Civil rights organisation asks for donations so it can act as consumer advocate in ongoing illegal file sharing litigation
The Open Rights Group (ORG) has applied to act as consumer advocate for over 6,000 people accused of illegal file sharing by porn distributor Golden Eye.
The civil rights group will now take over the work carried out by Consumer Focus to fight Golden Eye, which is appealing an earlier ruling that it couldn't act on behalf of 12 other pornographic film distributors.
If successful, Golden Eye would be granted a Norwich Pharmacal Order allowing it to compel O2 to hand over the names and addresses of people whose IP addresses are claimed to have been used to illegally download these producers' films.
However, in order to pay the legal costs, ORG has had to set up a fighting fund and is asking for donations from members of the public.
Peter Bradwell of ORG said: "Consumer Focus deserves enormous credit for intervening in the High Court on behalf of O2 customers, and ensuring that Golden Eye cannot send "pay up or else" letters to the O2 customers whose personal data will be handed over to Golden Eye and Ben Dover.
"But Consumer Focus is now handing over its work on copyright enforcement to us. And so ORG is now applying to intervene on behalf of consumers in the Court of Appeal.
"To make this application, and if granted the intervention, ORG needs £5,000 to pay court fees and our crack legal team. We don't yet have a pot of cash to run this sort of legal intervention.
"That's why to make this step, we need to ask for your help. If we are not granted permission to intervene, we will reimburse those who have donated."
The Golden Eye appeal should be heard on either the 10th or 11th of December. The company first showed its hand in court in October last year against a single downloader.
At the time Judge Birss said: "These are not simple debt claims," and it was difficult to know if Golden Eyes cases were "good or bad" without seeing expert evidence.
But in May this year Justice Arnold ruled the company had a case for a Norwich Pharmacal Order to get the names and addresses of over 2,800 people.
Of this number the company told us that O2 said it was able to supply all but around 300 names, although at the time of going to press, we were told that these have not yet been handed over to Golden Eye.
If the appeal is successful, O2 may have to hand over approximately a further 6,155 names and addresses. As we went to press, Golden Eye was preparing a response to the news that the ORG would step in for Consumer Focus.
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