All around the world entertainment companies are augmenting their traditional sales with revenue generated from alleged copyright infringers.
Known as copyright-trolling, the practice sees companies monitor file-sharing networks for people sharing their content. They then use IP addresses to track users down via their ISPs. What follows are threats of legal action and demands for cash to make it all go away.
The UK has a long history of ‘trolls’ but in more recent times a company called Golden Eye International (GEIL) has been the most active. Run by the individuals behind the ‘Ben Dover’ porn brand, the company has targeted hundreds of people with allegations they downloaded and shared adult content without permission.
Last week it became evident that GEIL is back again when Sky Broadband began sending out warning letters to its subscribers. A copy obtained by TorrentFreak sent to us by a concerned Sky customer details the situation.
“We need to let you know about a court order made against Sky earlier this year that requires us to provide your name and address to another company,” the letter from Sky begins.
“A company called Golden Eye International, which owns rights to several copyrighted films, has claimed that a number of Sky Broadband customers engaged in unlawful file sharing of some of its films.
“In support of this claims Golden Eye International says it has gathered evidence of individual broadband accounts (identified online by unique numbers called IP addresses) from which it claims the file sharing took place.”
Sky says that it was not involved in gathering any of the evidence and cannot comment on its accuracy. However, since the company was presented with a court order, it must hand the subscribers’ personal details to Golden Eye International.
Of course, like everyone familiar with these kinds of matters, Sky Broadband is only too aware why Golden Eye is sending out these letters. The company wants hard cash from Sky’s customers.
“It’s likely that Golden Eye International will contact you directly and may ask you to pay them compensation,” the ISP warns.
As far as we’re aware, Golden Eye hasn’t yet contacted any Sky customers following this most recent warning from Sky but those letters probably won’t be too far off. However, the advance letter from Sky is already causing concern.
In the latter part of last week and over the weekend, TorrentFreak spoke with more than half a dozen Sky subscribers in receipt of the letter. We’re giving each one anonymity but most were concerned about what lies ahead. However, a couple had been reassured by an earlier article on the topic.
Michael Coyle, a Southampton-based solicitor with huge experience of these cases, says he’s also been receiving calls from worried Sky customers. Previously he’s handled such cases in return for a charitable donation but we understand that he’s now offering to help people for a fraction of the £400 to £600 usually demanded by GEIL.
Received a letter from Sky or GEIL? Contact us in complete confidence.