No matter how many times it gets said, it doesn’t seem to sink in. On its own, an IP address doesn’t identify a copyright infringer, but that doesn’t stop the accusations by anti-piracy tracking companies and lawyers.
In what is expected to be the first of many such instances, a married couple have been incorrectly accused of online piracy. The combined efforts of controversial anti-piracy monitoring company Logistep and UK lawyers Davenport Lyons found that one of the couple, Ken and Gill Murdoch, aged 54 and 66, illegally shared the Atari game Race 07. As in all cases, the couple were given the opportunity to pay up a significant amount – £525 ($855), or face ruination in court.
According to Metro, the pair stated that they had never even played a computer game and presumed that they had been wrongfully identified due to the fact that someone accessed their wireless router. In reality, the error could’ve been made at any stage in the detection process but due to a lack of transparency on the part of anti-piracy tracking company Logistep, it’s impossible to say exactly where. Whatever the truth, the couple rightly refused to take the accusations and demands for payments lying down – and not without result.
The couple enrolled the help of high-profile consumer magazine, Which? Computing, with editor Sarah Kidner supporting the couple entirely. “It’s outrageous that lawyers are falsely accusing people of illegally file-sharing,” she said. “They [Davenport Lyons] should cut out the heavy-handed tactics immediately.”
And surprise surprise, thanks to the Which? Computing intervention, Davenport Lyons did just that, dropping the case against the Murdochs, which should be the first of many. Again, it seems that the law firm is mainly interested in making easy money for their clients. They celebrate default judgments as huge victories, but back down when accused filesharers actually defend themselves.