UK Lawyer Accused of “Bullying” Suspected Copyright Infringers

August 24, 2010 -

After accusing a member of a UK law firm of sending bullying letters to suspected (and often completely innocent) file sharers, a consumer magazine is proudly trumpeting news that a member of the firm will have to answer to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT).

Which? Magazine has been dogged in its pursuit of Andrew Crossley and ACS Law Solicitors, a firm that “specialises in assisting intellectual property rights holders exploit and enforce their rights globally.” The complaint filed by Which? with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) revolved around a May 2009 incident in which ACS Law allegedly engaged in “bullying” and “excessive” actions towards the public, sending out thousands of letters accusing people of illegally downloading and sharing copyrighted material over peer-to-peer networks.

According to Which?, the letters demanded that recipients pay £500 (approximately $773 U.S.) in damages or risk facing civil action. Among ACS Law’s clients are game makers Reality Pump and Topware Interactive.

A TechEye story adds additional details about ACS Law’s misdoings, which allegedly included asking “alleged copyright infringers to give up their computers for forensic testing as well as confirming details about their internet connection and ISPs.”

Deborah Prince, Which?’s Head of Legal, stated, “We welcome this decision because we’ve received so many complaints from consumers who believe they been treated appallingly by this law firm.”

Prince was, however, disappointed with the snail-like pace of the proceedings, adding, “If it is going to take another two years for this case to reach the SDT and then for the SDT to reach a decision, that means we’ll have waited close to four years without any professional body taking action in order for what we say is bullying behaviour to stop.”

Earlier this year, Crossley took to his firm’s website to deny allegations of misconduct. Among his claims:

I am accused of demanding payment in my initial letters of claim. This is not true. The recipient of the letter of claim is afforded the opportunity if they wish to close the matter off and avoid the issue continuing by entering into a compromise agreement to bring the matter to an end. They are under no compulsion or obligation to do this and the compromise agreement is an entirely voluntary process;


Comments

Re: UK Lawyer Accused of “Bullying” Suspected Copyright ...

Can't this behaviour be counted as extortion? Not unless they can supply conclusive evidence at the get-go that you are pirating.

Re: UK Lawyer Accused of “Bullying” Suspected Copyright ...

Should you ever be one of the unlucky people to get a letter like this, talk to a lawyer and see if it counts as harrassment or extortion. You may be able to counter-sue FOR GREAT JUSTICE

Re: UK Lawyer Accused of “Bullying” Suspected Copyright ...

It does sound like a street-level protection scheme doesn't it. "Pay me or I'll take you to court for something you didn't do"

Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

Re: UK Lawyer Accused of “Bullying” Suspected Copyright ...

I agree. Pretty nasty stuff. They are absolute scum.

Re: UK Lawyer Accused of “Bullying” Suspected Copyright ...

This isn't even close to him and his methods, you're only relating the two because they are both involved in the law.

The company sends out batches of letters to people in the hope that they pay out. I'm surprised that their methods for acquiring this data haven't come under intense scrutiny.

But once one of these firms go out of business they just open up again under a different name.

Re: UK Lawyer Accused of “Bullying” Suspected Copyright ...

Missed the reply button?

Actually once our beloved Disbarred Attorney did try something like this with his 'enemies'. Not just with money, but 'if you don't respond by x time you will be sued'. However: I was more or less just saying both are disgrace to the legal world. This activity is outright deceitful and despicable. That is why I said they took a page out of his book of conduct.

Either way though, I agree with you that it is surprising that it isn't under intense scrutiny.

Re: UK Lawyer Accused of “Bullying” Suspected Copyright ...

Hrmmmm almost seems they took a page out of Bat-Jack the Disbarred's book of how to act like a complete idiot in the legal world.

 
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ZippyDSMleeAren't most sexiest tropes jsut cheap/poor creativity more so than pure markaibility?11/21/2014 - 11:19am
Wonderkarpbut some people have been successfull in drawing attention too themselves to steer the conversation from ethics in journalism to women in gaming when that has never been the case.11/21/2014 - 11:17am
WonderkarpZachary, not really. the Quinn story was just more gas to a ready to burn fire. If it wasnt her, it would have been some other scandal just waiting to happen. Just look at Doritosgate. It was the 11 Dead Gamer articles that threw the match in the fire.11/21/2014 - 11:16am
PHX Corphttp://www.polygon.com/2014/11/21/7258775/ubisoft-suggests-assassins-creed-unity-players-remove-all-game Ubisoft suggests Assassin's Creed Unity players remove all game contacts to prevent crashes -Facepalm-11/21/2014 - 10:56am
E. Zachary KnightWonderkarp, That may not be an issue with you and the faction of gamergate you associate with, but it was and still is a strong influence on gamergate and its founding.11/21/2014 - 10:12am
NeenekoSales are abstract and spread across the group, but coworker perception of 'common sense wisdom' in design, that is what gets advancement or hirings.11/21/2014 - 10:02am
NeenekoThe one complaint I would have about the piece is it over reliance on the idea that markets and sales drive industry trends. While those are macro level factors, a larger one is the aggregate effect career advancement.11/21/2014 - 10:02am
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Wonderkarprest of the article seems good.11/21/2014 - 9:40am
Wonderkarpreading the article. I take offence to "girls and women embracing video games as a form of entertainment" as one of the issues. Its not. Certain people made it, but its never been an issue and many many people within GamerGate are Female11/21/2014 - 9:36am
NeenekoDid anyone else catch the GG flareup on "Crash Course: World History"? I am still trying to figure out if it was a raid or something.11/21/2014 - 9:36am
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NeenekoI would so play a kid/chibi version of AC.11/21/2014 - 9:29am
ZippyDSMleehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASmpwURXRaM#t=88 neat but it looks mindlessly online.... blah11/21/2014 - 9:24am
WonderkarpImagine AC as a Kids Show? "Dance your Cares Away, Worry for another dayyy, let the music play*bumbum* down in Assassins Creed!"11/21/2014 - 8:54am
Cheater87http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-11-20-ubisoft-wants-to-expand-assassins-creed-audience-to-kids11/21/2014 - 8:32am
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