UK legal firm faces investigation over net piracy letters

Legal watchdog agrees with compliant made by Which?

A legal firm which has accused a number of Brits of illegally file-sharing, is being investigated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Davenport Lyons, which was acting on behalf of copyright holders, issued a number of letters that claimed the recipient had been involved in illegally sharing games, music and films. The letter also demanded a payment of £500.

Consumer organisation Which? complained to the SRA in December 2008 about Davenport Lyon's tactics, saying the legal firm's conduct was "bullying" and "excessive".

The SRA agrees with Which's comments and has referred the matter to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

"We're pleased to see some action at last from the SRA and hope the tide is finally turning in favour of consumers," said Deborah Prince, head of legal affairs at Which?.

"We now want to see some decisive action to stop these bully-boy tactics."

Prince added that she hoped the move would alert law firms to the fact they "can't make a quick buck by accusing people of copyright infringements they haven't committed".

Davenport Lyons did not respond to a request for comment on the matter.

The announcement comes just months after Which? revealed that 150 Brits had received similar letters from law firm ACS.

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Carrie-Ann Skinner

PC Advisor (UK)
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