Wednesday, 29 September 2010

ACS:Law Protection Racket Exposed

The UK information commissioner is investigating the leak of thousands of emails containing personal information from the controversial solicitors' firm ACS:Law after the company's website came under sustained attack by online activists.

The methods used by ACS:Law for pursuing alleged file sharers have been criticised by consumer watchdogs and industry bodies including the British Phonographic Industry. Last month the firm was referred to a disciplinary tribunal after a long-running probe by the Solicitors Regulation Authority into its tactics in the pursuit of alleged file sharers. The company has been criticised for sending out thousands of letters to people it suspects of downloading illegal content, demanding payment of a fine to settle the case. Many who received the letters, which seem to have been based on the internet "IP address" – rather than the physical address – of the recipient have protested that they are innocent, and though hundreds of people are believed to have paid the fines claimed, the Guardian has not found any confirmed reports of any cases proceeding to trial, where ACS:Law's methods and evidence would have been tested.

The firm is believed to have been acting for DigiProtect, a German firm which works on behalf of rights-holders where it thinks their copyright has been infringed. ACS:Law appeared to be sending out letters demanding payment.

Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, which champions internet users' rights, said: "Looking at the arguments in the emails, it's clear that IP addresses are unlikely to 'prove' copyright infringement and therefore avoid actual court cases."

Consumer watchdog Which? said it has so far received about 250 complaints from people contacted by ACS:Law, up from 150 complaints by the end of January.



ACS:LAW have been dealt a catastrophic blow to their “Speculative Invoicing” Business Model. A staggering amount of emails both internal and external have been released onto the Web for all to see. The leak is allegedto be from a DDos carried out by 4Chan

The leak confirms lots of things that we only thought before but that is for a later post. What is of interest here is the SRA Report and the response from Andrew Crossley. The Report includes a breakdown of money he has taken so far.


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