The 'speculative invoicing' system that ACS:Law ran seems to have come to an end now, and with none of the cases ever going to full trial. ACS:Law sent letters to alleged file shares on the behalf of copyright holders requesting payment of several hundred pounds to avoid the case going to court. At the time the letters were being sent there was lots of questions about how accurate the data used was, and how some file sharing systems actually tainted data making it feasible that even with IP address information it was possible people had not shared the alleged content.
Fast forward back to early 2012, and following a complaint, the Solicitor's Regulatory Authority has finally ruled in a case, with the result that Andrew Crossley, the previous sole solicitor at ACS:Law has been banned from practising law for two years and fined £76,326.55. Mr Crossley was previously declared bankrupt in June 2011, which resulted in a Information Commissioner imposed fine being reduced from £200,000 to just £800 due to an affidavit pleading limited financial means.
This situation has clouded the whole copyright debate in the UK, particularly as with lot of the material that was alleged shared, the copyright holder was not the original content producer, but the rights to copyright had been purchased.
Broadband itself has disrupted the status quo of media distribution that started with the mass printing of the written word, which rendered rooms full cf copy scribes redundant, alas those firms that are attempting to exist on profits from back catalogues are likely to go the same way. Those firms likely to thrive and prosper are those that produce new, exciting and innovative material, i.e. something people are willing to spend money on to stimulate their senses, and those firms also ensure it is available across a wide range of media outlets.