UK ISP forced to identify users suspected of downloading porn [Update]

While Egypt is preparing to impose a nationwide ban on internet pornography, access to such spicy material remains very much alive and well in many other parts of the world, including in the United Kingdom, where some web users have apparently been very, very bad boys and girls, by downloading such content illegally.

The Telegraph reports that a High Court judge today ordered internet service provider O2 Broadband, part of the Telefónica empire, to provide personal details of over 9,000 of its customers to Ben Dover Productions and Golden Eye International, which are jointly pursuing claims of copyright infringement against users who they believe have unlawfully obtained their content. O2 had previously contested the petition to identify its customers, but the High Court ruling means that it must now deliver customer details for 9,124 IP addresses, identified by Ben Dover Productions as having illegally downloaded its content.


Generic Porn Image #5387. Ooh.

Ben Dover was one of thirteen porn production companies to have submitted similar applications in conjunction with Golden Eye International. The other twelve firms found their petitions rejected because, in the words of the judge, Mr Justice Arnold, “the claimants’ interests in enforcing their copyrights outweigh the intended defendants’ interest in protecting their privacy and data protection rights.”

Consumer Focus – a consumer interest group permitted to participate in lieu of the then-unidentified customers – viewed the judge’s decision to observe these privacy considerations as an “important precedent” in ensuring that firms claiming copyright infringement are properly challenged to present an appropriate level of evidence to support their claims. The group’s chief executive, Mike O’Connor, explained that the decision in this regard was a boost “for the rights of consumers, particularly those who are innocent”. He added that “it is very welcome that the court has recognised the bill-payer should not be automatically assumed to be guilty when a copyright owner believes they have detected copyright infringement on that connection.”

The fundamental problem remains of establishing guilt based solely on an IP address. Being associated with an IP address that has been observed engaging in unlawful activity may imply guilt, but in practice, it only proves that the IP address itself has been used for that activity; it does not prove that the IP address ‘owner’ directly engaged in – or even had knowledge of – that activity.

The judge also denounced as “unsupportable” the intentions of Golden Eye and Ben Dover to demand £700 GBP ($1100 USD / €840 EUR) from each customer identified by O2, particularly as the firms planned to send intimidating letters to customers, threatening court action if they failed to pay up. The companies will nonetheless continue to pursue claims of copyright infringement, by unspecified means, against those customers identified by O2.

Update: BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat claims that the judicial rejection of twelve of the thirteen companies "means the final number of O2 customers whose details are likely to be handed over is likely to be significantly fewer than the original 9,124 figure". This appears to contradict the interpretation of events in The Telegraph's article, which states that "the High Court ordered O2 to hand over the personal details of more than 9,000 O2 broadband subscribers". For now, the exact number of customers whose details will be surrendered to Ben Dover Productions and Golden Eye International remains unclear.


Image based on an original from .net

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41 Comments

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That would figure why when one thinks of porn they don't know about much british porn. So all they'll be doing is killing what little there is of that biz and word of mouth. What? Anyone up for Kerrie Marie and Brook Little (she's not little) and she needs to brush her teeth but I think thats the point. They aren't little Only two models I know out of that industry. Russia and Eastern Europe has the ones that ca compete directly with American porn.

No they didn't think long and hard to come up with it.
If im not mistaken there were a porn star called Ben Dover. I think, im not 100% on this. Said person is the one who created Ben Dover Productions.

I don't know anybody who's ever paid for a porn movie. How about these porn studios adapt to the shift in media and provide their own ad-based content on a service similar to Megavideo? Charge for the HD or premium video, etc
Instead we'll now get the usual people being sued... those without the internet or a computer, etc

Mambo Boy said,
I don't know anybody who's ever paid for a porn movie. How about these porn studios adapt to the shift in media and provide their own ad-based content on a service similar to Megavideo? Charge for the HD or premium video, etc
Instead we'll now get the usual people being sued... those without the internet or a computer, etc

Porn feeds on the users preference to certain sexual fantasies or habbits. Ben dover is UK based with near all their adult performers being british girls, with English acccents in typcial british settings. This alone is a big turn on for a lot of Americans and said people will be more then happy to buy into the website's subscription service.

Pirates of porn don't only pirate retail DVDs, but also live streams and digital subscripion only video content accessible via the members only side of the website.

A lot of the members sites have members sections that lets them chat with their stars and sometimes even direct the action of the live streams. This would simply not work with a ad-based service not only because of all the idiots that'd flood the chat and abuse the workers there but also makes it harder to verify that people using the site are of age.
I'm sure there is a lot of other legal reasons too. The fact that Ben dover is doing hardcore in the UK is a feat in itself as the law on production of Porn in the UK is quite strict.

Is this just porn in general? Or just the illegally acquired stuff? I legally pay and download Porn. Are my details likely to be handed over?

McKay said,
Is this just porn in general? Or just the illegally acquired stuff? I legally pay and download Porn. Are my details likely to be handed over?

where some web users have apparently been very, very bad boys and girls, by downloading such content illegally.

I think you don't need to be afraid.

McKay said,
Is this just porn in general? Or just the illegally acquired stuff? I legally pay and download Porn. Are my details likely to be handed over?

I'm pretty sure if you're already buying content from them, they have your details already. Nothing to worry about

ILikeTobacco said,
The fact that it is porn is irrelevant. Copyrighted content is copyrighted content.

I think too. "Free stuff" is not affected.

Nice to see some country other than us in the US getting some heat hehe.

Also, "Ben Dover Productions." There's a classic for ya!

ir0nw0lf said,
Nice to see some country other than us in the US getting some heat hehe.

Also, "Ben Dover Productions." There's a classic for ya!

LOL i laughed at that. If you want to be taken seriously even in the porn industry don't use the name "Ben Dover Productions" might as well use "Mike Hunt Productions" etc. At least be classy about it haha.

Dusco25 said,
Get used to it UK.. In 25 years Sharia Law will be the law of the land..

yawwwwn. the day that happens il Gladly send you £1000 direct from my swiss bank account. this has nothing to do with sharia law.

Dusco25 said,
Get used to it UK.. In 25 years Sharia Law will be the law of the land..

This is about IP, not religion. Read the article at least. The people doing the suing are in the porn industry. Why would they want to sensor their own industry?

ILikeTobacco said,

This is about IP, not religion. Read the article at least. The people doing the suing are in the porn industry. Why would they want to sensor their own industry?

No. This is about religion. It's called internet!

Dusco25 said,
Get used to it UK.. In 25 years Sharia Law will be the law of the land..

Guess you still live in a cave... get out more. Sharia Law will never be the law of the land in the UK or be imposed over non muslims in the UK.

Noveed said,

Guess you still live in a cave... get out more. Sharia Law will never be the law of the land in the UK or be imposed over non muslims in the UK.

Sharia Law has nothing but benefits for mankind.

No tax/VAT on anything/goods etc.
100% paypacket- no more tax on wages. you get 100% of what you've earned...


there are some cities in UK who support Sharia Law.

Just a matter of time...

S.MULLA said,

Sharia Law has nothing but benefits for mankind.

No tax/VAT on anything/goods etc.
100% paypacket- no more tax on wages. you get 100% of what you've earned...


there are some cities in UK who support Sharia Law.

Just a matter of time...

Like what? Bradford? Last I recalled the law applies everywhere. Area's don't just pick and choose or make new laws for kicks.

It might get partially implemented at best but I never see it getting endorsed. Not in my lifetime.

At least they're asking a reasonable amount... $1100 for all copyrighted material sounds a lot better than something like $30,000 per movie downloaded or $8000 per song...

RedFlow said,
At least they're asking a reasonable amount... $1100 for all copyrighted material sounds a lot better than something like $30,000 per movie downloaded or $8000 per song...

Is that a one off fine of $1100, because if it is, I wouldn't mind pirating their entire collection, it'd be quite a saving on adult dvd market and website subs... not that I buy adult content... or pirate it! ... i don't look at porn.. wait, </dighole> erm... er... it was my cat!

RedFlow said,
At least they're asking a reasonable amount... $1100 for all copyrighted material sounds a lot better than something like $30,000 per movie downloaded or $8000 per song...

That's because in the UK there is no such thing as "punitive damages". There are damages, people repaid for their loss, and punishment, in the form of fines. Only criminal cases can give fines (which go to the government), only civil cases can award damages. The two are separate and so we don't get people suing big companies purely because they might get $1million for walking into a door or spilling coffee over themselves.

The internet was created to distribute porn... If you get rid of porn on the internet thats like trying to take down 80% of the internet.

at least it would be faster then for facebook

ShareShiz said,
The internet was created to distribute porn... If you get rid of porn on the internet thats like trying to take down 80% of the internet.

rippleman said,
at least it would be faster then for facebook
Facebook is no fun! At least in my experince. Only in the summer my hot friends upload their pictures in bikini...

Palpatine said,
Facebook is no fun! At least in my experince. Only in the summer my hot friends upload their pictures in bikini...

Awww you!

You win!

GS:mac

ShareShiz said,
The internet was created to distribute porn... If you get rid of porn on the internet thats like trying to take down 80% of the internet.

so thats how anonymous are going to do it they are goingz to takez our pornz!