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Ben Dover gets O2 to finger alleged porn downloaders

Speculative invoices are in the post
Tue Mar 27 2012, 17:37

TELECOMS OPERATOR O2 has been ordered by the High Court to hand over the details of 9,000 broadband customers suspected of downloading pornographic films.

O2 had been fighting Ben Dover Productions over a request to hand over the personal details of more than 9,000 customers that Ben Dover claims illegally downloaded its films. Ben Dover has said it will claim £700 from each person it believes watched one of its films with the High Court ordering O2 to hand over the personal details of suspected customers.

Ben Dover will get its lawyers to undertake the controversial task of speculative invoicing, something the court did not agree with when handing down the judgment. Mr Justice Arnold said, "I do not consider that the Claimants are justified in sending letters of claim to every Intended Defendant demanding the payment of £700."

O2 now has to go through its logs matching IP addresses with people, a task that is fraught with danger. While O2 will have detailed logs of which account was assigned a particular IP address, the firm has no way of knowing who was actually using the internet connection at the time of the alleged illegal activity.

Mr Justice Arnold weighed in on the £700 damages figure calling it "unsupportable" and added, "My reasons are as follows. First, the Claimants know that an unknown percentage of the Intended Defendants are not infringers at all. Intended Defendants who have not in fact committed any infringements are not liable to pay any sum."

Ben Dover's actions will be viewed by many as attempted extortion based on the threat of taking people to court and exposing them as potential consumers of its particular brand of entertainment. µ

 

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