11 December 2008

Standing up to the Bully-Boy Lawyers

Davenport Lyons have engaged in such morally-repugnant behaviour that they are fast becoming one of the worst possible advertisments for their profession. At last, someone is calling their bluff:

Lawyers for the consumer rights lobby Which? have filed an official complaint to the body that regulates solicitors over Davenport Lyons' campaign of letters alleging illegal filesharing.

For several months Davenport Lyons has been sending letters to individuals accusing them of pirating videogames via peer-to-peer networks, and demanding £500 on behalf of rights holders. The London-based law firm recently branched out into threats on behalf of producers of hardcore gay porn.

Now Which?, formerly known as the Consumers' Association, has reported Davenport Lyons to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Announcing the move, Which? said it had drawn regulators' attention to the detail of Davenport Lyons' letters. The complaint includes claims they "make incorrect assertions about the nature of copyright infringement; ignore the evidence presented in defence; and increase the level of compensation claimed over the period of correspondence".

The only positive aspect of this sordid case is that Davenport Lyons are bringing the whole idea of enforcing copyright into such disrepute that the general public will turn against it sooner rather than later.

Update: If you should be unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of any of this, there's great advice here about what to do.

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