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Germans accuse Brits of stealing their porn


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Demand £500 to settle out of court


Thousands of
Britons were unpleasantly surprised in recent days by a 20-page letter accusing them of illegally downloading porn.

German company DigiProtect claims Brits are breaking copyright law and kindly asks for £500 to settle out of court. The letters include detailed information on the alleged illegal downloads, including the name of the film and date of download. Lawyers all over the country claim they have been contacted by hundreds of worried netgoers over the past few weeks.

"It's the embarrassment factor," says Michael Coyle, a Southampton-based solicitor. "One lady told us she fainted when she opened her letter. Teenagers right up to old-age pensioners have been accused of downloading hardcore porn. The overriding feeling is one of outrage."

A young lady from Hull told Newsbeat she was "upset, scared and angry" after receiving a letter demanding £525 for sharing a film called Young Harlots In London. She claims to have never heard of it before, never seen it and never downloaded it. A sixty-year-old pensioner from Bedfordshire received a similar letter, and she claims she didn't even know what a P2P net was before the ordeal began, adding "I didn't sleep for a week."

"The cynical lawyer in me would say this is a money-making exercise," says Coyle. "If you send out 10,000 letters and ask for £500 each time, you only have to get half to pay up and you've made a significant amount of money. Because it is porn, the person who's being accused won't want to go to court and is more likely to pay up to make the matter go away even if they are completely innocent."

This reminds us of a money making scheme from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

DigiProtect is a Frankfurt-based company which operates under the motto "turn piracy into profit." In past years it represented the legal interests of various companies and organizations, including Atari and German techno band, Scooter.

In spite of everything, we have to admit that sending people who listen to Scooter behind bars is a noble cause, to say the least.

More here.
Last modified on 06 December 2008
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