharmacal action comes to an end once the order is made. In any case just because the court has power to grant the relief without joining the copyright owner does not mean it must do so.
UPDATE 1: The ISPs involved in this case are o2 and Bethere, essentialy the same company Telefonica. In the past these Lawfirms have only targetted ISPs who have said they will not challenge the order. In other words, if you are a customer of O2 or Bethere, think, wether you want to remain a customer of a company that thinks so little of you that they put the needs of a Pornographer above yours! The could have challenged the order, but DIDN’T
Maybe you should consider Plusnet as your new ISP.
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.
After the Copyright Trolls, Davenport Lyons, ACS:LAW, Gallant Macmillan, Tilly Baily Irvine were either slain or withdrew due to adverse publicity and returned to their core practices, the people of Great Britain breathed a sigh of relief that they might not again be wrongfully targetted by unscrupulous Law Firms or “Copyright Holding Companies”. They were wrong.
Arising from the ashes of Tilly Baily Irvines failed attempts to emulate ACS:LAW, comes a company called “Golden Eye International”, indeed they were represented by Tilly Baily Irvine. Golden eye International claim to be the “..holder of numerous film copyrights” and have sent out letters themselves demanding money from people they claim to have “infringed their copyrights”.
This is quite interesting in the fact that “Golden Eye International” are NOT a law firm. They seem to represent the “Copyright Holdings” of a Pornographic Franchise called “Ben Dover”
What is VERY interesting is that the Director of Golden Eye International, is a man called “Simon Lindsay Honey“, a cursory search online, leads one to his AKA which turns out amazingly to “Ben Dover”
Yep, Ben Dover or rather Simon Lindsay Honey, is a Director of the Company that owns the Copyright of his OWN films and is sending out letters of claim to people he accuses of “Infringing his copyright”.
How does he do this?
Well according to Golden Eye Internationals website they use “bespoke technology which captures the irrefutable evidence of the perpetrators.”
Hmmm anyone who knows the background to the Davenport/Acs/Gallant Macmillan/Tilly Baily Irvine “monitors”, know this to be, how should I put this….BULLSHIT. In addition Golden Eye International even use the “Expert Witness” Report of a Mr Clem Vogler, as did Davenport Lyons, as Did , ACS:LAW, as can be seen here on Mr Voglers own Website.
One further note of interest is that back in August 2010 thanks to ACS:LAW leaking their emails, it is shown that at least one of the ACS:LAW Crew, Adam Glen had serious issues with the Vogler report.
You know my view on the quality of Clem Vogeler’s expert witness statement and what I perceive as the opportunity it provides to serious challenge.
The ACS:LAW debacle ended in a Court Case where ACS:LAW and Media C.A.T (The Copyright Holding Company) both went bust rather than pay damages, when it became clear they were “Trying it on” To paraphrase the Judge. by a strange Co-incidence, the Golden Eye International cases have now also landed in Court before the SAME Judge, such was his actionas regarding ACS:LAW Judge Colin Birss was awarded the Internet Hero Award for 2011.
It remains to be seen what will happen with Goden Eye International, the ACS:LAW/Media C.A.T fell apart after the actual true copyright holders, refuse to be “Joined” in the Court Action. They had benefited from people paying up but were not going to put their neck on the line.
For Golden Eye International to be succesful, they will (I presume) have to be Joined by the Copyright Holders, in this case Ben Dover, as they are one and the same Person, ie SIMON LINDSAY JAMES HONEY, it conjures an image that may well befit one of his Pornographic titles.
UPDATE 1: “BDP (Ben Dover Productions” means Optime Strategies Ltd trading as www.ben-dover.biz
Again it seems like smoke and mirrors.
UPDATE 2 (Fixed Link): It has been pointed out that Clem Voglers company Ad Litem Ltd has been dissolved as of 13/09/2011 see here http://companycheck.co.uk/company/04354109
Thanks to Mullard!
It has been said the ACS:LAW “Speculative Invoicing” debacle wont be over till the Fat Lady sings, well, the date has now been set for the 16th January 2012.
In an email from the SDT, it says
I confirm that the substantive hearing in relation to Mr Crossley and ACS:Law has been listed for the week commencing January 16 2012.
This will be the THIRD time that Andrew Crossley has been hauled before the Tribunal, since he became a lawyer in 1991… Some record.
Whilst the US Copyright Group (Dunlap Grubb and Weaver) whom Crossley tried and failed to work with are now facing their own potential Waterloo, the previous Law Firm whom Crossley took the Shilling from (Davenport Lyons) has also just been found guilty at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, although they are of course appealing.
This news marks a remarkable fightback against these Law firms who seek to “….make up with the lost revenue by creating a revenue stream and monetizing the equivalent of an alternative distribution channel” or in plain English “Rip off innocent people”.
It is not know yet wether the SRA are still investigating the other two Law Firms that tried to emulate ACS:LAWs model, Tilly Baily Irvine, and Gallant Macmillan, however they seem to have been “Collaborating” with each other in the emails that ACS:LAW leaked.
I will update as soon as I have the answer.
As things stand, I would say to ALL those wrongly accused by these Law Firms to have a thoroughly wonderful Christmas and New Year
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!
Yesterday at the Patents Court Judge Birss gave ACS:LAW/Andrew Crossley such a kick up his ample backside that the ripples will be felt throughout the Legal Profession.
In one of the final hearings into the Court Cases that ACS:LAW were due to bring against 27 alleged infringers (Read Innocent people) the Judge has turned his attention to Wasted Costs, ie ACS:LAW/Andrew Crossley wasting everyone’s time with his ridiculous Business Plan of targeting innocent people for alleged filesharing
I have covered the previous parts of this case on my Blog and it has also been reported rather nicely on the Torrent Freak Website.
Some stand out moments from yesterday include, comments from Judge Birss
Agreements between ACS:LAW and Media C.A.T) In my judgment there is an apparently strong prima facie case that the Basic Agreements are improper and champertous
Assuming Mr Crossley has indeed made a loss so far (and I am not satisfied I have the whole picture relating to the finances of this exercise in any event) it does not alter the fact that the Basic Agreements are improper and unreasonable.
Mr Tritton (Ralli Barrister) submitted that the Basic Agreements were negligently drafted by ACS:Law and the negligence was not merely an unintended act of incompetence but was done for ACS:Law’s benefit
In my judgment the drafting of operative clause 1.1.1 in the Basic Agreements was prima facie negligent. Mr Parker(ACS:LAW Barrister) did not advance a case to deny that, he submitted there was no evidence Mr Crossley was responsible for the drafting of the Basic Agreements. I have already dealt with that above. Mr Crossley was plainly responsible.
(NPO Applications)This is yet another example of conduct by ACS:Law which, at best, can be described as amateurish and slipshod.
(On reports that SHOULD have been sent to ISPs) I will hear counsel as to whether I should direct ACS:Law and/or Media CAT to provide the report to the court and the defendants’ solicitors or explain why there is no report to provide.
In summary, consideration of the Norwich Pharmacal orders in this case reveals, prima facie, a series of errors and questionable conduct by ACS:Law….
(On the letter of claim) In my judgment the letter is plainly negligent and may well be improper.
(Negligent Correspondance) ACS:Law’s conduct was chaotic and lamentable. Documents which plainly should have been provided were not provided. This was not the behaviour of a solicitor advancing a normal piece of litigation.
( GCB Debacle) I have already found the GCB episode shows that ACS:Law knew perfectly well that Media CAT intended the letter writing campaign to be pressed ahead with despite the court being told that the Notices of Discontinuance were being used in order for the claimant to give the matter further consideration. That finding provides further support for my finding that there is a prima facie case of unreasonable conduct by ACS:Law in relation to the Notices.
In my judgment the combination of Mr Crossley’s revenue sharing arrangements and his service of the Notices of Discontinuance serves to illustrate the dangers of such a revenue sharing arrangement and has, prima facie, brought the legal profession into disrepute
(Crossley 3rd Witness Statement) In his third witness statement Mr Crossley set out draft accounts and in paragraph 7 he summarised his position. He stated that the business model has been neither profitable nor rewarding for him in any way at all, and that neither himself nor ACS:Law solicitors have funded these proceedings and have not benefited from them. He said the control which ACS:Law has had over these proceedings is only to the extent that any litigation solicitor would have over his litigation client’s affairs and no more. He continued “By contrast both the claimant and the various copyright owners that it was representing received considerable income from the business model without any cost to them.”
There is a good arguable case that ACS:Law / Mr Crossley will be liable for the costs of this case and I will add ACS:Law / Mr Crossley as a party to this action for that purpose.
Barrister Guy Tritton is already on record describing the ACS Law case as the “most appalling case” he’d seen in his career, stressing it was a unique incident.
The Court hearing will be reconvened on the 17th June just two weeks AFTER the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal meets to decide what THEY are going to do with Andrew Crossley.
In Crossleys own words “Exciting times”