Davenport Lyons, the by-now infamous lawfirm situated, sadly, here in the UK, is continuing its campaign of sending threatening letters alleging possibly copyright infringing actions and demanding money.  You may remember a post I made in which I drafted a response asking to see the evidence the firm allegedly has under the auspices of the Data Protection Act.  Although I’m not a lawyer – thank god, I never could eat a whole baby – I do have more than a passing interest in the law and my rights therein.  Accordingly, the letter was drafted as best I could.

Since that time, many individuals both on bit-tech and another forum called Slyck have downloaded and sent off the letter along with the required payment.  Since then, most – as I predicted – have not heard back.  However, some of the very earliest letters have had a reply – here’s an example from bit-tech member nw104hh:

Dear Sir

Atari Europe S.A.S: The Witcher

We refer to your letter of 08 July in which you have made a subject access request under section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998 for “personally identifiable information held by yourselves with regards myself”.

The personal data which this firms holds about you is contained in documents which were created in order to be used in potential litigation against you. As such, they are exempted from requirement to comply with subject access request given in Section 37 and paragraph 10 of Schedule 7 of the Act.

Accordingly, we are not require to comply with your request and are therefore returning your postal order.

We strongly suggest you seek legal advise and cease copying and pasting often misguided and erroneous advice from internet forums. This only serves to increase the costs which it will be necessary to seek from you, should this matter proceed to trial.

I find this response very interesting.  Note the continued threats (“…only serves to increase the costs which it will be necessary to seek from you…“) and claims that they are somehow exempt from the Data Protection Act (“…given in Section 37 and paragraph 10 of Schedule 7 of the Act.“).

To put it bluntly, this is horse-hooey.  Schedule 7 does not make information obtained for the purposes of pending civil lawsuit exempt – this is, you will remember, information which the firm will be obliged to make available to you before the lawsuit begins anyway.

To anyone who has received this response, I would advise the following: send another letter along with another cheque – or the same cheque again, whichever – stating that the evidence gathered is not exempt, and your original Subject Access Request still stands according to the original timescale of 40 days.

The second reason I find the letter interesting is that it makes specific reference to my original letter (“…cease copying and pasting often misguided and erroneous advice from internet forums…“) – which tells me that Davenport Lyons is actually spending time searching for people it has accused discussing the matter on the ‘net, in order to pre-empt any defence they might make.

Don’t let the buggers win.  As I have said in my original post, if you’re innocent you have nothing to fear.  Don’t pay: if you pay, that’s an admission of guilt.  Today it’s a claim for £500; tomorrow it’s for £1,000.  Davenport Lyons are, in my opinion, acting like bullies with diplomas, and must not be allowed to get away with these tactics.

If you’re worried about the recent case of Isabella Barwinska – who was ordered by the court to pay £6,000 in damages and £10,000 in legal costs for the alleged sharing of Pinball Dreams 3D – don’t be: Barwinska failed to respond to the original letter from Davenport Lyons, and didn’t turn up to court.  Faced with no defence, the judge had no option but to find in favour of Davenport Lyons.  As I said in my original post on the matter, make a fuss: as Ms. Barwinska has found to her cost, burying your head in the sand is precisely the worst thing you could possibly do.

9 Thoughts on “The DL claims continue

  1. Good advice. I’m sure you can report them to the Information Commissioner for failing to release the info under the data protection act. Might be in their best interest to mention it in the letter back.

  2. @koola
    Yup – if they fail to respond within 40 days of the request being entered, they’re in breach of the DPA. Now, as to whether the IC would actually do anything about that…

  3. hello i’d love to chat to you about this. do you have an email/number you could send me?

  4. @k
    Sure – I’ve e-mailed your @bbc.co.uk address.

  5. Hi Gareth

    thanks for your posts they have help the panic subside. Recevied my letter today and i know I am innocent of all the claims as I have never downloaded anything least of all a film called Army Fuckers which they are accusing me of. I am taking your advice – even if i have to pay £10 – and hope that it is the last i hear.

    thanks again

    Beth

  6. @beth
    No problem – stand up to them and they’ll back down, just like any other cowardly bully.

  7. I too have recently received one of these extortion notices for a porn title that according to them I downloaded. Again, I am innocent of the charge so have been frantically trawling the forums trying to find some way I can deal with this.

    It’s great to know there’s someone online with half a clue about how to deal with this but I want to research this a lot more before I do anything.

    Do you know of any support groups or solid resources that may help me in the situation? Of course, if you think it’s best for them to be a little underground then please reply by email.

    Found this very interesting document in my research…

    http://www.zahnarzt-dr-mueller.com/Vertrag_Digi/Vertrag.pdf

    It seems to suggest that the files were actually seeded by the company making the infringement claims.
    Scam indeed.

    Any comments on this?

  8. Hi Gareth

    I am the latest victim of DL: I received a letter today, claiming I have made available ‘Young harlots The governess’ ‘specifically for the purpose of being downloaded by third parties.’ They provide a dossier from my internet provider with details of file name, p2p client,hit date, host ip address and say all this info was gathered using a sophisticated software prog ‘the monitoring program’ to locate an individual’s ip ‘where the work is being made available by an individual from his or her personal or office computer…’ Their forensic IT experts are DigiRights Solution GnbH. I have 21 days to pay the sum of £503.49!I have not made this ‘work’ available as they claim. Is it possible my IP address was used illegally?

    The letter is very threatening and has caused me much stress. I have read the other letters here and have taken on board some of the advice but really am not sure what to do next.

    I would appreciate any advice or help with this.

    D

  9. Hi,

    my farther got a letter from DL on the 18th of this month stating that he had downloaded Scooter – Jumping all over the world. They provided information on our old ip (offense apparently took place on April 11th this year) and that they got my dads info from BT (old service provider at time of offense). He or no one connected to our hub downloaded this music. The also state that the album was not released in the UK till the 10th of October when it is said to have been released on the 5th May. There are many discrepancies in there evidence for example they say they got our ip information from BT in May but then it says they got a court order from Germany in June to do so. Surely this make whatever evidence that collected before June null and void… I have given my dad the letter you wrote to send on the DL and if this does end up going to court then i am glad to say we have VERY wealthy family members who will get use the best lawyer in England :). We are prepared me and my farther to challenge this allegation and counter sue if they do not stop the claim against use. It’s a shame they resort to scare tactics and bullying. Also i find it very strange all the costs seem to be similar ours come to £505.20. Huh! how do they come to deciding this figure. Email me Gareth if you would like to see a copy of one of these letters as i don’t know if you have or not and i would be happy to provide you a copy of ours(personal info will be blacked out of course)…

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