ACS:Law have decided to stop chasing alleged file-sharers after a second court hearing into 26 cases was heard in front of Judge Birss. Andrew Crossley, and his firm ACS:Law had sent out thousands of letters demanding payment on behalf of their client MediaCat from alleged file-sharers or the firm threatened to take them to court. Last week, the law firm tried to have the cases thrown out, but the Judge, having taken note of peculiarities in the case, refused to allow this.
Crossley was present at the hearing in the morning, but in a statement read to the court in the afternoon session said that he had ceased all work in anti-piracy cases.
"I have ceased my work...I have been subject to criminal attack. My e-mails have been hacked. I have had death threats and bomb threats. It has caused immense hassle to me and my family."Andrew Crossley, ACS: Law
Around 11,000 letters had been sent out to the public demanding payments of around £500 with around 1/3rd disputing the claim and 2/5th's not responding. ACS:Law were taking a 65% share in any recouped revenue whilst the copyright owners received around 30%. Many claimed that ACS:Law had no intention to take people to court over this.
The hearing proceeded with MediaCat trying to get the cases dropped with an intention to re-issue them at a later date. The judge questioned why they wanted the cases dropped and considered banning MediaCat from sending further letters to alleged copyright infringers until these cases had been resolved. The case is further confused in that MediaCat are not the copyright owner but are a licensee. Judge Birss stated that MediaCat should "get its tackle in order" before proceeding with legal action.
Of equal interest was the fact that barristers acting on behalf of the accused questioned whether an IP address was enough to be able to identify the person who downloaded the unlawful content. This case could therefore have some significant consequences depending on the Judge's decision which is expected in a few days.