UK law firm looks to begin prosecuting file sharers

Davenport Lyons has been working with the music industry in the UK to sniff out P2P users. Now it will ask the UK courts to force ISPs to release information to identify them.

The firm is looking to identify about 7,000 individuals in total. Representatives said they will seek an order from the High Court Wednesday, and will use the information to launch civil suits against those individuals.

Swiss company Logistep assisted in the identification of the individuals by IP address, which will be provided to the court as part of the request for an order.


Davenport Lyons has already had some success in prosecuting cases. Most recently, a British woman was ordered to pay nearly £16,100 ($30,200 USD) in fines for the trading of video game files over P2P networks.

As many as 25,000 others may be prosecuted for game piracy by the firm, with offers to settle by paying a £300 ($563 USD) fine before it goes to court. The first 500 who ignore the actions would be the part of the first wave of lawsuits.

Gamemakers Atari, Topware Interactive, Reality Pump, Techland, and Codemasters are being represented by Davenport.

The firm also has used its legal muscle in controversial cases where people with open wireless networks were prosecuted for illegal downloads over their networks, even if the networks themselves did not materially participate in the trading.

"Illegal file-sharing is a very serious issue resulting in millions of pounds of losses to copyright owners," partner David Gore said. "As downloading speeds and Internet penetration increase, this continues to be a worldwide problem across the media industry which increasingly relies on digital revenues."

UK record labels and the government are already working together to send out letters to the most prolific file sharers, in a program that began last month.

Critics of Davenport Lyons and the entertainment industry were quick to dismiss the recent game decision, noting that the defendant never appeared in court, as well as the prosecution strategy.

"Davenport Lyons picked on six individuals who didn't mount a defense, and so far, they have default judgments from four of them at least. Many of those that responded and denied the claims, just as we previously reported, have been left alone," TorrentFreak said on Wednesday.

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