Anti-piracy firm knowingly pursued the innocent

Two partners of law firm which kicked off the whole speculative invoicing scam, which demanded money with menaces from hapless broadband users, will be up before the beak next year accused of deliberatley targeting people they knew to be innocent.

David Gore and Brian Miller, who both worked for the now infamous Davenport Lyons between 2006 and 2009, will appear before a disciplinary panel of the Solicitors Regulation Authority in may 2011 accused of putting the interests of their firm before those of their clients.

Filings unearthed by the Solicitors Journal suggest that the proceedings will see Gore and Miller accused of pursuing cash payments even though they knew the evidence they had collected was shonky at best.

Davenport Lyons paid a software developer to obtain the IP addresses of Internet connections which were seen to be sharing or downloading copyrighted material, in some cases rather unsavoury-sounding hardcore porn.

The company would then send badgering letters to the owners of those connections, demanding large sums of cash under the threat of costly and embarrassing court proceedings.

The SRA will claim that Gore and Miller were well aware that IP addresses can change each time a computer connects to the Internet and that the connections could easily be hacked by third parties, meaning that the IP address evidence alone would never stand up in court.

"Each of the respondents knew that in conducting generic campaigns against those identified as IP holders whose IP numeric had been used for downloading or uploading of material that they might in such generic campaigns be targeting people innocent of any copyright breach," the SRA’s statement says.

Andrew Crossley, who conducted an almost identical campaign under the banner of his 'law' firm ACS Law, will be watching the outcome of this case very closely as he has also been told he'll have to appear in front of the Solicitor's Disciplinary Tribunal in the not-to-distant future.