Why do I say this is a SCAM when we are all warned against saying such things? Please consider the following
A group of Solicitors in cahoots with so called "Forensic" Experts using a frowned upon hack of Shareaza are targetting peoples IP addresses for illegal downloads. Now this so far seems wuite reasonable right? I meen it is only fair that people who create games and films should be able to gain money for their work and effort, I have no problem with such a principle.
The Modus Operendi
This has happened all over Europe, this this website I will focus on the UK ops. Davenport Lyons a well respected Solicitors at the time sullied their name with this tawdry affair. The Problem? Well an IP does NOT identify an individual, sure it is allocated to an individual in some ways but it is not foolproof by any means.
Davenport Lyons sent out over 25,000 letters demanding payment of between £300 - £700 for alleged offences of downloading Second rate games from Third rate games makers, and also music from Euro Bands, it seemed obvious to some that this was a money maker from the start, as most people would not bother with such crap and if they were even downloading games illegally it would at least be quality and not crap you could buy in a bargain bucket at Game.
The demands for payment came with a threat attached that if they did not receive payment they would take the person to court and sue them for Thousands of pounds, the evidence as far as Davenport Lyons were concerned was watertight, no excuse pay or be sued. What would you rather do? pay a few hundred pounds or pay THOUSANDS, that was the Dilemma.
Of course you might think well I will go to Court and defend myself, problem is it is a CIVIL Court witch means that the burden of Proof is NOT "beyond reasonable doubt" as it would be in a Criminal Court but "Probably likely".
Many many people paid up out of fear, fear of their loss of reputation in their community, fear for their marriages. Then something more insidious happened demands went out alledging that people had been downloading hardcore filth from a Company called "Evil Angel", again money was demanded with threats of Court action. Some of the companies originally with Davenport Lyons, notably Atari and Codemaster dropped Davenport like a stone after WHICH? investigated them and reported them to the Solicitors regulation authority.
One of the Para Legals (Terence Tsang) from Davenport Lyons jumped ship to ACS:LAW a two partner setup that was only previous of note for the Dubai Sex Scandal case. The partners at the time Andrew J Crossley and Nicola Beale sent out hundreds of letters in the same template format as Davenport Lyons. A new breed of recipient were now scared, VERY scared the nightmare had started again.
Enter a legend called "Being scammed" he rallied the scared people and setup a website as a rallying point for information. A guy set up a radio interview but could not take part for personal reasons and he asked "beingscammed", if he would take the interview, he did.
ACS LAW was outraged and traced "beingscammed", he was threatened with legal action for exposing the truth and was forced to take down the site. A new site quickly sprung up and was called "Beingthreatened" by people who had not been accused by ACS LAW but wanted to help nontheless (The word Scammed was what ACS:Law took exception to). The community continued for a while and fragmented slightly when certain people who had received actual letters wanted a more aggressive approach whereas the "Beingthreatened" team wanted a more "Proffessional" approach.
"Beingthreatened" started a chatroom for the support of those who had been threatened, the chatroom was visited by Terence Tsang who would be nice in public but quite malicious in private, threatening and being quite aggressive and mocking.
As with anything like this owing to the anonymity of people their is general mistrust. Tsang has gone on record as saying he loved working for Davenport and it was only his compassion that stopped him taking "Beingscammed" to court. He is full of hot air. The fact of the matter is they will not take ANYONE to court as in the words of one top Lawyer who has been trying to take this scheme down for years, "They would not want to shoot the Golden Goose would they? if they went to Court and lost the WHOLE scheme would be over, far better to get money from scared people"
There is a LOT more information in detail regarding this subject at http://beingthreatened.yolasite.com/ and also http://www.slyck.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=66&t=44092&start=6875