Consumer Focus compiles guidance for those accused of illegally downloading Ben Dover porn videos
A consumer watchdog is putting together advice and guidance for people who receive letters accusing them of illegally downloading Ben Dover porn films from file sharing networks.
With up to 2,845 people expected to receive such letters over the next few weeks from porn distributor Golden Eye, the advice from Consumer Focus will be used by Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) to help people in this situation.
"We expect that the letters from Golden Eye will start to be sent out in the middle to end of August. Most people will not have any idea about what they should do or be able to afford the legal advice they may need when confronted with one of these letters," Consumer Focus said.
For example, the advice covers what is called pre-action protocol – rules set out for both parties when sorting out a dispute.
So if someone admits to illegally downloading Ben Dover content, distributed by Golden Eye, the advice will be how to negotiate a proportionate and sensible settlement.
Consumer Focus has previously taken legal action to stop Golden Eye sending demands for £700 to people the company claimed had illegally downloaded or uploaded Ben Dover videos. The Patent Court ruled that the letters could be sent but only if the demand for £700 in damages and a threat to have their internet connection cancelled was removed.
There will also be advice on how to handle the matter if the recipient of a letter denies illegally downloading the alleged content or knowing who may have. The first page of the letter authorised by the court is below.
"Golden Eye cannot harass people and continually send letters if the person has denied all knowledge of the alleged infringement. If it believes the person is the illegal downloader the company has to go to court," Consumer Focus said.
But it is not just for the current Golden Eye action that Consumer Focus has been developing the advice. Under the Digital Economy Act, internet service providers (ISPs) will be forced to send letters to alleged serial infringers.
Golden Eye is already appealing the court ruling that has stopped it from targeting a further 6,000 alleged infringers.
Consumer Focus also wants ISPs not to cave in under pressure from rights holders and to ensure that any application from a rights holder is supported by "appropriate and consistent evidence of possible wrongdoing by customers".
Mike O'Connor, Consumer Focus's chief executive, said: "We are urging them to be rigorous in protecting their customers' personal data, to help make sure the rights of consumers and copyright owners are fairly balanced."
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