As if the notorious anti-piracy lawsuits being wielded like weapons by the music industry weren't bad enough, we now have the same tactic being used by a much darker force – the porn barons.

One of the highest profile cases involves a British couple in their 60s who have been hit with a demand for the odd sum of £503 for allegedly downloading a gay porn film.

No knowledge

The legal action comes from the German copyright holders through London lawyers Davenport Lyons. The Hertfordshire recipients, unsurprisingly, say they have no knowledge of any piracy.

In fact, the anonymous couple told The Guardian: "We were offended by the title of the film. We don't do porn - straight or gay - and we can't do downloads. We have to ask our son even to do an iTunes purchase."

Money maker?

With 25,000 similar demands estimated to have been sent so far, there are fears that the scattergun approach is more about making money than protecting copyright.

Considering that lawyers like Davenport Lyons are seeking £500 for a single alleged offence, it's clear that legal fees make up a disproportionate chunk of the demands.

Who's who?

Moreover, dubious user-identification technology and open wireless networks mean no one can really be sure who's doing the file sharing.

In defence of its cases, Davenport Lyons merely states, "We allow ample opportunity for the recipient to respond, and if they have done nothing wrong they have no reason to be concerned."

Perhaps someone should tell them that old saying about the nature of mud and what happens when it's thrown.