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TBI drops file sharing claim against Which? reader

Law firm apologises for distress caused by action

The scales of justice held up

Tilly, Bailey & Irvine (TBI) has dropped an illegal file-sharing claim against a Which? Computing reader and has apologised for the distress caused by its actions.

In a letter to our reader dated April 20th, TBI wrote: ‘We understand the concerns you have raised. Please note that it was never our client’s intention or the intention of TBI in its communications to bully or harass you and we apologise for any distress caused.

‘In light of the recent communications, our client has confirmed that it will take no further action in this matter in respect of the acts complained of in our letter of 12 February 2010.’


Earlier this year, a Which? Computing reader informed us that she was in distress after receiving a letter from TBI accusing her of illegally distributing its client’s (Golden Eye (International) Ltd) pornographic film over the internet. The letter demanded that she pay £700 in damages and costs within 14 days for face the prospect of legal action.

Uncertain how to refute the allegations and feeling bullied and intimidated by TBI, she turned to us for help. She told us that despite informing TBI by phone and in writing that she was on holiday with her family at the time of the alleged infringement, TBI was refusing to consider her innocence.

Been wrongly accused of illegal file-sharing? See our advice on how to respond

Which? decided to intervene on her behalf, and after an exchange of letters and more information TBI decided to drop the claim. Our reader expressed relief when informed of TBI’s decision. ‘TBI has apologised for the distress it has caused me and for that I am thankful,’ she said.

‘However, it has not admitted that it was wrong to send out its letter in the first place, but at this point I just don’t care, as long as it leaves me alone. I just want my peace of mind back and to be able to relax again.

She added: ‘I very much appreciate Which’s intervention on my behalf. I’ve had my eyes opened in so many ways since February, especially how some law firm’s are allowed to operate in a quasi legal and intimidating manner. I’m just glad that the whole thing’s over.’

The editor’s view

Sarah Kidner, Which? Computing’s editor, said: ‘This is a fantastic outcome. We were pleased when TBI wrote to the SRA saying it would stop sending out letters of claim after April 1. However, we were concerned that it might decide to aggressively pursue claims it had sent out prior to this time.

‘TBI is on record as saying it would take no further action against alleged illegal file sharers if they could satisfy it that on the balance of probability that they were not responsible for the copyright infringement. In this case, TBI has stuck to its commitment, and we hope it will continue to do so when others who have been wrongly-accused try to achieve similar outcomes.’

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