Davenport Lyons, DigiProtect and Evil Angel — criminal scammers?

What do the companies Davenport Lyons, DigiProtect and Evil Angel have in common? They appear to be members of a criminal conspiracy to defraud the public.

Here’s how it works. Evil Angel, also known as “The Evil Empire” and John Stagliano Inc, are a California based company making porn films, founded by John Allen Stagliano, a porn movie actor. Evil Angel contracted with German company DigiProtect for DigiProtect to upload 800 of their films onto P2P networks, including eDonkey, Kazaa and BitTorrent. (A list of titles is here; and translated into English here.)

So far, so legal — it’s perfectly legal for a copyright holder to copy and distribute their works. However, if you read the contract (available here) it’s more sinister than that. Here’s the first two paragraphs:

1. Object of the agreement
LICENSOR is a film maker and a proprietor of the rights of use and enjoymrent and exploitation of pornographic movies. Licensor suffers economic damageas as a result of the illegal exploitation of the movies on so-called peer-2-peer networds. The object of the agreement is the appointment of DigiProtect by licensor to implement suitable measurres to prevent the economic disadvantage licensor is suffereing.

2. Granting of rights
To achieve the purpose outlined in clause 1, LICENSOR grants DIGIPROTECT the exclusive right to make the movies listed in Appendix 1 worldwide available to the public via remote computer networks, so-called peer-2-peer and internet file sharing networks such as e-Donkey Kazaa BitTorrent etc. for the duration of this agreement. The parties agree that additional movies can be added to Appendix 1 with a written supplemental agrreement.

So DigiProtect get the films and put them on P2P networks, harvesting the IP addresses of everyone who downloads them. Then they pass on the IP addresses to Davenport Lyons, a UK-based law firm. Davenport Lyons then send threatening letters to members of the public, accusing them of illegal downloading and threatening to sue them unless they pay £500. Davenport Lyons then share the proceeds with DigiProtect. This is looks like fraud to me because:

(i) if the work was put online by the copyright holder for the then any copying is legal
(ii) Davenport Lyons are claiming it was illegal copying
(iii) this is a lie; Davenport Lyons are therefore comitting Fraud under section (2) of the Fraud Act 2006.

(See also: coverage on TechDirt)

This entry was posted in Britain, copyright, crime, digital rights, filesharing, Germany, society, USA and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Davenport Lyons, DigiProtect and Evil Angel — criminal scammers?

  1. Pingback: More on Internet scammers Davenport Lyins « Amused Cynicism

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  7. robert green says:

    This is not the only fraud Davenport Lyons is involved with.

    There are currently investigations relating to the travel industry going on against its senior partner, Trevor Sears, for theft,fraud, conspiracy , threats to Crown witnesses and other crimes almost to numerous to mention committed over the past ten years or more.

    Additionally, as a result of our efforts, Sears is also being investigated by the SRA for fraudulently holding himself out to be a licensed insolvency practitioner for the past seven years after being kicked out by the Law Society.

    He is also currently being investigated by Surrey CID for giving false evidence in order to pervert the course of justice.

    This firm is a disgrace to the legal profession and must be prevented from claiming any more victims

  8. Pingback: UK Law Firm May Be Uploading Content to Trap Downloaders | GoThinking.net

  9. wilson says:

    Hello i just recived a letter from this company asking for 500 pound for downloading a movie what should i do should i pay ? please help advise thanking you wilson.

  10. blogger says:

    Hi there just recieved the same x 2 500.00 demands for a movie. in the same situation! what has happened since feb 2009

  11. Him says:

    This has actually taken on a new face under the ruse of another company it seems. Same scam. Just a different scam. Check out http://www.p2pfreak.com/forum/torrent-sites/1581-infringement-copyright-notice-two-worlds.html If anyone can help out any further with this stuff it would be great, theres a lot of frightened people out there who already are struggling to make ends meet.

  12. Pingback: Evil Company of the Week: Digiprotect | Facticity

  13. Pingback: Abmahnung RAe U+C ehem. kuw Regensburg - Seite 58 - netzwelt.de Forum

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