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What to do if you're accused of copyright infringement

This advice applies to Scotland

This page explains why you may have received a letter accusing you of copyright infringement, who can send you a letter and what you can do if you receive one. 

In this information we refer to copyright owner but claims for compensation may also come from an exclusive licensee or solicitor working on behalf of a copyright owner or exclusive licensee.

Who may send you a letter accusing you of illegal downloading or filesharing

A copyright owner or the exclusive licensee has the right to pursue you for compensation for copyright infringements. The letter should come either from them or from a solicitor acting on their behalf. You should check carefully that the letter is genuine. There are some risks in ignoring the warning letter.

If you receive a letter from Golden Eye International, you should respond in a particular way.

Why you've received a letter accusing you of illegal downloading or filesharing

When you receive a letter accusing you of illegal filesharing you are being pursued for alleged copyright infringements. Copyright owners and exclusive licensees have the right to pursue you through court for this. However before taking legal action they should write to you warning you that they could take legal action. They don’t have to do this but if the case later comes to court , how you and the party taking legal action, have communicated with each other at this first stage , can be important.

If you've received a letter from Golden Eye International

If you’ve received a letter from Golden Eye International Limited, you should be aware that the High Court has imposed specific conditions on their demands. For example, Golden Eye have to send a warning letter to O2 or BE customers.

Risks of ignoring the warning letter

You can respond to the warning letter, saying whether you admit the claim, deny the claim or whether you need more information before making a full response.

It’s important that you are aware of the risks of ignoring the warning letter by not responding at all. The company threatening action could take steps to take legal action against you formally. Remember that the copyright owner has to provide proof that you have committed an offence of illegal filesharing. 

First, you should check that the letter is genuine:

  • it should only come from the copyright owner, the exclusive licensee, or solicitors acting on their behalf
  • it should refer to the work in question and the exact time and date when you are alleged to have infringed the copyright. If the copyright owners don’t provide this information, you should write to them asking them to provide it. If they can’t, they have no right to try to claim a settlement or damages from you for copyright infringement and the letter may be a scam
  • if it refers to the Digital Economy Act 2010, it is likely to be a scam.

If you're not sure why you've received the letter, check there is not another reason why you've been identified before you write to the copyright owner or exclusive licensee, for example, your IP address has been picked up incorrectly.

Next steps

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