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By: MarkJ - 27 January, 2010 (9:00 AM)
p2p lawConsumer magazine Which? has once again accused ACS:Law solicitors of wrongfully issuing 150 customers of UK broadband ISPs with copyright infringement letters for "suspected" illegal downloading activity. Those targeted are frightened into paying a settlement fee of between £300-£500 or face the threat of court action.

The move follows a November 2009 ruling by the Royal Courts of Justice (here), which granted ACS:Law approval to demand the private personal details for thousands of customers from UK ISPs. The people concerned are suspected of involvement with the illegal file sharing (P2P) of approximately 291 movie titles.

Now Which? claims that a good number of consumers receiving such letters have again been wrongly targeted and include some elderly people who do not to even appear to know what a BitTorrent P2P file sharing service is. ACS:Law claims that "the information we get is completely accurate," though it was forced to drop an unknown number of cases prior to Christmas.

Last December's ACS:Law Statement:

"We have been reviewing all cases which are currently open, and a good number of these cases have been dropped, where we do not either consider litigation to be a viable option or to be beneficial to our clients. A letter has been sent out today informing those involved of this, and explaining that they now owe our client’s a duty of care to ensure this type of activity does not happen again."

ACS:Law tracks abuse by monitoring the Internet Protocol ( IP ) address of online users, which is assigned to your computer each time you go online. However this is not an effective way of determining a computer user’s true identity. IP’s can easily be faked, hijacked, redirected and generally abused and used in ways that the systems employed by such trackers cannot detect.

It's noted that 25,000 of the 30,000 IP addresses that had been collected by late 2009 belonged to BT users. ACS: Law are currently also under investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Those receiving such a letter would do well to read THIS ARTICLE on TorrentFreak.

During June 2009 the UK Internet Service Providers Association ( ISPA ) said that they were "not confident in [ACS:Law's] ability to identify [ILLEGAL] users", a position matched by Which?
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