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Official ACS:LAW/DL letter/legal threat discussion

For discussion of the threatened legal action surrounding the alleged filesharing of pornography, computer games and music. (Golden Eye Int LTD / GEIL / MIRCOM / TCYK)
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I've received a letter, what should I do? and Davenport Lyons - What can we do as a group?

Re: The new official Davenport-Lyons lawsuit thread

Postby Pinball Wizard » Mon Sep 01, 2008 4:12 am

Good work Spud Machine

I have previously raised the issue of the accuracy of IP address recording by ISPs, and would just like to add that the RADIUS accounting software used by my friends ISP Bulldog (and I believe all other ISPs), is based on the UDP protocol, which is not a guaranteed delivery protocol like TCP. This means that the system for recording the start and stop times is not reliable. It can provide you with correct data (possibly in the majority of cases), but can also provide innaccurate data.

I sent an email to the Lawyer mentioned by Enigmax, but I only found out about him 2 days after his offer. In my email, I urged him to look into the IP address recording by ISPs.

I know my Friend didn't download Dream Pinball, and I also know that his internet connection was not used to do it either. I am aiming to write a programme which can forensically record a users IP address, but I dont anticipate this to be ready for about 9 months. Comparing the list of IP addresses this prog records with what can be obtained from your ISP could prove to be interesting. I have done this before, but only with a text file, and found that the IP addresses recorded matched by majority, but I had some IP's which the ISP had no knowledge of and vice-verca. I have a lot to learn about programming forensically, hence the 9 month estimation.

BTW, My friend has not, and never will pay DL - He didn't do it, why should he pay? :D
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Ideas for reasonable doubt

Postby spudmachine » Mon Sep 01, 2008 5:12 am

Comrades,
My sympathies for those of you faced with a DL letter. For Pinball Wizard's friend, and indeed any of you who choose to fight this matter in the courts, here are a few ideas for a "reasonable doubt" defence:

How reliable is the Logistep evidence?
In effect they are saying "the Logistep Bit Torrent client says that at a given date and time, a given IP address was seen to be seeding a particular file".

  • What is the quality of the {insert the P2P client in question} protocol? Surely this is code written by volunteers, and is not supported by a professional software company.
  • How reliable is the date and time stamp? This is crucial information because it is used in conjunction with the RADIUS information to establish user identity.
  • Is Logistep really an unbiased witness? Surely they are paid by DL for every "successful payout"? So they have a vested interest in generating as many IP addresses as possible. And since a proportion of innocent users are likely to pay up following a threat from a legal firm, there is no need for them to check the accuracy of their evidence. It works just as well for random IP addresses as for "real uploaders". Is there any quality check made by DL on this information?
  • If Logistep can be shown to be a biased witness, surely they would need corroborating evidence that you had been sharing the file in question (ie. it's now your word against theirs). Where are they going to get that evidence? Raid your house? For a civil tort matter? Good grief, we really would have become a police state if that happens!

How reliable is the RADIUS evidence?
I covered this in my earlier post. To establish this I would suggest that the defence employs an expert witness. This person should be a former member of a UK ISP abuse team ideally. Fortunately there are many such people who have been laid off from various ISPs recently because of the redundancies following mergers or chashflow problems. Tiscali used to have an efficient abuse team, and a bunch of them were laid off just over a year ago because of the Tiscali's financial crisis.

How reliable is the association between IP address and individual identity?
Of course this is the "open access point" issue. Since all WiFi equipment is delivered in an insecure state, it's not all that hard to show that somebody else could have been using your access point. There've been some comments that DL is claiming that you are still responsible for the use of your Internet connection, even if it was not you who was offering the offending file for upload. I think this is an interesting point of law. There are many people who deliberately leave their access points open for strangers to use, and they see this is a public service. I myself have taken advantage of this on several occasions, and I have been careful not to abuse the gesture. But who's to say how your open access point could be used? How realistic is DL's position that you are still responsible?

There are several councils in the UK who are offering open access points. Are they liable for copyright infrigement from these hotspots? Will the actions of ambulance-chasing lawyers mean that open access points will be closed in future?

Take the initiative away from DL
Right now DL has the initiative here. Any individual who chooses to fight will have limited financial resources. DL will probably not take the case to completion because if they lose, then there will be a legal precedent that shuts down their scam. Remember the only case they've won so far was uncontensted. If all of you who've received letters really want to shut this down, I recommend you get together and investigate a class action suit against DL. In this way you can pool resources into a fighting fund, instead of having to fund legal battles individually. Who knows, it may scare DL enough to drop the cases anyway once they see you're getting together.

Also, the lawyer who is now inundated with individual claims could file an injunction to put these actions on hold until the result of the class action had completed - because all of these claims so far are based on the legality (or not) of DL's methods. Then he/she could focus on the class action suit against DL. DL's methods are already illegal in Europe. So the grounds for a case against them in the UK are probably quite strong.

By the way, I'm not a lawyer so I don't know if there is a "class action" concept in UK law. But at the very least there's the idea of a counter-suit, and this is what could be used to undermine DL's methods.

Cheers,
SPuD
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Re: The new official Davenport-Lyons lawsuit thread

Postby boingboing » Mon Sep 01, 2008 5:21 am

Does anyone wish to share what the lawyer has said to them so far about this. What angle is he approaching it from? Are you able to reveal what he has said about the various issues raised on these threads i.e. are you liable for 3rd parties use of your internet connection, is the data gathering legal and above board?
Or have you been told not to discuss?
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RADIUS and UDP

Postby spudmachine » Mon Sep 01, 2008 5:28 am

Hi Pinball Wizard,
Yes, you're right. Most ISPs would use a UDP-based protocol stack because the RADIUS transactions are very short lived, and they don't need the handshaking that TCP uses. Unlike TCP, UDP is not "reliable" as a protocol. But the writer of the RADIUS scripts could have implemented their own reliable delivery mechanism above the UDP layer (Sun Microsystems NFS works on UDP by default, for example, but is able to offer reliable file transfers). The fact is most of them don't bother with this - at least that was true 2 years ago when we were dealing with ISPs.

The way their RADIUS systems were implemented in the past made it almost impossible to guarantee the accuracy of the time stamps. And this includes Britain's largest retail ISPs - not just the little "mom and pop" outfits.

As I say, this situation may have changed given the need for more formal record keeping. But I'll bet most of the ISPs are still in the process of implementing those changes so any evidence collected up to now is flawed.

Cheers,
SPuD
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Re: The new official Davenport-Lyons lawsuit thread

Postby bubbster » Mon Sep 01, 2008 7:02 am

Excellent posts Spud.

I would just like to add that people who are on cable modems, ie Virgin Media have even more of an argument re the accuracy of your ip address. This is due to the cloned modem problem which is unique to the Virgin Media network. I know for a fact that I can walk into several pubs in my area and, after talking to the right people, be offered hacked modems and set top boxes with full, unrestricted access to the Virgin Media network. As I understand it, these pieces of equipment use other people's details (IP address amongst other things) to gain access to the Virgin Media network.
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Re: Ideas for reasonable doubt

Postby Duracell » Mon Sep 01, 2008 7:35 am

spudmachine wrote:[*]How reliable is the date and time stamp? This is crucial information because it is used in conjunction with the RADIUS information to establish user identity.


DL claim that Logistep use an application to sync with the atomic clock twice a day. If the RADIUS logging isn't sync'd to the same clock then it's irrelevent surely?
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Re: Ideas for reasonable doubt

Postby spudmachine » Mon Sep 01, 2008 7:46 am

You got it Duracell, if the ISPs aren't synced up then it's irrelevant if Logistep uses atomic clocks or sundials :D

There's an old expression - a man with one watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure :wink:

Cheers,
SPuD
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Re: The new official Davenport-Lyons lawsuit thread

Postby Fenrix » Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:07 am

Looks like the patent court has updated its trial results on the 27th August :-

http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/cms/ ... ction2.pdf

Still cant see any mention of DL or the Polish woman......
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Re: The new official Davenport-Lyons lawsuit thread

Postby dirkgently » Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:26 am

hmmmmmmmmmmmm :?

Image
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Re: The new official Davenport-Lyons lawsuit thread

Postby asdaprice76 » Mon Sep 01, 2008 10:12 am

Perhaps she went ex-directory to stop all the phone calls from DL saying "Where's our 16 grand?!" :wink:
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Re: The new official Davenport-Lyons lawsuit thread

Postby dirkgently » Mon Sep 01, 2008 10:43 am

:lol:

Let's face it, she doesn't exist and was never taken to the Patent Court by Davenport Lyons. The BBC and ITV were hoodwinked into running prime time reports based on nothing but the word of a PR tosser at DL

The whole thing is an aggressive, threatening scam to extort as much money as possible through fear and intimidation

Don't pay, tell them you will fight them all the way, and just keep respdonding to their empty threat letters with "you have not provided sufficient proof, I will not pay you a penny without first having had a chance to defend myself in court, I will no longer respond to any correspondance unless it's a court summons"
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Re: The new official Davenport-Lyons lawsuit thread

Postby l2s4s » Mon Sep 01, 2008 11:08 am

Hi All
Sorry if this has already been answered but haven't had time to look through 46 pages of info.
One thing has been bothering me regarding the lastest 16k payment order.
Eariler this year DL sent out a blanked out court document saying they won a case in Nov/Dec last year against a pinball dreams victim.
Can anyone explain why there was no settlement hearing or did this happen and I missed it?
If there was why wait till now to release this press realese why not do it in the previous case?
Or have DL made this up and sent out false papers which if ever brought up in court would seriously discredit them?
Can anyone answer this?????


The quote is from the CMD forum, it kinda backs up what is being said right now unless someone has the answers?
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Re: The new official Davenport-Lyons lawsuit thread

Postby boingboing » Mon Sep 01, 2008 11:31 am

Below is something I posted a few weeks ago. There was definitely a file he was referring to, so something definitely happened at the patents court. I never followed it up but I guess I/we should do now the newer details have been released and this isn't on there. It seems the one on the 22nd was for damages only - not the actual case. Maybe this doesn't show up? Perhaps if it was a default judgment, this is not put on the records?



Postby boingboing on Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:27 pm
I have spoken to someone at the patents court today.
He is just standing in for someone on holiday, so wasn't fully aware of the case.

But, he did tell me that the hearing on the 22nd was for damages. There were earlier hearings, but he clammed up a bit at this point. He also confirmed the defendent wasn't in court on the 22nd, but I dont know if that means they weren't present on earlier hearings or not.

I'm guessing it should all be in the public domain, so we may get more info when the real person is back from hols next week. He was looking at a file - so the info is all there - it just depends if anyone is allowed to see it.

So it looks like one of the original 'default 4'

If damages were awarded back on 22nd July, that begs the question why the detail have only just been released, and by whom. Presumably DL, and more than likely to coincide with a new batch of letters perhaps??
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Re: The new official Davenport-Lyons lawsuit thread

Postby eldard » Mon Sep 01, 2008 11:56 am

Borzht wrote:According to the Open Rights Group list, the case number for this is PAT08023. The information was provided by Davenport Lyons.

--Bzt


That should help those that want to chase this up and get more information.
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Re: The new official Davenport-Lyons lawsuit thread

Postby MrFredPFL » Mon Sep 01, 2008 12:07 pm

bubbster wrote:Excellent posts Spud.


+1 :)
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Re: The new official Davenport-Lyons lawsuit thread

Postby boingboing » Mon Sep 01, 2008 1:06 pm

The pdf link posted earlier was for the 'patents court'
There is also a 'patents county court', which seems to be the one quoted in all news articles.

So that may be why we aren't seeing this.There is a daily diary for both courts, but a historic diary for only the non-county court. Anyone know the difference?

See menu on right hand side.
http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/cms/ ... _diary.htm
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Re: The new official Davenport-Lyons lawsuit thread

Postby doddle » Mon Sep 01, 2008 4:05 pm

Well... I've joined the DL sucker club. Got mine on Friday last week and boy did I spend a great weekend thinking about how I should pursue this. I've spoken to a family member who's a lawyer and he said that he would definitely not pay up and it was quite cheeky of DL to even ask for money and that they would need to take me to court to get me to pay up (usually a last resort). He also mentioned to make sure that if agreeing to what they want us to sign that it doesn't imply that we're guilty. Otherwise they could come back in future and we'd have no defence.

I then asked a mate of mine to ask his aunt who's also a lawyer. She said to ask for a more lenient compensation. I guess as long as they get something they'd be happy, right?

Has anyone else spoken to a lawyer, gotten any advice as to what to do? The last thing you want is to be taken to court and lose.

The interesting thing to note on my letter is that the court order sent to ISPs (if that did indeed happen) gave Virgin Media (my ISP) a deadline of 31/12/08 to give them the list of users names and addresses. Why would they ever give it to them 4+ months before the deadline? I could've had almost half a year without the stress of being attacked by the lowest form of human being!! (No offense to other decent lawyers)
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Re: The new official Davenport-Lyons lawsuit thread

Postby enigmax » Mon Sep 01, 2008 4:39 pm

bubbster wrote: I know for a fact that I can walk into several pubs in my area and, after talking to the right people, be offered hacked modems and set top boxes with full, unrestricted access to the Virgin Media network. As I understand it, these pieces of equipment use other people's details (IP address amongst other things) to gain access to the Virgin Media network.

The hacked/cloned modems will 'steal' someone else's identity, but the hacked TV boxes are a different issue since one of their features is to never report back to Virgin, kinda like a 'download only' box. They don't rely on masquerading as another user but simply pick up the data sent down everyones cable and decrypt it, either with a modified regular Virgin box with 'talkback' disabled and a hacked card or a 3rd party box with a custom ROM, like a Dbox2 or the new Eurobox (i think that's what it's called). But hacked modems are a real 'identity theft' issue on Virgin, you're right about that.
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Re: The new official Davenport-Lyons lawsuit thread

Postby geoffro » Mon Sep 01, 2008 4:44 pm

I run a Virgin cable modem and always have done (about 7 years)
I'm guessing that the problem at my end has just been solved.
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Re: The new official Davenport-Lyons lawsuit thread

Postby piXelatedEmpire » Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:15 pm

MrFredPFL wrote:
bubbster wrote:Excellent posts Spud.


+1 :)

Exactly what this thread needed. Well done Spud.
Ross Wheeler, CEO of Albury.net.au, referring to the Australian Governments internet filtering plan wrote:"It's the most ill-conceived pile of stupidity by the biggest bunch of cretins that I've ever seen in my life"
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Re: The new official Davenport-Lyons lawsuit thread

Postby boingboing » Tue Sep 02, 2008 5:17 am

OK. I have spoken to the county patents court. The normal patents court knows nothing of this case - it was deffo heard in the county patents court.

The county patents court told me there was no hearing in her diary for this case, at least on this date, which means it didn't go ahead. Whether this was just the damages claim that didn't go ahead (my previous conversation told me the july 22nd case was just for damages and there were previous hearings for the main case) or whether it was the whole thing that didn't go ahead I dont know.

But there was a case prepared for this court and there is a file for it. She had a good look at the file, however it is all private. She said I need to speak to the solicitors involved - DL. There was no solicitor for the other side.

She couldn't say anything about whether they defended themselves, but I was told previously they weren't present for the 22nd July hearing (again, whether they were at previous hearings is unknown, but I was previously told there were other earlier hearings)

Basically its all a bit mysterious. At the very least they have been bribed to agree to keep this private as part of the settlement. I guess it could be possible this person never existed, but there was a court case against her at the very least. I dont think we would ever know. Channel4 news had a hidden face person on their news report, but that means nothing.
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Re: The new official Davenport-Lyons lawsuit thread

Postby bubbster » Tue Sep 02, 2008 6:10 am

It's like an episode of Columbo! :lol:
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Re: The new official Davenport-Lyons lawsuit thread

Postby Borzht » Tue Sep 02, 2008 8:04 am

boingboing wrote:The county patents court told me there was no hearing in her diary for this case, at least on this date, which means it didn't go ahead. Whether this was just the damages claim that didn't go ahead (my previous conversation told me the july 22nd case was just for damages and there were previous hearings for the main case) or whether it was the whole thing that didn't go ahead I dont know.

But there was a case prepared for this court and there is a file for it. She had a good look at the file, however it is all private. She said I need to speak to the solicitors involved - DL. There was no solicitor for the other side.

She couldn't say anything about whether they defended themselves, but I was told previously they weren't present for the 22nd July hearing (again, whether they were at previous hearings is unknown, but I was previously told there were other earlier hearings)


WTF? Court proceedings - at any level - are matters of public record. This is just getting murkier by the minute. DL did come up with a case number (PAT08023), and yet the court says that the files are private? In fairness, submissions to a court case which didn't go ahead might well be still private, but if files were entered into court, they become public documents - and the court service has no business withholding them.

I know this is into the "wingnut conspiracy theory" area, but now I'm starting to doubt the very existence of this person. A court case which no-one can find; a defendant who cannot be contacted. Hell's bells - do we even have the name of the judge who handed down the judgment?

When I asked the Guardian tech editor about his coverage of this case, he simply replied that he was off for the last two weeks, so he doesn't know what level of checking his paper did before printing the article. (I suspect the answer is: none. It was August, and that's when lazy journalism creeps in).

Boingboing - keep up the good work. I would contact the court myself, but having multiple people jump on the same query isn't always helpful. There is a real story of duplicity going on here, and I think the national media have been - at the least - misleading in their coverage.

--Bzt
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Re: The new official Davenport-Lyons lawsuit thread

Postby boingboing » Tue Sep 02, 2008 8:08 am

Thanks. I think we need someone to go in in person. I believe the county patents court is at London Bridge. Somebody must be able to spare a long lunch?
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Re: The new official Davenport-Lyons lawsuit thread

Postby MrFredPFL » Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:51 am

Borzht wrote:It was August, and that's when lazy journalism creeps in


also known as the silly season - which is a great sci-fi short story by cyril m. kornbluth. highly recommended ;)
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