ACS Law – No More Threatening Letters?

The BBC have reported on the recent court case in relation to ACS Law.

ACS Law was notorious for sending out letters that say “pay us £500 or we will take you to Court for infringing copyright by illegal downloading”. These letters were sent en masse and fairly indiscriminately.

The facts and case are all well summarised in the BBC report.

Here is my take:-

1. I always thought (and advised) the letters were a “shakedown”. That is, ACS had no intention of taking anyone to Court (because that would not have been economic). Rather they hoped to scare people (including innocent people) into paying (much more economic).  So I was slight surprised that any of these cases ended up in a Court. Perhaps the strategy was to get a few “wins” to increase the fear factor.

2. Its hard to have too much sympathy for Mr Crossley – but he does seem to have suffered quite a lot of abuse by the self appointed guardians of the Internet, and I never did care too much for any self appointed police force that operates without any rules (“Who watches the watchmen?”). 

3. Don’t get too excited about the “withdrawal of ACS Law” from this area. There already appears to be a successor lined up called  GCB Ltd (and it “smells” like it is run by the same people).

4. My initial take is you still shouldn’t pay up if you get one of these letters. Just file the letter, but don’t reply.  If you subsequently get served with official looking Court papers then consult a lawyer.  Even then, given how IP addressing works I think ACS/ will find it hard to make the relevant charges stick.

5. Judge Birss couldn’t be the fresh faced (but worringly smart) barrister I instructed on a software copyright infringement case in the mid 90s could it. Crikey it is! Does this mean I am old?

 Oh, and happy new year.

1 Response to “ACS Law – No More Threatening Letters?”

  1. 1 “Midnight Movies”, ACS Law and the ICO « TechBlog Trackback on May 16, 2011 at 8:43 am

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