I was not going to write this piece, however the temptation to write about the abject failure of my wannabe nemesis, proved to overwhelming. For the last 18 Months, Andrew Crossley and his Firm have held a cloak of fear over those using the Internet in the UK.
I will not go into great detail regarding his operations, suffice to say, if you are in the UK and you go online, you are at risk of a letter from Mr Crossley and his cronies, demanding money for some third rate game, music, or more probably some nasty sounding pornography that you MUST have shared, as ACS:LAW NEVER make mistakes. Ah hem
After thousands of letters, much distress from innocent recipients, and a MASSIVE betrayal of trust on the part of ACS:LAW who allowed their email database to be leaked online due to VERY poor security measures, all those who had received these nasty little letters wanted to see was a day in Court to prove they were innocent and the “Evidence” that ACS:LAW had was well shall we say crap..
That day came this week when under the advice of a QC, Crossley issued Court Proceedings against EIGHT people and attempted what is known as a Default Judgement. The cases were brought in the name of Crossleys friend and Business Acquaintance Lee Bowden and his company Media C.A.T.
The actual outcome of this case turned into a fiasco, much of what is expected of ACS:LAW, not really know for “Getting it right” as has been noted on some of the support forums set up to provide help for his “victims”. I would urge you to read Torrentfreaks account of proceedings here.
What is REALLY interesting however, is the RESPONSE from ACS:LAW. You would have thought after accusing so many people, and knowing that your Business and all the shenanigans surrounding it had been exposed to the point that you were viewed as LAUGHABLE , including a record amount of complaints received by the SRA(Solicitors Regulation Authority) Over 500 at the last count that were investigated and which resulted in his THIRD referral to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (Following the people who started this Speculative Invoicing Scheme in the first place), AND the fact that he allowed the email leak which is one of the biggest in UK history, AND that he has been derided in the House of Lords who declared his practice of sending “Threatening and bullying letters” as “Legal Blackmail”, Oh and not even being able to maintain a Website!
AND and…. Well you get the idea, he goes to Court seeking EIGHT default judgments, and LOSES, but not only that, only TWO of those were genuine in the sense that the others had either responded or their was no way of telling either way.
So what was the response from Andrew Crossley?
I quote in part from “The Lawyer”
Andrew Crossley, the sole partner at ACS:Law, told The Lawyer that the firm was working to “correct the technical issues” involved with the cases and would be resubmitting applications for judgment against the individuals.
He said the firm was “full steam ahead” in its efforts to litigate against file sharers and there were more cases in the pipeline.
Wow did you see that? My emphasis of course, but “FULL STEAM AHEAD”!! That sounds like the Captain of the Titanic, and like the Captain of the Titanic, he can’t see the icebergs ahead. The Icebergs for Crossley are many but the Information Commissioner and the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal WILL I am sure put an end to this miserable man and his campaign of misery.
Crossleys leaking of the email database has put so many people at risk of losing their jobs, their family’s, their reputation, yet repeated calls for Andrew Crossley to apologise for this has always resulted in SILENCE
For all those receiving a letter from ACS:LAW
ACS:LAW in one of their emails show SERIOUS doubts about their ability to prove the amount of damages they are seeking. This email has already been released by better blogs than this, HOWEVER in light of ACS:LAW sending out BRAND NEW LETTERS OF CLAIM I though it only right to highlight this scandal further.
In an email from Adam Glenn to Andrew Crossley on the 19th August 2010, Glenn expresses his deep reservations regarding the actual proving of an “infringer” making the “Works” available to ANYONE else.
As far as I am aware there areNO academic studies which have evaluated how many people the average participant in aP2P session shares a file with. To empirically establish that it would be necessary to eithermonitor the packet level inbound and outbound transmissions of an infringer (an action whichis against the law) or have permission from the participants to record such information.Without some level of direction on quantification it would be impossible, as Newzbin found,to determine the degree of sharing.
This statement alone should prove encouraging for those innocent people caught up in this scandal. ACS:LAW has been crowing about its bullet proof system for well over a year now, and yet here less than a month before the devastating release of their emails into the wild by either sheer incompetence or wilful sabotage by one of their employees sickened by their business practices. we have Adam Glenn raising questions about the very foundation upon which ACS:LAW had built it’s House of Cards.
Glenn goes on to dismiss Davenport Lyons infamous “Barwinska” case with a brutal assessment.
The Davenport Lyons model, in my opinion, failed to apply accepted and fundamentalmathematical principals in its calculation, including queuing theory, and would havedifficulty in passing an applied mathematics assessment if submitted in an “A level” statisticspaper.
And then a classic
Barwinska might make nice headline reading but it has, in my opinion, about as much legalforce as a Sun newspaper headline regarding the licentious behaviour of a D list celebrity
Remember ACS:LAW waving the Barwinska case around like a flag at the beginning of their campaign back in May 2009 ? how the Mainstream Media did NO investigating but took Davenport Lyons at its word ?, now ACS:LAW are laid bare, the Emperor really is wearing no clothes, he has no evidence, this is, as we always thought it was, a barely legal “Shakedown”.
One wonders if Glenn had in mind the “D List Celebrity” as opposed to the Z List clients that ACS:LAW represents. The pitiful stream of nobodies out to make a quick buck, whose so called “works” are so worthless you wouldn’t even find them in a bargain bin at the local market.
Or read it online here!
Well ACS:LAWs Andrew Crossley had his chance to defend his “Foolproof” method of identifying people file sharing and he blew it. Not only did he blow it but he has now taken his reputation even lower than anyone previously thought possible.
The One show had been putting together a segment relating to a number of complaints from innocent people who have been accused by Crossley and his cohorts (Logistep/Digirights/Digiprotect/NG3Systems)
ACS:LAW has been investigated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority(SRA) as have the previous Solicitors who attempted to execute this so called “Foolproof” method which amounts to nothing more than “Speculative Invoicing”.
It is a way for Solicitors to recoup money for rights owners whose products are usually so bad that no one has bought them, in the words of one of these “People” to “Generate alternative revenue streams”
On the “One Show” Program, it clearly showed there were problems with the way ACS:LAW go about their business. It highlighted Three innocent people, Lawdits Michael Coyle was damning in his assessment. Which? Legal Expert Deborah Prince also appeared
Andrew Crossley is standing now on the precipice, the Solicitors Regulation Authority(SRA) are due to conclude their investigation against him at the end of this month, the previous Solicitors who attempted this “Scheme” Davenport Lyons, have already been referred to the disciplinary tribunal at a date still to be set.
What was Andrew Crossleys reason for NOT appearing on the show? Believe it or not, it was some hogwash about “Not prejudicing the SRA investigation into my business”. Well I say that is a very cowardly reason. Of course one has to wonder wether he considers he HAS a reputation to save anymore.
This “Scheme” of course is NOT Andrew Crossleys. The “Speculative Invoicing Scheme” is merely a conduit that IF ACS:LAW are forced to stop will be picked up by some other chancers. Already Davenport Lyons have attempted and then ceased, as mentioned they are awaiting disciplinary measures. Tilly Bailey Irvine attempted it and then withdrew, and now of course we have another firm called Gallant Macmillan
Here are some GOOD reasons for anyone who has received a letter from these “People” to consider
Online coverage of the issue in all kinds of digital media has been huge
Tilly Bailey Irvine beat a hasty retreat from the practice following damage to their business as a result of their participation in the scheme – an investigation was started by the SRA following complaints – this has not yet concluded.
We await The SRAs conclusion and we also await a response from Andrew Crossley, although don’t hold your breath….
NO COURT CASES
ACS:LAW has not released ANY information past ambiguous statements regarding their “Willingness” to go to Court. They are now the Record Holder for MOST amount of complaints received by the Solicitor Regulation Authority.
Now a number of Plusnet Subscribers targeted by ACS:LAW have politely asked and continued to ask WHERE IS THE EVIDENCE? In regard to a section of the NPO order. Section 11 reads:
“Within six months of the date of disclosure referred to in paragraph 3 above, the Applicant shall provide to Respondents 1, 2, 5 and 6 a written report stating precisely from the relevant names disclosed (1) how many of those persons were sent letters of claim, and (2) against which persons legal proceedings were issued.”
Well so far NOTHING. ACS:LAW don’t care, what you think or what anyone else thinks. That is because they have NO REPUTATION to protect. ACS:LAW are Andrew Crossley….PERIOD, and Andrew Crossley has more than once left his “Sole Practice” to join other Solicitors (see this as well) 2, I would be VERY surprised if this will happen again, but then his Para-Legal Terence Tsang is now at Cramer Pelmont so these things can and do happen.
I look forward to seeing an ISP standing up against ACS:LAW and actually asking them “WHERE IS THE EVIDENCE” I am sure this is going to happen, but it will ONLY happen when the ISPs actually KNOW that we the subscribers to their service are DISGUSTED with the actions of ACS:LAW. (TALK TALK did this of course and have been vocal opponents of this Scheme). Andrew Crossley must NOT be allowed to walk away unpunished from this debacle.
The sheer arrogance of this man knows no bounds. he has already bragged that in 11 Months he has pulled in close to a MILLION Pounds
So Mr Crossley it is past 6 months, so WHERE is the Information that you were ORDERED to release showing HOW many people received a letter, and HOW many people you took to Court to recover the money you demanded?
I would wager that there is NONE that has been taken to Court. If this is the case then ALL the ISPs in this Country should recognise that your SCHEME is NOTHING to do with the Creative Industries but merely to line your own pockets and that of your friends.
This whole mess MUST be tidied up and soon. The woefully slow moves of the SRA seem to be coming to a conclusion and I can only hope that they will see fit to hand down a HEAVY punishment, although of course we still await the “Davenport 2″ Punishment.
You never did respond to my open letter did you Mr Crossley! I guess you were to busy counting your money, pried from the hands and mouths of frightened people who have been sold out by their ISPs.
Gallant MacMillan claim to have sent out 7000 letters regarding the “Ministry of Sound – The Annual” Album. They are demanding £250 – £300 for each alleged infringement
What Is slightly amusing is that part of the “Settlement” is that you are allowed to keep a copy for yourself?? As a recipient of one of the letters pointed out, “gee thanks, a piece of crap I had never heard of and I get to keep it for £300, thanks, as I dont have it will they send me a copy?”
Another point of interest is that although according to the letter “Ministry of Sound instructed a Software Company to indicate when the file was shared” it does NOT name the Company!!
If you have received a letter is DO NOT worry, YOU are NOT going to JAIL, this is a CIVIL matter, and the flush is pretty much busted on this scheme now, (almost, not quite yet though)
Write a letter of Denial, send it and leave it there. Don’t get involved with further correspondence, if you KNOW you did not do it and you KNOW you did not authorise someone else to do it, you have done NOTHING wrong.
IF you have committed the infringement seek legal advice as the actual Cash demand is disproportionate
If of course Gallant MacMillan are ANYTHING like ACS:LAW then I would hazard a guess that many many people have been targeted who are totally innocent. The Frontpage of their website states “Pure legal advice. No funny business” Hmmmm
This all comes Hot on the heels of ACS:LAW issuing letters of Claim for ”Cascada – Evacuate the Dancefloor” and demanding monies of £200 – £400 (I wonder if a Judge actually heard this awful mess of muzak he might actually LAUGH the claim out of Court on the understanding that NOONE could have such bad taste as to waste their time in the first place)
Read through this Blog and follow the links. Join people at http://www.slyck.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=66&t=44092&sid=d6a608d15ea55331dd44299fdc7010c9&start=9050
In a letter dated 8th February Bridget Prentice MP writes a letter of response to Lord Young of Northwood Green regarding amongst other things the conduct of ACS:LAW.
The letter has been published on the National Archives Website.
What is fascinating about the letter is that the Under Secretary expresses and acknowledges the distress that the actions of ACS:LAW are causing. She also states that whilst the Government itself cannot do anything about it the SRA can, and also alludes to the fact that the SRA can ONLY deal with disciplinary actions whereas Compensation claims must be sought through the CIVIL COURT. Just read that again, here is an extract
Now the REALLY cool bit for ALL those worrying about “how many letters to send”, “Should I reply”, “What should I do if I reply and get another letter”
Can you see it? “It is open to them to inform ACS:LAW that they are not liable and do NOT intend to reply to any further correspondence save to defend a claim should one be brought”
So NO MORE LETTER TENNIS/PING PONG. REPLY, DENY, DEFY!