And here we go again. Yet a new Copyright Troll rears its ugly head, TCYK LLC, which is named for the film it defends, a very average affair called “The Company you Keep”. Again we have the situation where a Solicitor/Company sends a letter of claim, after allegedly trawling their modified Bit-torrent client and isolating all the users from a certain country and ISP, then going to Court to request the ISP releases the details of the account holder tied to the IP address at that specific time and date. Seems so straightforward.
What could possibly go wrong?
Well a number of Judges around the world have already stated than an IP address DOES NOT EQUAL a person. 1: 2 , and in the words of High Court Judge Birss, when dealing with the “copyright management” company Media C.A.T;
“…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.”
So what is this all about? Well money, 2 , the “Copyright Holders” may whine on that they are losing money to “Pirates” that “Steal” their work, and apart from that terminology being completely inappropriate, (they may be losing money to copyright infringement, by people engaging in copyright infringing acts), if that were the case, then in the UK at least, we would surely expect them to actually take a person to Court? Right? Well you would have thought, but, no, they don’t want to, why could that be? Because they know that if they did they would have the Judge laughing it out of court for lack of evidence.
The forerunners of this “Legal Blackmail” ACS:LAW, had their Head Andrew Crossley, fined £70,000 and suspended for 2 years as a Solicitor , by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
Davenport Lyons had two of their Solicitors suspended for 3 months and fined £20,000
ACS:LAW were dissolved and Davenport Lyons have since entered into administration.
These were law firms, but TCYK LLC, Golden Eye International, and Mircom International Content Management & Consulting Limited (MICM), are not, they are “Copyright Management Companies” *cough* , all three are sending the same letters as ACS:LAW and Davenport Lyons did, slightly revised, but what ties them all together, is one Mark Wagner of little known Solicitors Wagner & Co.
TCYK LLC and the film they represent is produced by Voltage Pictures, they of “Hurt Locker” fame, and of course that film also was used in this “Legal Blackmail” scheme. This action actually led to Nicolas Chartier branding people caught up in the dragnet who had protested their innocence, as “..morons who believe stealing is right” , nice chap.
But Chartier is not alone in his cold hearted approach, over the last 2 years I have engaged with producers and pornographers, linked to the Golden Eye/Ben Dover actions, and they have similar views, “if you don’t want to receive a letter, dont steal out stuff”, “You think piracy is right, because you don’t like buying porn” etc etc, and other rather brain dead remarks that to be fair, negate any responsibility on their parts that they are indeed engaged in a scam. Check out our twitter feed for more such delights.
So what should you do if you receive a letter from one of these companies? Err sorry I mean Mr Wagner of Wagner & Co? Well you should send him a letter of denial, if he then sends you another letter demanding monies (which he will), then you need to either ignore it, or send him a second letter reiterating what to said in your first letter. He will probably ask you to tell him who else is in your house, and who has access to your internet connection, just like ACS:LAW did, that is called Phishing ,1 and is really not a good thing for a Solicitor to be doing.
One thing also to consider, is that you may hear, that Golden Eye International had their letter approved by the Court? Well that is not quite true, they were FORCED to have an INITIAL letter written with approval by the Court, but unfortunatly the Court didn’t insist on all the letters, so basically, GEIL now sends as a second letter. what ACS:LAW sent as a first letter. The Court delayed their actions by one letter.
Ultimately, there is no real evidence here, there is an IP address, so Mr Wagner and his clients, are wanting YOU to give THEM more information, so they can trap you. You will probably receive a letter, saying you need to “Compensate” the client by paying £300-£750, again, if you have already sent two letters of denial, then personally, I would then start thinking of sending a complaint to the legal ombudsman. If this does not satisfy you, then you can make a complaint to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Mark Henry Wagners’ details can be found here. And yes that IS a different address to that sent out on the letters. I wonder why?