Further to my previous article about Davenport Lyons, they’ve sent out a letter to a pensioner couple in their 60s claiming they’ve been illegally downloading gay porn movies. According to the Guardian:
A Hertfordshire couple in their 60s were horrified to receive a letter last week from a London firm of lawyers accusing them of dowloading a hardcore gay porn movie. It demanded they pay £503 for “copyright infringement” or face a high court action. The 20-page “pre-settlement letter” from lawyers Davenport Lyons, acting on behalf of German pornogaphers, insisted they pay £503 to their clients for the 115 minute film Army Fuckers which features “Gestapo” officers and “Czech” farmers.
The bewildered couple contacted Guardian Money. “We were offended by the title of the film. We don’t do porn – straight or gay – and we can’t do downloads. We have to ask our son even to do an iTunes purchase.”
But this Hertfordshire couple are not alone. A large number of people have received this letter, provoking a massive outcry on web forums such as slyck.com and torrentfreak which estimate 25,000 of these letters have been sent out. If all the recipients paid up, it would net £12.5m – more than almost any porn film has made.
The Guardian article doesn’t mention the nature of the possibly criminal scam being operated by Davenport Lyons and DigiProtect, so I’ve written a letter to their money editor (firstname.lastname@example.org):
regarding your article “Porn bill for couple who can’t download” (<http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2008/nov/28/internet-porn-bill-mistake>), there are a few facts you miss out. These are:
1. the porn films in question were made by an American company, Evil Angel.
2. Evil Angel sold the rights to the films to German company DigiProtect.
3. DigiProtect then deliberately uploaded the films to peer-to-peer networks in the hope that people would download them. DigiProtect’s intention was to then threaten the downloaders into paying them money. Evil Angel knew this was DigiProtect’s intention because the contract between them said so.
4. DigiProtect have contracted out the second part of their scheme to Davenport Lyons.
5. While unauthorised downloading of copyright material is illegal, authorised downloading is of course legal. Therefore if Davenport Lyons claim in their threatening letters that illegal downloading took place, this may be an untrue statement and constitute fraud.
In any case, whether Davenport Lyons’ and DigiProtect’s actions are legal, they are certainly dishonest and unethical. While I am not a lawyer, it looks to me like Evil Angel, DigiProtect and Davenport Lyons are engaged in a criminal conspiracy.
You may wish to refer to an article on my blog that refers to these matters in more detail: <https://cabalamat.wordpress.com/2008/11/20/davenport-lyons-digiprotect-and-evil-angel-criminal-scammers/>