UK Consumer Group Files Complaint Against Law Firm Which Targeted Game File Sharers

A British law firm which targets consumers who allegedly share games and movies via the Internet has itself been targeted by the UK’s largest consumer advocacy organization.

Zeropaid reports that consumer group Which? filed a complaint against law firm Davenport Lyons with the UK’s Solicitors Regulatory Authority. As GamePolitics reported in August, Davenport Lyons aggressively targeted alleged file sharers on behalf of five UK game publishers. From Zeropaid’s coverage:

The alleged file-sharers have received letters from the law firm demanding payment of £500 ($773 USD) compensation for copyright infringement, but many, most notably a non-gaming elderly couple, have been wrongly accused.

A recent Which? Computing investigation found that while working with games firm Atari, Davenport Lyons wrongly accused a Scottish couple, aged 54 and 66, of infringing copyright of a game ‘Race O7’. Since then, Atari has severed ties with the law firm. But Which? Computing has evidence from people who, after repeated letters from Davenport Lyons, have been scared into paying compensation for something they say they did not do.

The Which? complaint charges, among other things, that Davenport Lyons’ letters to alleged file sharers misstate copyright law, ignore evidence of innocence, and increase the amount demanded over time.

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  1. 0
    zel says:

    (edit: it was WPA not WPA2 now that i think about it)WPA TKIP was cracked at my mom’s house. I set it up and 7 days later someone else was on it. I even had it locked down to 1 MAC address (the Wii they had). No bullshit. After that I showed them how to turn the wireless radio on and off in the settings and just told them when they wanted to use the Wii online, turn it on.

    The thing to keep in mind is if the person lives close enough to you, they can work on it for as long as they want. It doesn’t hurt them or take up much time and the benefit of having a free secondary connection to the internet to run their file sharing off of while they play whatever game they want on their personal connection outweighs the time spent. Also the benefit of doing anything illegal online and not be able to trace it back to you is a good benefit too.

    I used to be in the same camp. I had a buddy tell me WPA? pssh man you can crack that and we had a long arguement over it. I was confident with WPA and such untill it got cracked on an AP I setup myself, used a random key, turn off SSID broadcasting, lock down MAC address, all the stuff you think makes you safe. But once it happens to a network you setup, it shakes your confidence in it severely.


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  2. 0
    Parallax Abstraction says:

    I would LOVE to see documentation proving that WPA in any form can be cracked in any reasonable, realistic amount of time without a supercomputer.  There was one recent "exploit" discovered when using TKIP but the likelyhood of executing the crack successfully was virtually nil.  A network properly secured with WPA and a strong password is virtually bulletproof.

  3. 0
    Wolvenmoon says:

    WPA2/TKIP can be cracked, there are other ways to secure it.

    Regardless, it’s not very nice to use other people’s internet connection without permission (to understate it), and when I catch people I don’t know on mine, I open fire. Most of the people that run these scripts aren’t very secure themselves, which is downright infuriating.

    Locks are for honest people, guns are for dishonest ones. Blanket lawsuits are for sleazy game companies that won’t get my money until there’s a public apology.


  4. 0
    Wolvenmoon says:

    Also, ISPs keep logs on when an IP was handed out when.

    "User 858 (MAC address xxxx) previously assigned IP address was assigned IP address on 12/3/06 from 14:31 to 18:02, was reassigned new address at 12/3/06 22:32"

    That’s about exactly what it looks like, with different wording at times.


  5. 0
    NovaBlack says:

    a all they have is IP adresses.

    they need a MAC address. Or a forensic examination  of your computer as proof. nothing else will suffice.

    IP adresses …

    ok.. what if there are multiple computers in a household?, cant prove who.

    what if you have an unsecured wireless network, anyone can connect.

    what if you have an secured wireless network, anyone with any hacking experience can connect.

    what about torrent sites handing out bogus IPs to mask downloaders identities, that could be yours.

    what about sites that can generate a random IP and hide people behind it.. (you can literally google for one).

    what about the fact that IP adresses arent truly a fingerprint, and can be repooled by an ISP and handed out to someone else?

    what about the fact that a trojan/virus could technically download /upload data from your computer.

    Bull shit. if i got a letter i would laugh at them, and ask them not to contact me again or i would sue them for harassment.



  6. 0
    Derovius says:

     They still need physical proof of the deed; just because their is blood on the street infront of your house doesn’t mean you’re a murderer. They need to kick in your frontdoor and find the body.

  7. 0
    Faceless Clock says:

    Davenport Lyons also recently served papers to thousands of people for the illegal downloading of hardcore porn.

    Its hilarious, but at the same time its sad. Its very clear that Davenport Lyons is simply cashing in on the fact that some people will be unable to properly respond to the charges, or will be to embarassed to openly contest them.

    The Honest Game –

  8. 0
    zel says:

    What? you’re accountable for someone else’s actions through your wireless router if it’s not secure in UK? thats not true right? O.o   People need to realize that no matter if you use WEP or WPA, or WPA2 with TKIP and everything, even if you restrict MAC addresses and turn off SSID broadcasting, all of that can be hacked with a program made to listen to the network traffic and pick out all the info it needs. It can take days for it to crack it but it WILL crack it.

    Personally I like to leave mine almost wide open (I only turn off SSID broadcasting) for the sake of if someone ever DID get in and do something illegal I won’t have some technologically inept prosecution lawyer claiming "OMG it was sooo secure theres no way it could have been hacked, it has to be him!!!".

    Just google "WPA TKIP Cracking" and you’ll find plenty of evidence to dispell the safety blanket people think WPA2/TKIP is. Not that i advocate such practices,i despise it… I’ll stop here so as not to start a flame war on whether or not using a WLAN that isn’t yours is fair or not (believe it or not i’ve met people who think it’s perfectly ok ethically to crack a WLAN and use their inet connection).


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  9. 0
    zel says:

    I hope that firm gets their asses handed to them on a silver platter >.<  I hate that tactic soooo much after the DTV Fiasco that finally came to a halt when someone successfully got the post office involved because the letters were considered to be an extortion attempt. The letters pretty much said in no uncertain terms that it was cheaper to just pay up than try to defend yourself, you can’t deny that is extortion 😛 


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  10. 0
    zel says:

    That was sarcasm!?!?! 😛



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  11. 0
    GoodRobotUs says:

    This could be interesting here in the UK, Trading Standards do not land lightly on companies that harrass individuals for money, and adding unfounded legal threats is just the icing on the cake.

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