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BBC investigation uncovers goings on at ACS:Law

by Sarah Griffiths on 15 February 2011, 10:06

Tags: General Business

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qa4lw

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ACS: Flaw

A whistleblower from inside ACS:Law, the now defunct contentious pirate-hunting law firm, has told a BBC investigation that not all of the people sent a threatening letter were known to be guilty.

Thousands of people in the UK were sent letters from ACS:Law telling them to pay up or face legal action for their suspected illegal downloading and file sharing activities, based on shaky evidence.

Recently, none of the cases stuck in court and bizarre goings on saw the firm try and pull case, perhaps worried there was insufficient evidence of illegal file sharing. Since then ACS:Law and its client MediaCAT ,shut down.

According to the Beeb, a Judge last week estimated that the company could have made a staggering £1m from its letter-writing scheme, despite the fact that many people who paid up were probably innocent.

One whistle blower and former ACS:Law employee told a BBC 5 Live Investigates show she was so worried about the company's actions, she quit her job.

She reportedly said: "What I gradually became aware of was that some people were clearly not guilty. Some of them were, for instance, old ladies who never downloaded files - they just didn't have security on their wireless connection. And some of the people ringing up came from pretty bad circumstances," she reportedly added.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, ACS:Law's founder Andrew Crossley has not commented on the claims

Judge Birss, criticisied ACS:Law's letter writing scheme in last week's court case and reportedly said: "Some people will be tempted to pay, regardless of whether they think they have actually done anything, simply because of the desire to avoid embarrassment and publicity given that the allegation is about pornography. Others may take the view that it all looks and sounds very official, and rather than conduct a legal fight they cannot afford, they will pay £495."



HEXUS Forums :: 26 Comments

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Leagally threatening people is one thing… but THIS…… if true…. Well, whoever is the practicing lawyer/soliciter should have their license revoked. Very underhand.
Tattysnuc
Leagally threatening people is one thing… but THIS…… if true…. Well, whoever is the practicing lawyer/soliciter should have their license revoked. Very underhand.

There is a word for this practice, that word is extortion. Extortion carries jail time. Andrew Crossley should be disbarred and jailed. That is all.
Former employee said: "Some people will be tempted to pay, regardless of whether they think they have actually done anything, simply because of the desire to avoid embarrassment.

Judge reportedly said: "Some people will be tempted to pay, regardless of whether they think they have actually done anything, simply because of the desire to avoid embarrassment


A typo, a coincidence that they started with identical statements or did they have the same script?
:undecided
It has been pretty obvious for some time, that ACS:Law has been very happy to accuse innocent people of illegally downloading porn. £500 in exchange for a letter is pretty good going.
Actually there is a legal reason for it, morally it might well be questionable but legally I seem to remember that if someone accesses your wireless to commit an illegal you can be held jointly accountable.
Same applies to if you use the internet at work to do something illegal, your work place will share a joint legal responsibility.

EDIT it also shows they don't care about the actual issues of copyright and piracy just about making money.