Ben Dover Wins Key Round in Porn BitTorrent Piracy Case

Rhett Pardon

LONDON — U.K. adult company Ben Dover Productions and affiliated company Golden Eye International can proceed in obtaining IP addresses of more than 9,000 O2 broadband customers in a porn BitTorrent piracy case, according to a high court ruling today.

The ruling follows an order where Ben Dover Productions was given a week to respond to "expert evidence" given by advocate group Consumer Focus, which questioned the ability, as well as accuracy, for the companies to connect an IP address with the account holder.

But a high court judge today placed strict guidelines on how the companies could pursue the cases, which have been branded as "speculative invoicing."  

Arnold said the letters sent to the defendants must make clear that Ben Dover Productions' download logs don't necessarily prove their guilt just facts that their connections had been used as a conduit for free porn.

“Following four years of speculative invoicing, this case sets an important precedent for the rights of consumers, particularly those who are innocent, and the responsibilities of companies seeking redress on behalf of copyright owners,” said Mike O’Connor, CEO of Consumer Focus, which was acting as a friend of the court.

In the case, the court heard testimony that Golden Eye had intended to demand damages from 9,124 O2 customers. Those letters, which were to demand £700 in damages from each defendant,  asserted that defendants are liable for any copyright infringement that may have occurred on their Internet connection whether they committed the infringement or not.

Ben Dover Productions was started up in the mid 1990s by English performer Simon James Honey, who goes by the stage name Ben Dover. 

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