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ACS Law UK Loses Illegal Broadband ISP File Sharing Case against 8 Suspects

Posted: 11th Dec, 2010 By: MarkJ
p2p lawA notorious UK solicitors firm, ACS:Law (Andrew Crossley), which specialises in harassing broadband ISP customers whom it believes to have been involved with "illegal" (unlawful) copyright P2P file sharing activity, has lost an attempted case to sue 8 such individuals for damages in the London Patents County Court.

The firm, which is currently awaiting a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) for its "bullying" actions, normally makes its money by adopting the tactic of "speculative invoicing".

This involves threatening ISP customers with letters accusing them of copyright infringement and then demanding hundreds of pounds in settlement fees. Court action is threatened against those who don't comply. However the evidence is often extremely thin and it's usually too costly to take anybody to court.

In this case the firm, alongside Media C.A.T Limited (Rights Holders), attempted to make a point by asking a court to issue Default Judgments against eight individuals whom had apparently offered no defence. It should have been an easy ride for ACS:Law but the judge thought better of it and ultimately denied all of their requests.

Judge Birss QC said (TorrentFreak):

"In two cases it appears the defendant is in default, in three others there is simply no evidence proceedings have been served and I refuse to find that they have been and in the final three cases the defendant has responded to the claim, filed a defence and is not in default at all.

I should end by recording that I am not sorry to have reached the conclusion I have in refusing all the requests for default judgment. In all these circumstances, a default judgment arrived at without notice by means of an essentially administrative procedure, even one restricted to a financial claim, seems to me to be capable of working real injustice."

Today ACS:Law's website is still offline after September 2010's DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack took it down. The firms dirty laundry was later strewn all over the internet after an attempt to restore the website resulted in the negligent leaking of their personal email communications (here and here). The rest, as they say, is history.
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