ACS:Law fails to take action against alleged file-sharers

10 December 2010

The internet, earlier today.

The saga of ACS:Law threatening internet users for unlawful file sharing has dragged out forever, with sweet little in the way of action, unless you count their cack-handed handling of personal data. Now they're attempting to make good on their threats and take people to court. The key word there is attempting, because the courts are having none of it.

According to TorrentFreak, at the end of last month ACS:Law asked a UK court to issue default judgments against eight individuals who didn't offer a defence. Instead, the judge considering the case picked it apart like a tiger at a finger buffet.

ACS:Law requested the judgments on behalf of their client, Media C.A.T, a company which “represents various owners or exclusive licensees of copyrighted works (“Rights Owners”) to monitor and protect their copyrighted works from acts of infringement.” So everything went pear-shaped straight away, because the claimant wasn't the rights holder.

Several of the individuals did offer a defence which meant ACS:Law had nowhere to go. In all the cases, ACS:Law didn't offer any evidence that any rights had been infringed by the individuals named - evidence is the sort of stuff that a judge finds handy when deciding people are guilty.

There was also the fact that nobody to date has being prosecuted for simply owning an internet connection that has been used for file-sharing. One of the major sticking points with all arguments about unlawful file-sharing, is that where a connection is unsecure, there's no way to prove who was involved. The judge stated that simply having an unsecure connection is not the same thing as "authorising" it to be used for unlawful activity.

The judge summed up the whole sorry mess by stating: “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.”

In other words, for all their blow and bluster, ACS:Law are roughly a billion miles from being a serious threat to anyone.


TOPICS:   Technology


  • Alexis
    Glad they got a decent county court judge - there are some shockingly incompetent individuals who preside over the small claims track out there.
  • Marky M.
    Len! Where are you in this hour of need? Len!
  • Matt
    Hahahaah! Automan! Classic!!
  • Len D.
    Marky Mark It seems that I am not needed here. I am glad the Judge was sensible! This has given "ACS:Law" such awful publicity as it just shows their complete legal incompetence. Len
  • Owen
    Sweet news now bring on the ICO
  • Marky M.
    @ Len ¡Alaba a Dios!
  • Brad
    This Judge sounds like a cool guy, I bet he sits in his big chair with sun glass's on and puts his feet on the desk. But my next question is what do the people who were scared into paying and did pay (not that it was an admission of guilt I might add, some people just dont like legal stuff and want it to just go away) Can they claim the money back now? You know just putting it out there........
  • Pedant
    @Brad "This was one case.... *puts on sunglasses* that re-solved itself" YEEEAAAAAAHHHH!
  • A B.
    [...] Ah, ACS:Law. You remember them? They’re the legal firm who tried to bully damages out of people suspected of illegal file-sharing, but without providing any proof. They’re also the same legal eagles who attempted to have judgments upheld against a group of these individuals, again without providing evidence, at which point the judge involved laughed them out of court. [...]
  • Judge B.
    [...] previously been accused of idiotic practices – ACS: Law owner Andrew Crossley asked to have guilty verdicts held against accused filesharers upheld without providing any evidence – a judge has now ruled that Crossley breached the solicitors code of conduct with his [...]

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