Members of the //bit-tech// forums are reporting receiving letters from UK law firm Davenport Lyons demanding dosh – £520 and upwards – for ‘making available’ a range of games on peer-to-peer networks. If the money isn’t forthcoming, they threaten court action with a plentiful supply of legalese.

Well, hooey. So far the only people they’ve taken to court are individuals who ignored the letter and didn’t turn up on their court day – which resulted in a default victory for Davenport Lyons.

If you receive such a letter, **do not ignore it**. Instead, ask to see the ‘evidence’ that you made the software available. I’ve drafted a sample letter to send back to Davenport Lyons which //bit-tech// members have found useful.

Dear {the person the letter is from, or “To whom it may concern” if no name},

With regards to your letter dated {date} claiming that a computer connected to my internet connection provided by {ISP} downloaded on {date} a software product called {game} without permission of the copyright holder: this letter is to inform you that I deny any such wrongdoing, and request a full and complete copy of all records you have pertaining to myself, the case, and the alleged download. I request this under the Data Protection Act 1998 and would advise that this constitutes a full and formal Subject Access Request under said act. Accordingly, I am including a cheque for £10 made payable to your company as required under the Act.

In accordance with said Act, you now have 40 days to make available full and complete records of this alleged incident along with any other personally identifiable information held by yourselves with regards to myself. If the records are not made available within this time I will issue a complaint through the Information Commissioner against the appointed Data Protection Officer at your company as recorded in the Register of Data Controllers record number Z645072X.

Please note that future correspondence regarding this issue that is not related to my Subject Access Request and which is not accompanied by a valid court order or summons will be considered harassment, and will be treated accordingly.

Yours sincerely,

{signature}

{name}

It is important to realise that by replying in this way you are //not// risking a criminal record – if Davenport Lyons //were// to sue, it would be a civil case. The only thing they would be granted in victory would be the fee they originally requested, so you really have nothing to lose.

My prediction is that once this letter has been sent – and I’d recommend using a tracked service such as Special Delivery – you’ll make it to Davenport Lyon’s ‘troublemakers’ list, and never hear from them again.

8 Thoughts on “Davenport Lyons

  1. Thanks a lot for that Gareth. This is very useful, helpful information that will really put a spanner in the works for DL.

  2. No problems, Debs.

    Just be aware that Davenport Lyons are responding to these letters with the claim that the evidence is ‘exempt’ from the Data Protection Act. This is, to say the least, specious – just stick to your guns and they’ll give up bothering you eventually.

  3. This is really great info thanks! I got one of these letters a few days ago! Argh!

    So if I send off the above and they decide to still pursue me would it really just be the original £500 odd they could pursue me for? If I send the above does that not effectively mean I am refusing the “one off” payment offer and open myself up to legal costs and potential higher charges in court?

  4. Pingback: Davenport Lyons threatening letters on Wikileaks « Amused Cynicism

  5. what luck have u had with this letter “Dear {the person the letter is from, or “To whom it may concern” if no name},”
    thanks
    paul

  6. I’ve had no luck whatsoever, Paul – simply because I haven’t had a letter from Davenport Lyons to reply to!

  7. do you know of anyone who has sent the letter to DL and what response did they get?

  8. I was one of the fools who paid! I am trying now to get it back !!! I was niaive back then… 500 quid gone

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