Both the Open Rights Group and Golden Eye appeal for donations
The Open Rights Group (ORG) has been granted the right to face porn distributor Golden Eye in the appeals court next month.
The civil liberties organisation will act as consumer advocate and will argue that the original ruling by Mr Justice Arnold stopping Golden Eye getting the names and addresses of 6,155 Be Broadband and O2 customers should stand.
It will say that Golden Eye should not be able to act on the basis of a ‘sue only licence' on behalf of copyright holders other than Ben Dover Productions.
The Open Rights Group's executive director Jim Killock said: "We are really pleased to be able to represent what we believe are internet users' privacy interests in this appeal hearing. We are following the work of Consumer Focus in doing so in the first instance."
Golden Eye has responded by saying it had appealed this decision on the grounds that: "Many of the other claimants we represent do not have the experience or resources to protect their own copyright. The infrastructure that has been set up to protect the Ben Dover copyright can be utilised to protect other content both from the adult and mainstream film sectors.
The appeal will be heard in early December and both the ORG and Golden Eye have appealed for donations.
The ORG said it has received £3,800 in donations but needs £5,000 to fund the fight.
Golden Eye said that is was a misconception that pornographers "were filthy rich".
Company director Julian Becker said: "The cases we are fighting have huge implications to the creative industry...Therefore any financial support, however small, that can be given will help the cause massively. If you can't give then supportive messages also are appreciated if not lost in the deluge of personal abuse and threats from the faceless keyboard warriors."
The ORG has taken over the role earlier undertaken by Consumer Focus, which is currently winding up much of its consumer rights work. Consumer Focus has fought against Golden Eye being allowed to send letters with demands of £700 to alleged illegal file sharers.
The consumer rights body was successful in having Mr Justice Arnold rule that the content of the letters had to be changed. On the basis that Golden Eye remove demands for £700 in damages and threats to try to have internet connections cut off, it was granted a Norwich Pharmacal Order (NPO) on behalf of Ben Dover for the details of 2,845 Be and O2 customers.
But the company's application for an NPO for the details of a further 6,155 Be and O2 customers on behalf of other copyright owners was refused.
Golden Eye said: "The Hon Justice Arnold earlier this year ruled in The High Court in London that there is no dispute that we have the right to bring this action and that the evidence we presented has a good arguable case that our copyrights have been unlawfully infringed.
"Despite the fact that he also acknowledged our agreements with other rights holders were perfectly legal and that they also had suffered similar wrongs and had genuine rights to redress he did not grant their applications. Golden Eye has appealed this decision."
But the ORG said this legal action didn't represent the best interests of internet users.
"If the decision goes our way...we believe it would be much more difficult for firms to send very high numbers of letters accusing people of copyright infringement and asking for a disproportionate compensation under threat of a court action."
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