Francis Davey fjmd1a at
Fri Mar 30 11:32:28 BST 2012

2012/3/30 Peter Fairbrother <zenadsl6186 at>:
> "In the High Court ruling, Mr Justice Arnold had determined that Golden Eye,
> on behalf of Ben Dover Productions, was entitled to the names and addresses
> held by O2 under the terms of a 'Norwich Pharmacal Order' so as to pursue
> claims for compensation against individuals who are alleged to have
> illegally downloaded copyrighted material."
> Isn't it the people who _upload_ copyright material who do more damage?

Its just sloppy. What is meant is those offering works via the P2P
network. In other words people who are making the works available to
the public, rather than simply copying them - in practice if you don't
configure your client you may end up doing that by default, but the
law cares rather less about that.

> On a slightly different point, I don't know that I have ever downloaded
> copyright material when I should not have done so.

I suspect the probability you have approaches 1 if by "should not"
means "doing so would have infringed copyright".

> It is often not at all obvious to the downloader both that material which is
> apparently freely available on the internet is in copyright and that the
> copyright holder objects to it being downloaded. How am I supposed to know?

That - as far as the law is concerned - is your problem, just as if
you buy something you don't know that the seller has title (and
therefore can sell). If the seller doesn't, you commit a trespass to
goods and possibly a conversion on purchase. You don't commit a crime
and damages would be very limited.

Just so for copyright. Innocent infringement by copying is common.
There is nothing you can do about it, but damages are likely to be so
minimal as to make it not worth anyone's while suing you.

> And if you think I'm going to wade through the small print, think again.

I don't think any such thing. As I said: you can't possibly know can
you? Eg, if you had bought a CD of Men At Work's "Down Under" you
would have been buying an infringing article (because the song was
later found to infringe on an earlier work). How could you know? You
might have presumed they'd have cleared the licence. The music company
selling it to you would have been liable to a contribution to your
damages if you were sued.

Francis Davey

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