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Illegal downloading clampdown sparks consumer fears

Simon Quicke

The battle against online piracy is attracting more legal firms that are sending out thousands of letters to users that have infringed copyright on behalf of publishers.

Although the practice is largely confined to chasing illegal downloaders of music the threatening tone of the letters and the nature of the volume claims has sparked concerns of consumer watchdog Which?

Which? Computing has highlighted the activities of four legal firms that are sending out letters that contain a mixture of threats of legal action as well as demands for payment.

Although targeting a different industry the activities of the music publishers has often caught the attention of those looking to protect software and in the recent attempts to turn the screws on illegal downloaders through the clauses in the Digital Britain Act the music and computer industry put up a united front.

Which? Computing is highlighting the tone and tactics used in the letters sent out by laywers bringing it to the attention of the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

A spokesman for Which? said the letters were seen by users as being a notice to "pay up or else" and it had asked the SRA to investigate the matter.


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