ACS:Law gives up

A LAWYER who sent thousands of letters to alleged filesharers threatening to expose their porn downloading in court unless they paid him money has withdrawn from pursuing alleged illegal filesharers in the middle of a court case.

The patent court in London is hearing 27 cases brought by ACS:Law on behalf of its client Mediacat.

However in the middle of one case Andrew Crossley said he had ceased all such work, claiming that he had suffered criminal attacks and bomb threats.

“It has caused immense hassle to me and my family,” he added.

Surely it’s merely coincidence that the law firm Ralli, which represents some people who received letters from ACS:Law, has recently threatened to sue it for harassment.

In September ACS:Law was the victim of a cyber attack that exposed thousand of its e-mails online. He might still face a fine for that.

Although he has been criticised for running what might be viewed as an extortion scheme, Crossley didn’t address that issue directly but rather obliquely, telling the court that it had always been his intention to litigate and he would have done so if he had not decided to stop doing this sort of thing.

But things have not been going well for Crossley. The actions of ACS:Law this past year on behalf of Mediacat remain under investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Judge Birss also was unhappy at the way the litigation was going. He was miffed that granting permission to discontinue the cases was not a simple matter, due largely to the fact that the actual copyright holders were not in court.

He said that he had the impression that Crossley was trying to avoid any judicial scrutiny for his actions.

Judge Birss is considering banning Mediacat from sending out any more letters until the issues raised by the cases have been resolved.

Then there was the small matter of an outfit called GCB, which has also started sending out similar letters on behalf of Mediacat, including some to those who ACS:Law had dropped cases against.

The judge said he was keen to find out what the relationship was between GCB and ACS:Law.

Crossley said that he had no connection with GCB beyond the fact that the founders of the firm had previously been employed at ACS:Law.

According to the BBC, Judge Birss is expected to deliver his ruling on the case later in the week.