Court Hits BitTorrent Users Who Failed to Appear

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Last week, lawyers Davenport Lyons who are currently threatening hundreds of BitTorrent users with legal action, tasted victory in Central London County Court with wins in cases against four file-sharers. Fortunately, these 'victories' mean little, as Davenport chose not to go after people who defend themselves, instead picking on people they knew wouldn't even come to court.

To those in the BitTorrent community, the name Davenport Lyons will be familiar. The London-based lawyers are responsible for a barrage of threatening letters sent to hundreds of alleged file sharers. They want people who they accuse of uploading Dream Pinball 3D, Colin McRae Dirt and Call of Juarez to comply with their demands, which means accepting that the highly-suspect evidence provided by anti-piracy tracking company Logistep is actually correct, promising never to share files again and then paying several hundred pounds to Davenport Lyons to call off the legal action.

Several individuals accused by Davenport in the Dream Pinball 3D case have access to some formidable resources and are actually relishing the opportunity of having their day in court. However, as we recently reported, Davenport Lyons like to carefully pick their prey – they simply cannot afford to lose a case due to faulty evidence. TorrentFreak is in contact with many people who are accused by Davenport of uploading, and it’s becoming apparent that people who dig in their heels – who refuse to be intimidated and refuse to be bullied – are mysteriously left alone and not taken to court.

But before we get carried away, here’s some sobering news. Last Friday, seemingly against all the odds and proving our previous articles completely wrong, Davenport Lyons achieved court victories against four file-sharers it accused of unauthorized distribution of Topware’s Dream Pinball 3D.

David Gore, a partner at Davenport Lyons said: “Copyright owners spend millions of pounds developing copyright works for sale to the public for their enjoyment and yet many think it is acceptable to obtain the work illegally and for free by procuring a copy on a peer-to-peer network.”

The four were hit with fines of £750 each – to be paid within a week – along with £2000 costs. Ouch. Surely these historic victories would now open the flood gates to enable the lawyers and anti-pirates to absolutely hammer the hundreds of people who also stand accused?

Well, not quite, no. Not even close.

The victories claimed by Davenport Lyons at Central London County Court on behalf of publisher Topware were all achieved by way of so-called ‘default judgment’. In basic terms, this means that as the individuals accused didn’t bother to turn up at court or even answer court documents, the court had no alternative than to hand victory to Davenport Lyons and Topware.

The remaining several hundred people accused of file-sharing by Davenport Lyons will be heartened to know that the company only has the confidence to go after people it knows will not turn up at court, assuring them of victory.

Loading up its metaphorical gun and getting ready to fire more legal bullets into a small barrel of defenseless fish, Davenport says it has more of these cases lined up to ‘win’ later on this week, while everyone else stands around yawning wondering when they’ll pick on someone who will actually fight back.

If you are one of the four who lost their case last Friday or have been served with court documents to appear in the future, please get in touch via the contact page, we want to speak with you.

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