Recipients of ACS Law copyright infringement letters urged to come forward
NATIONAL law firm Ralli says recipients of file sharing bullying letters and demands for money may be entitled to compensation for harassment.
Ralli’s harassment law team is already providing advice on potential claims arising from the letters and is urging others to come forward so they can be included in a group action they are pursuing.
In May 2009 ‘anti-piracy’ lawyer Andrew Crossley from ACS Law Solicitors (ACS Law) began sending large numbers of letters to people accusing them of illegally downloading and sharing copyright protected material.
The letters demanded that the recipients pay compensation, typically £500, or be taken to court.
The consumer group Which reports that Crossley has been ordered to appear before a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal accused of ‘bullying’ and ‘excessive’ conduct after Which reported him having received dozens of complaints from worried members of the public.
Michael Forrester, of Ralli’s Intellectual Property and Harassment Law teams explains:
“The legal basis for the claims being made against these alleged file sharers involves complex legal and technical principles. These are extremely difficult for a lay person to understand and can often mean that an innocent person is being pursued.
“We are advising people who have received these letters but have never even heard of the media they are supposed to have obtained. For example, a middle aged gentleman who has been accused of obtaining dance music when he has no idea what the genre is, let alone the artist!
“It can be incredibly upsetting for people to receive such letters and they may well have a claim for harassment against ACS Law so I am urging them to come forward.”
A similar lawsuit is currently being brought in the USA involving several filmmakers and over 14,000 individuals where settlements of between $1,500 and £2,500 are being discussed. At a preliminary hearing of the American case, the Judge criticised the letter sent to alleged infringers, and ordered that new letters be drawn up.