ACS:Law is back! Shockingly, their website is back online and people are reporting new letters. It seems like a strange choice by our favourite solicitor to stay quiet for several weeks then try to assert a comeback. Without a fresh source of names and addresses they are on borrowed time and disappearing for weeks hardly seems like the best way through it.
ACSBore has a scan of a new letter demanding £1200, previously I thought they only went up to £500. Is this a price increase as a response to their increasingly dire situation? If so, the price seems to have nothing to do with reclaiming actual damages incurred as a result of the recipient’s alleged copyright infringement and everything to do with propping up Andrew Crossley’s business (if you can call it that). Also £1200 is just silly. You might have been on to something with £500, but £1200 is not realistic from the start. People aren’t going to say “well I wasn’t going to pay the £500 but now he’s bumped it up to £1200 I’m quite tempted”. Duh. Plus the old blackmail route isn’t quite so effective anymore … it doesn’t work when you’ve already publicly released all the details.
Here’s a good post from Slyck.com on an apparent contradiction between Crossley’s official statement to the judge when asking for a court order and Crossley’s subsequent statement to the BBC regarding what the data he requests mean. I haven’t read the email mentioned [can’t find it, the mail client I am using does not make it easy to search], but let’s assume it exists and is quoted accurately:
The impression given, even if incorrect, is that:
(a) If it is presented to the Chief Master of the Chancery Division of the High Court, then it is likely that the subscriber is the person that has copied the work and is uploading it from their computer through the connection in question, and the Chief Master finds that there is a prima facie case against the subscriber for the purposes of a NPO application, but
(b) if the information somehow leaks onto the internet where the same witness is potentially facing huge claims or financial penalties for which he might be personally liable, then the information is suddenly demoted in status to amounting to no claim at all that the subscriber has done anything.
In short, Crossley got the court order [to disclose names and addresses] by claiming that the data he was requesting identified users who are likely guilty of copyright infringement. Then he told the BBC that he doesn’t claim the users identified were likely guilty of copyright infringement, so he got the data under false pretences. As I said, I can’t find this email, but it seems implicit that he must have said something along these lines anyway, else he shouldn’t have got the court order. Does perjury extend to civil cases?
It’s ridiculous that this firm is still going.