ACS: Law Targeted People Who Were “Clearly Not Guilty”

ACS: Law Targeted People Who Were “Clearly Not Guilty”

Former employee says she quit her job there because she felt the law firm was targeting people like “old ladies who never downloaded files” who likely didn’t “have security on their wireless connection.”

The row over ACS: Law and its controversial mass file-sharing lawsuit campaign continues with news that a former employee quit the job over moral concerns.

“What I gradually became aware of was that some people were clearly not guilty,” said the unnamed individual. “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.”

ACS: Law called it a “revolutionary business model” that “generates revenue for rights holders and effectively decreases copyright infringement in a measurable and sustainable way” unlike the “costly and ineffective” anti-piracy measures of other companies, but from the start it was quite clear to all that many innocent people would be targeted.

Less than a month into the campaign Which?, the largest consumer body in the UK, reported that more than 150 innocent people had received warning letters so far.

“My 78 year old father yesterday received a letter from ACS law demanding £500 for a porn file he is alleged to have downloaded,” read one letter. “He doesn’t even know what file sharing or bittorrent is so has certainly not done this himself or given anyone else permission to use his computer to do such a thing.”

ACS: Law’s Andrew Crossley defended the firms approach, saying that he was “unaware” of any innocent people being targeted and that the plan is necessary to “eradicate” illegal file-sharing.

He pointed to the “opportunity to enter into compromise right at the start to avoid having to deal with it” at trial by ponying up settlement fees range from between £300-500 ($497-828 USD).

The problem with it all, as its precursor, Davenport Lyons, found out, is that the it can only identify an IP address and not the actual person responsible for the infringement.

Which? complained to the country’s Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) that ACS Law was engaged in ‘bullying’ and ‘excessive’ conduct, and ultimately succeeded in having Crossley referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT).

Moreover, accusing old ladies of downloading hardcore porn and demanding payment with threat of trial is a recipe for disaster, and its nice to know that at least one ACS: Law employee found its tactics indefensible.

Stay tuned.

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