In this post, I will look at a peculiar Blog post that has been withdrawn, (cache here) (archived here). I mentioned the content of this piece and what I felt were awful inaccuracies to the Author on twitter. I got no response, and whether coincidence or not, the post was taken down shortly after.
I will keep the Authors questions and Achaches responses in the same colour (Grey), and my own response in black.
Interview with Patrick Achache, COO of Guardaley LTD, Law. For the past few years I have been seeing Patrick at all of the world’s most important film markets. At first I didn’t understand what he meant when he said his job was “internet policing” but then when he explained that he is part of a new legal initiative to track down and control internet piracy, I wanted to know more. How can this be done? (Interview by Vanessa McMahon)
I don’t know much about the author of this interview is, but they sure don’t know what due diligence is. If they had seen this parasite at “…all of the world’s most important film markets”, and “didn’t understand what he meant when he said his job was “internet policing”, then a cursory search on most popular search engines would reveal, that this role is very much self appointed and that it is not “Internet Policing” but “Copyright Trolling”, neither is it “…part of a new legal initiative to track down and control internet piracy”, this is a lesson in searching your facts BEFORE you publish. To be clear, I have reached out a few times to the author of this piece, and have been rebuffed for comment. I will attempt to fill in the gaps for those who are interested. There are what are called, softball interviews, and hardball, this is beyond soft, and to me, can be seen as propaganda for the film industry. My view is that, if the Film Industry has to rely on shadowy people like Patrick Achache and his colleagues, then it deserves to fail.
I interviewed Patrick about what it’s like to work on the front lines of the film industry’s greatest combat.
Q: How did you get into internet piracy prevention/policing?
PATRICK: My colleague and I were developing a software to interfere with online File-sharing networks. He knows all the technology and I was working with movie clients. Then we ran initial tests and it worked only for a couple of weeks, then infringers found a way around technology. By accident we spoke with a lawyer who told us that he could police this with the help of district attorneys.
No names of course, just bloviation, it could be any number of people, but, from the actual evidence we have, Mr Achache started out with Logistep, who were working with clients in Germany, and also in the UK, with Davenport Lyons. His friend Terence Tsang was working at Davenport Lyons at the time. Logistep filed papers in the USA stating that Patrick Achache had “stolen” their Intellectual Property and was secretly working with Guardaley at the time, and having his calls forwarded from Logistep. See here (Exhibit 10) (page 36)
Q: How do you go about researching who has downloaded films illegally? Is it easy?
PATRICK: The technology to identify IP addresses is very easy – it’s participating in File-sharing networks, the difficult part is the data management and analysis, as well as the traffic. We record 200 Million IP addresses per day and that is a lot to process, analyze and store.
Well they have a modified version of a torrent client, and a whois enquiry, that then slims down the ip addresses to countries of choice. Not really rocket science. They then go to a Court, claim that they are interested in taking the person to Court if they do not pay up, they are issued a Norwich Pharmacol Order, that they then send to an ISP, who then roll over, and tell the company, how much money they want for the IP addresses. The IP addresses are then converted to names and addresses and threatening letters are then sent out, demanding money. Any response is ignored in favour of sending out generic template responses. It NEVER goes to Court, but it encourages the recipient to pay up, many do, as they just want the problem to go away, the letter is worded such that even an innocent person wold think twice about not paying. Any recipient that don’t pay, get dropped, no Court cases in the UK. Of course, this is the theory, and depending on the fact the system works, which it doesn’t with any degree of accuracy.
Q: Will this be a bigger offense in near future than it has been?
PATRICK: Our lawyers are constantly looking into setting up new precedence cases (e.g. third party liability). In the US we have always worked with the statutory damages, which can be up to $150,000 USD for willful copyright infringement. Let us be serious – there is nothing like clicking on the wrong link and get caught up in our software.
No, one doesn’t even need to do that, and from some of the innocent people you have targeted, they didn’t even have a torrent client on their machine. Being on the internet with people like Mr Achache utilising their scatter gun approach, is like a letter demand lottery, ANYONE could get one. Of course, this is NOT about fighting Piracy, or defending copyright, this is ALL about IMO “monetising copyright infringement claims” and “creating alternative revenue streams” for his clients works that are not selling anymore.
Current guestimates is that the identification method employed by ALL these TROLLS is about 25% accurate, that leaves 75% of IP addresses invalid.
Q: Have you been able to prosecute people yet?
PATRICK: Yes. Our clients have sued infringers in Singapore. There are criminal proceedings in Poland, where people get arrested and their computers get taken away. We have provided data for at least 1,000 lawsuits in Germany. In the US our clients are thriving to take someone to court.
Thriving to take someone to Court? Err ok, no idea what that is, (striving maybe), Evidence again would be a good thing, I am not sure of the fairness of Singapore justice, and bragging about success in Easter European countries, is again, laughable. What happened in Australia? You lost? 2 Oh, ok.
Q: What has been your biggest bust so far?
PATRICK: The German equivalent to the FBI – we caught their IP address several times. They admitted, but I can’t provide further details as per confidentiality of the settlement. Our lawyers have all type of businesses- gas
stations, embassies, army bases, banks, law firms – the list is really long. Some have thousands of illegal files on their hard drives. The pool of infringers our clients attack only consists of the worst of the worst.
That would be the Federal Intelligence Service then?, you caught them, they admitted it, but you cant provide details because of confidentiality? Wow, that is a REALLY compelling piece of evidence, isn’t it? As far as I remember in the UK the Law Firms drop ALL cases that are not individuals, as it is to difficult and not worth the fight. “The pool of infringers our clients attack only consists of the worst of the worst.” Hmm so what does that say about the Old Age Pensioner you bullied in the UK then? Is she really the “Worst of the Worst”
Q: As you are consulting, do companies hire you to find countries and individuals who have pirated?
PATRICK: Yes, companies hire us to find out who initially stole their movies. We were investigating the “Expendables 3” leak and a couple of other early leaks of theatrical blockbusters.
Well it is a shame that you would ONLY go after the people who would share the film NOT the person who worked at the studio and LEAKED it. Let us not forget, it was a leak from the studio, yet you will target thousands of people, (well attempt to) and have them pay up continuously, RATHER than catch the one person who leaked it, wouldn’t you?
Q: How do you see the future of piracy with more and more media being available online?
PATRICK: One question we ask every client is whether they have a legal opportunity made available. A lot of clients do and it still has not impact (e.g. Game of Thrones parallel release had no impact on the online-piracy).
See Patrick, people who share Game of Thrones, aren’t really the big fish here are they?, you need to be more concerned with the people who ORIGINALLY LEAK FROM THE STUDIO. People much like your friends you have spoken about before, generally only download stuff because they are fans, they are NOT making money from it, it is YOUR pursuit of money that informs your choices to pursue them for UPLOADING the files, most people don’t as I understand actually upload that much (16kb, I believe is what you claim as proof). The internet HAS changed the way the World works, sadly the Entertainment industry is still largely stuck in the pre-internet business model. To be fair, you would be suing people using vinyl records instead on buying Wax Disks had replaced them, bemoaning the sales of sheet music, and blaming it not on recordings, but on the people who bought those recordings.
Q: What cases are you currently working on?
PATRICK: “London Has Fallen” on a worldwide basis. “Criminal”, which was just released. We are planning a new case in Australia where we were very disappointed about the judge’s change of mind.
“London has Fallen” and “Criminal” wow real top notch films there. The case in Australia where the Judge decided the evidence was awful, and the actions of your company, and Voltage Pictures were out of order.? Hmm, far from a “Change of mind”, one could almost characterise that as a “Defeat snatched from the jaws of victory”
Q: What is your goal for the near future in combating film piracy?
PATRICK: Expanding the program to other jurisdictions. Especially in English speaking territories.
We wait with baited breath. We have repelled you a number of times in the UK , and we will again. Of course, your association with CMI Business Group/Hatton & Berkeley is ongoing, and we await, the first Court hearings.
Q: What is your biggest challenge?
PATRICK: Having the ISPs as opponents is one challenge. In various jurisdictions they fight back hard, as they earn money from the pirating consumers which are signing on high volume band with contracts. What is even bigger is to convince industry bodies and local government that the way we police piracy is the only effective way. Let us take the UK as an example: We have sent letters to all the industry bodies, tried to work with the house of lords, sent a letter to David Camron. No one ever responded. That’s why we call out the UK government as cowards like AVI LERNER did in the below link with the US Administration:
A study had shown that UK File-shares intended to pirate more movies and no one did anything about it. Can you
So you have an alert that thieves will come into your country and steal things from you and you do NOTHING?
UK Film counsel wanted to implement the digital economy act and notices. Notices have been tried but they DO NOT work. The MPAA wants to send out 400,000 Notices per Month. These have failed in the past: France, New Zealand, United States, Etc. etc. The list is long and it is simply not working. Why is the MPAA still investing Money???
Err WTF, you have ISPs that oppose you? Where? Not in the UK you don’t, in the UK, the ISPs don’t even bother to send a representative to Court, they simply send a letter of agreement. In the leaked emails from ACS:LAW it showed that some ISPs even negotiated the wording with them, BEFORE the Court hearing. Far from making money from “Pirating customers”, they actually make money from companies such as yourself, that SELL the IP addresses to your company, you pay them up to £5 per IP address, that is a tidy amount to sell out your customer base, with the pitiful “evidence” you provide.
It is because we know it is NOT the “only effective” way that it is fought against. Your ambition to contact our Prime Minister and House of Lords is interesting, but ultimately futile, for a number of reasons, namely, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, is NOT “David Camron” so if you cant even get his name right, then you deserve to be ignored, but you must realise something, why the hell would the Prime Minister respond to someone of such insignificance as yourself? I contacted one of the Lords just this week regarding yourself and Mr Croucher, do you know what he said?
Does that sound like an embrace to your methods? Indeed last time this was happening in the UK, it was described in the House of Lords as “Legal Blackmail”, go on, educate yourself. you need to. You attempt to conflate the situation you are exploiting and making your money from, and what Avi Lerner was discussing which was GOOGLEs responsibility, I don’t agree with him, but it is FAR away from the individuals that you target. I am old enough to remember another prat called Jack Valenti head of the MPAA (at the time) who tried to stop the sales of video recorders, as he argued they would kill cinemas; “I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone.”
Why is the MPAA still investing money? I would ask why they still exist,
Create affordable accessibility to films and music, so called “piracy” would die overnight, BUT this is NOT about “Piracy” this is about YOU and your many companies, making money out of the misery of very often innocent people, and worse thing is, YOU KNOW IT