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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E. Zachary KnightZippy, So you can't find even one?08/29/2014 - 1:04pm
ZippyDSMleeAndrew Eisen:Right because shes prefect and never exaggerates... *rolls eyes*08/29/2014 - 12:53pm
SleakerAnd honestly, nearly all of the games she references, or images she depicts I've always cringed at and wondered why they were included in games to begin with, from pinups through explicit sexual depictions or direct abuse. I think it's cheap storytelling.08/29/2014 - 12:35pm
Sleaker@AE - aren't most people fundamentally misunderstanding her at this point? haha.. On a related note I think a lot of the backlash is coming from males that think she is telling them their 'Generic Male Fantasy' is bad and wrong.08/29/2014 - 12:33pm
Andrew EisenAnd no, I don't think the female community would be upset over the performance of a case study in and of itself. Possibly the mostivations behind such a study, the methodology or conclusions but not the mere idea of a case study.08/29/2014 - 12:29pm
Andrew EisenAmusingly, these videos aren't saying you can't/shouldn't use tropes or that sexual representations are inherently problematic so those are very silly things to have a problem with and indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of the series.08/29/2014 - 12:29pm
SleakerDo you think the female community would get extremely angry over a male doing a case study on the negative impact of sex-novels and their unrealistic depiction of males and how widespread they are in american culture?08/29/2014 - 12:25pm
SleakerThe other thing that people might find problematic is that they see no problem with sexual representations of females (or males) in games. And realistically, why is there anything wrong with sexual representations in fiction?08/29/2014 - 12:24pm
SleakerTo even discuss or bring up these issues at a cultural level to begin with. Going straight for games to many probably feels like a huge overstepping given that it's interactive story in many cases, and when you're telling a story why can't you use tropes.08/29/2014 - 12:21pm
SleakerI think a large part of the controversy stems from the idea that games aren't culture setters, but culture reactors, and simply depict what is already in culture. So people don't care that games use tropes or are blind to them because we've failed ...08/29/2014 - 12:20pm
AvalongodBesides, what better way to make her point for her than to respond to her opinion by behaving like a misogynistic asshole. Sure, it may be a troll account, but that doesn't make it "ok"08/29/2014 - 12:19pm
AvalongodWhether Sarkeesian is "right" or "wrong" is not relevant, neither she nor any other woman should have to expect that her opinion will be met with death threats or even just sexist language.08/29/2014 - 12:18pm
Andrew EisenOh, may as well. Zip, I challenge you to cite three specific examples from the TvW videos (use direct quotes and time stamps) and explain how/why they ring hollow or are over exaggerated.08/29/2014 - 11:56am
Andrew EisenZip - Bullies on both sides? What both sides? And of course bullies are worse than people who aren't bullies.08/29/2014 - 11:23am
Neeneko(2) yes, male tropes also have problems and gender studies looks at those too. But this highlights a privilage problem, the idea that if male issues are not brought up too female issues should not be discussed.08/29/2014 - 10:42am
Neeneko@ZippyDSMlee - jumping back (1) one can acknowledge systemic problems without requiring every male be a Neanderthal.08/29/2014 - 10:42am
MaskedPixelanteI don't like the new 3DS, mostly because it means there's a good chance future 3DS games won't be compatible with the current models.08/29/2014 - 9:30am
ConsterI don't get why Amazon decided to buy this "Twitch" fellow, really. It took him ages to beat Pokemon.08/29/2014 - 8:31am
ZippyDSMleeIt goes without saying that we need to et rid of the bullies on both sides that are far worse than Sarkeesian or Quin will ever be.08/29/2014 - 8:24am
ZippyDSMleeI'm talking more about the genreal movement and how silly it is, as for Sarkeesian half of what she is says rings hollw while the other half tend to be over exsagerated.08/29/2014 - 8:22am
 

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