ACS Law loses file sharing cases

A law firm that wrote letters to alleged filesharers, reportedly threatening to take them to court if they did not pay a fine, has had all of its cases against them thrown out.

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A law firm that wrote letters to alleged filesharers, reportedly threatening to take them to court if they did not pay a fine, has had all of its cases against them thrown out.

ACS Law, whose actions were widely reported after its database of alleged porn and music filesharers appeared on its website, lost the eight cases it filed.

The company launched the court bids in November. It attempted to gain a default judgement, normally applied to defendants who have failed to respond to a lawsuit.

But the judge last week rejected the cases in the Patents County Court, saying it was not clear some defendants had even been notified of the lawsuits. Those who knew about it defended themselves, so a default judgement was not valid for them either.

Additionally, ACS Law used a ‘front’ business to represent the owners of the copyrighted works. The judge said this was not possible in UK courts.

Judge Birss said: “The claimant, Media CAT, is not the rights holder of the works in question...A copyright case can only be brought by the owner of a copyright or exclusive licensee.”

The case was also lost on other factors. ACS Law had attempted to blame users who had not secured their routers, claiming the devices had allegedly been used by others to fileshare. The judge said there was no precedent in copyright law that people could be penalised for this.

Meanwhile, an investigation by the Information Commissioner continues into ACS Law's data breach. The firm would face a fine of up to £500,000 if found guilty.

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