By: MarkJ - 4 October, 2010 (12:25 PM)
cramer pelmont uk isp file sharing p2p piracyA London based law firm, Cramer Pelmont Solicitors, has threatened to pick up where ACS:Law left off by pursuing broadband ISP customers whom it suspects of being involved with "illegal" copyright p2p file sharing activity.

However the firm, which was first established in 1975 by Lewis S.Lane and soon acquired a presence in commercial and residential property law, claims that in moving into the intellectual property enforcement market it will not be employing the same "bullying" volume litigation model as used by controversial law firms ACS:Law or Davenport Lyons.

ACS:Law and Davenport Lyons have since been referred by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) to a disciplinary tribunal for the nasty "settlement" letters they sent to suspects which, despite lacking reliable hard evidence, still proceeded to demand hundreds of pounds from sometimes innocent individuals (here and here).

Dr Alex Brassley, a partner with Cramer Pelmont, told Which? Magazine:

"We are working with the film and music industry (strictly non-adult) in the development of an appropriate response to the Digital Economy Act, but I can assure you we have no intentions of taking any business model ideas from ACS Law."

Such firms typically track alleged piracy by monitoring the Internet Protocol ( IP ) addresses of internet users, which is assigned to your computer each time you connect to the internet and made public on P2P networks. This is not an effective way of determining a computer user’s true identity and innocent people have often been incorrectly targeted.

An IP can easily be faked, hijacked, redirected and generally abused or used in ways that the systems employed by such trackers cannot detect. Furthermore the owner of a particular connection/IP, such as in case of a hotel, business or shared public Wi-Fi network (secure or not), is frequently not the individual responsible for the actual act itself.

It's understood that Cramer Pelmont has also hired Terence Tsang into a trainee solicitor position at the firm. Tsang has had connections to several other P2P litigation related law firms, including ACS:Law and Davenport Lyons.

The newly focused firm claims that it will not be sending out any letters of claim or making demands for payment. This suggests that they are likely to have a more administrative role in pursuing the most prevalent unlawful file sharers by abusing using the Digital Economy Act 2010 (DEA) to their advantage.

The DEA allows customer details to be released by UK ISPs to copyright owners, seemingly without much defence, when unlawful P2P file sharing is detected. Last week ACS:Law awoke to a nightmare after its private email records were leaked on to the internet, exposing the abuse of settlement letter practices and many other interesting things (here, here and here).

UPDATE 6th October 2010

An update on the law firms website states that they have stopped working on the DEA.

Cramer Pelmont Update

"Cramer Pelmont has ceased its interest in working with clients in the area of the Digital Economy Act. It continues to work on all other aspects of [Intellectual Property]."

The profile for Terence Tsang is also MIA.
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