Anti-piracy lawyers to face disciplinary panel of SRA

David Gore and Brian Miller, a pair of lawyers who worked for London-based law firm Davenport Lyons between 2006 and 2009, will face a disciplinary panel of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in March.

As per SRA's claims, Gore and Miller knew the firm had no strong proof of unlawful filesharing when they demanded hundreds of pounds in damages from a large number of internet users.

The law firm had hired a software developer to collect the IP addresses of internet connections which were believed to be downloading or sharing copyrighted material without seeking permission. In some cases the material was hardcore porn.

The firm then sent threatening letters to a large number of internet users, asking them to deposit large sums in damages or to face costly and embarrassing court proceedings.

However, the firm knew that IP addresses collected by them were not strong proofs as these addresses can be changes each time a computer connects to the internet. Moreover, IP addresses can easily be hacked by third parties.

In filing to the Tribunal, the SRA says, "An IP address does not however necessarily lead to a conclusion that the ISP account holder has infringed copyright or authorised another person to infringe copyright."

The SRA filing also claims that Gore and Miller acted in the interests of firm, rather than those of their copyright holders.