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Speculative invoicing scheme coming to customers of O2 and Be
Saturday 10 March 2012 12:53:44 by Andrew Ferguson

The UK has seen one round of speculative invoicing descend into farce, with the solicitor involved being suspended from practicing for two years, but it appears another firm is embarking down the same path, in an attempt to protect the copyright of an adult film maker.

Dinah Greek of Computer Active has highlighted the latest case, which has Golden Eye International applying for a Norwich Pharmacal order to reveal the identity of the people behind 9,000 IP addresses, where the IP addresses all relate to O2 and Be customers.

Consumer Focus the consumer watchdog has a barrister Guy Tritton fighting the consumers corner, stating that this case is just another speculative invoicing and money-making scheme. It is expected that letters to the account holders will ask for £700 to make the problem go away, and of this £700 75% will go to Golden Eye International, with the remaining 25% going to Ben Dover Productions and other rights holders. When you consider they are trying to get information for up to 9,000 accounts, the represents a potential income to Golden Eye of some £4.75m.

Apparently the IP address information has been collated using the Transmission BT client, and one must question the validity of this particularly as it appears by reading the Golden Eye website, that the Chartered Physicist who is a 'checked computer expert' was also used by previous well known names such as ACS:Law and Davenport Lyons. Though it is not clear if this is just old information on the website, as one site suggests the expert's company has been dissolved.

Golden Eye International from reading its website, appears to exist solely for copyright protection purposes, and the landing page for site carries a warning that if you have visited their website you are likely to have infringed their rights already. This seems an odd statement to make on the main page of a site, particularly as there is no indication of the rights that they actually hold. A little research reveals that Simon James Honey who is behind Ben Dover Productions is also a director of Golden Eye International.

It is another two weeks before we can expect a ruling on the order by Justice Arnold, but if you do receive a letter we would advise seeking legal advice immediately before making any contact by web, mail or telephone with the people who sent the letter.

The nature of speculative invoicing is revealed by comments from Golden Eye's barrister that test cases to prove the validity of IP tracking would not be economically viable.

Cases like this generally generate outrage, and given that the letters will be alleging people have downloaded pornography, this outrage may result in distress for families or embarrassment for those in shared households. One must wonder if this is why adult content features so heavily in these cases, as people may try to settle the case quietly so that embarrassment does not ensue.

Copyright infringement is a civil offence, only becoming more serious if you profit financially from it, and if people who have downloaded content that was then simply automatically shared by their torrent client are to be fined £700 for something that actually cost £5 or less to buy legitimately then most people would agree this was disproportionate. Perhaps the best way for general public to show their dislike of speculative invoicing is to not consume the content at all, i.e. don't pay for it, and don't download it via torrents or file lockers.

Comments

Posted by tommy45 over 5 years ago
The £700 is not a fine, it's just another case of some law firm practising extortion from those who are soft enough to pay hand over cash to these parasites, let's face it it no one pays them anything they will fail and quickly give up and move on to some other get rich quick scam ,these sort of people should be dis barred or imprisoned
Posted by herdwick over 5 years ago
one group of parasites making financial claims off another ? Nothing to see, NHI.
Posted by davolente over 5 years ago
Would have thought that they wouldn't touch this hot potato with the proverbial barge pole after the ACS Law and Davenport Lyons fiascos. It's long been a proven fact that an IP address does not identify a particular person. On the face of it, this is just yet another shake-down/extortion scheme. Ought to be before Judge Birss. He would sort them out in short order.
Posted by tommy45 over 5 years ago
Well when one of goldeneye;s directors is also the owner of Ben Dover Productions,It's hardly surprising, how can the act's of sex be copyrighted ? and have any of the so called actors actresses who perform these acts patented what they do on video ?
Posted by tommy45 over 5 years ago
Infact when i think about it Simon James Honey if that is his real name

wants to bend you over alright while they shaft you for £700. and the name golden eye ,mmm can't input here what that a name like that could be translated in to,
Posted by MrTAToad2 over 5 years ago
Lets hope this gets laughed out of court.
Posted by dogbark over 5 years ago
Not forgetting Mr Julian Fraser Becker
Posted by tommy45 over 5 years ago
@dogbark this one http://company-director-check.co.uk/director/908460166
Oh they missed bendovers middle name
Mr Simon Lindsay James Honey
Posted by tommy45 over 5 years ago
Also found this too http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Dover#Speculative_Invoicing.2FCopyright_Infringement_Case
Posted by otester over 5 years ago
I reckon they won't bother going to court, just see how much £ they can make before the SDT catches up with them.

Crossley only got a 2 year ban...
Posted by usenetz over 5 years ago
Isn't 'Golden Eye' a copyright infringement of a Bond film?
Posted by MrTAToad2 over 5 years ago
Technically it would be GoldenEye
Posted by Firefalcon over 5 years ago
Hurray more extortion schemes, one to watch out for to put right in the recycle bin.
Posted by XRaySpeX over 5 years ago
Is there such a thing as a Chartered Physicist?

I've come across Chartered Accountants, but there is no Charter for Physicists; they have Degrees.

Shows what a con their IP Tracking technology is when it's run by a fictitious position.
Posted by undecidedadrian over 5 years ago
Yes there are chartered Physicsts whos professional body is the Institute of Physics and they get the deignation of CPhys and there are Chartered Chemists as well and their professional body is the Royal Society of Chemisry and they get the designation CChem.

Having the degree is the first step in getting your professional qualification.
Posted by Freedom86 over 5 years ago
I immediately thought of James Bond as well!
Posted by michaels_perry over 5 years ago
@XRaySpex
See http://www.iop.org/membership/prof-des/chartership/cphys/page_51812.html for details of a Chartered Physicist who must be at least a Member of the Institute of Physics.
Posted by phil_w_lee over 5 years ago
Copyright infringement may only be a civil offence, but blackmail isn't.
I would think a letter saying "give us £700 or we'll make public allegations that you've been downloading pornography" could not meet the definition of blackmail any more closely.
Posted by herdwick over 5 years ago
sounds like the "parking charge notice" scam - slap something on your car that won't be enforced but you're scared into paying it.
Posted by capistrano over 5 years ago
I thought pornographers had more honour than to engage in such seedy behaviour as "speculative invoicing" (a marvellous new euphemism for extortion).

On a side note, I understand ol' Ben has recently been doing the occasional stand-up comedy gig - perhaps those who disapprove of Golden Eye's scam tactics might like to go along to his next outing and heckle?
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