This is a lengthy blog post, so I apologise for this and hope you don’t think tl;dr!
Speculative Invoicing is well recognised as being operated by questionable characters, creating questionable shell companies who operate very questionable tactics.
For what reason?
To take advantage of the British Legal system and obtain via a Norwich Pharmacal Order (“NPO”), without a warranted challenge to them in the High Court, Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) subscriber names and addresses.
What is their objective?
To send disproportionate and unrealistic settlement demands to those ISP subscribers. These settlement demands are sent in their Letter of Claims (“LoCs”) along with insufficient evidence to prove the ISP subscriber is the infringer.
The common narrative in all this, from the NPO applications in the High Court right through to their LoC campaign against unsuspecting ISP subscribers, is GEILs and TCYK LLCs promise to issue Court proceedings against an alleged infringer.
GEIL themselves, fronted by Julian Becker and Lindsay Honey (AKA Ben Dover), have a long history of speculative invoicing. Julian Becker was quoted in http://newswire.xbiz.com/view.php?id=146471 mentioning the promise of Court action:
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 part that he says of “we could make an informed judgement on whether we would be pursuing the case through the courts or ceasing action” has two outcomes HE outlines. Either an ISP who denies the infringement will be judged whether GEIL pursues the case through Court OR cease action against the ISP subscriber.
Julian Becker goes on to say “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”.
This is a Director of GEIL saying that settlement demands would be sought against those ISP subscribers who admit the alleged infringement.
So to reiterate, Julian Becker says that those ISP subscribers who deny the alleged infringement (The opposite of admitting the alleged infringement) are to be judged whether to issue Court proceedings against them OR GEILs action against them will cease. Those who admit the alleged infringement negotiate a settlement.
Many thousands of ISP subscribers have received their Letters of Claim, and how many of those ISP subscribers who denied their claim have had Court proceedings issued to them?
NONE, NIL, ZIP…….NOT A SINGLE ONE.
So, to gain an NPO in the High Court and make such promises means these Copyright Trolls are consistently lying to a Judge.
So where does this leave the poor unfortunate ISP subscribers who deny the infringement? Are any of these cases dropped? And when I say dropped, I mean have any of these ISP subscribers had official notification that their case has been dropped from either GEIL or TCYK?
The answer again is NONE, NIL, ZIP…….NOT A SINGLE ONE.
The reality is going back to 2013 when GEIL were sending their LoCs against ISP subscribers, GEILs letters made reference to the possible consequences of Court action:
ISP subscriber second letter after denying infringement:
So this is GEIL referring to an ISP subscriber who denied their claim using a template letter provided in the Speculative Invoicing Handbook that there is an obvious threat from GEIL of Court proceedings being issued against the ISP subscriber.
ISP subscriber next letter after denying infringement again:
This is the first appearance of GEILs infamous “Revert to” letter which states the line:
We remain confident of our evidence against you, and will revert to you once your file has been reviewed and a decision has been made on whether to progress matters against you through the legal system.
One very important note on this is it didn’t matter how an ISP subscriber denied GEILs claim, they still received the same last letter. I chose the above images as examples, but I have seen many identical template replies from GEIL to ISP subscribers who did not use the Speculative Invoicing Handbook response but rather a more personalised denial to the alleged infringement.
So this “Revert to” letter from GEIL is three years old and leaves the recipient in a limbo situation where they are unsure whether GEIL will issue Court proceedings against them. I have never seen one single example letter from GEIL where they have sent a letter to an ISP subscriber where they say they have ceased their claim against them.
So out of the three possible scenarios outlined by Julian Becker where an ISP subscriber will have Court proceedings issued against them, or GEILs claim against the ISP subscriber will cease, or settlement negotiations commence with an ISP subscriber who admits the alleged infringement, I have not seen any evidence of this.
The only evidence I have seen is a non-negotiated settlement demand from GEIL to an ISP subscriber whether the alleged infringement is admitted or denied.
In other words, the hallmarks of a money making scam.
What is so despicable and totally unacceptable is when GEIL are unable to extract their settlement demands from an ISP subscriber, they leave the unfortunate ISP subscriber in limbo not knowing if Court proceedings will be issued against them.
In any other example where someone or an organisation makes unproven and unsubstantiated claims against an individual with threats which are never acted upon can only be seen as criminal. An individual can be arrested by merely making a threat on social media against another individual. GEIL have spent the last three years promising Court action in front of a Judge in the High Court, threatening ISP subscribers in their LoCs with Court action and in their final letter suggesting that they may issue Court proceedings against the ISP subscriber.
So GEIL in the three intervening years until recently have gone through the same process of obtaining NPOs under false pretence in the High Court, subjecting thousands of ISP subscribers with their unproven allegations with spurious claims of copyright infringement in LoCs and then constantly leaving ISP subscribers in limbo.
Where do GEIL go next?
Well, in January 2016, one of the producers who were represented by GEIL in an NPO hearing in March 2012 turns up on the Slyck forum, which is a haven of information and helpful people whose one goal is to help those ISP subscribers who are unable to fight GEILs tactics on their own.
The individual in question is Terence Stephens who trades under the name of One Eyed Jack (“OEJ”). His registration and subsequent arrival on the Slyck forum coincided with a new wave of LoCs being sent by GEIL.
Being a self-confessed supporter of GEIL, what is clearly seen by OEJ is his intention to intimidate those who have just received their first letter from GEIL. The Slyck forum has clearly been responsible for many ISP subscribers who received GEILs letters to not pay their settlement demands. As the Honourable Justice Arnold said at GEILs NPO Court case “Defendants who have not in fact committed any infringements are not liable to pay any sum.”
What can only be understood here is on the Slyck forum we have concluded that the GEIL “Revert to” letter is GEILs last letter and no one receiving it should worry after that. In fact, many who did receive that letter professed a sense of glee and relief. Effectively the intention of threat that GEIL had with that letter had dissipated.
It is worth noting with OEJ he was very happy that GEIL were to pocket 75% of revenues from anyone who paid their settlement demands:
i) Golden Eye had entered into agreements with the Other Claimants under which Golden Eye was not licensed by the copyright owner to do any of the acts restricted by the copyrights in the films, but only to “act for it in relation to any alleged breaches of copyright arising out of [P2P filesharing]”.
ii) Those agreements typically provided for Golden Eye to receive 75% of the revenue (slightly less in some cases).
But, more importantly, OEJ pocketed 25% of such revenues.
The only person who posted on the Slyck forum who benefits financially out of all this is OEJ.
Is it about protecting copyright? Or is it financial gains?
Different Words, Same Meaning
Having examined GEIL, next is TCYK and their conduct.
This is where history and present combine. Patrick Achache has had a long history with speculative invoicing and it is a pity from me that Robert Croucher and Brigetta Kudor decided to align themselves with this character.
So how can TCYK llc be regarded as? Well, they had to send the same first LoC as GEIL had to. Their conduct since the first letter could be described as far more desperate. Why? Because they seem to make it up as they go along.
Yeah, weird isn’t it? “Few more days”, “to and fro”. Eh?
Seriously, Robert Croucher and Brigetta Kudor are just making themselves out to be so amateurish. Unfortunately, I have seen different versions of TCYKs letter which threatens either immediate Court summons or Solicitor letters. Each of them mentions a time limit, and when the time limit ends who gets action taken against them?
NONE, NIL, ZIP…….NOT A SINGLE ONE.
In my opinion, TCYK have seen where GEIL got themselves with the “Revert to” letter and realised they needed to make up some words that sounded more threatening.
In reality, GEIL and TCYK will never take an alleged infringer to Court who denies their allegations.
And why don’t they?
To do so, they used software called Maverik Monitor, which mimics the offering of a movie online without actually providing it, instead recording the details of who’s keen before dumping the connection and then presumably emitting an evil cackling noise.
Voltage Pictures, the claimant in the case, used software called Maverik Monitor, which mimics the offering of a movie online without actually providing it, instead recording the details of who intends to download the work before dropping the connection.
So TCYK use Maverick Eye and Maverik Monitor which “mimics” the offering of the movie? Do TCYK know what they allege? They allege the ISP subscriber “sharing” their copyright. How can anyone be accused of sharing some unknown film that what seems cannot be downloaded in the first place?
Come on Golden Eye International Limited and TCYK LLC. We want you to take an alleged infringer to Court who denies your allegation. Your letters suggest that you will do that if the ISP subscriber doesn’t pay your settlement demand.
The reality is this:
GEIL have the “Revert to” letter, and TCYK have the “Joke” letters. None of their letters have any meaning or have any consequence.
Court Jesters are what they are. A Joke.