Telefonica Spanish owner of O2, were approached by Golden Eye International with a request to disclose 9124 (NINE THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY FOUR) of its customers details. “Golden Eye International” (GEIL) is a trading name for “Ben Dover”, the Pornographers.
It is astonishing to think that this request came on the 20th September 2011, a FULL year after the ACS:LAW debacle unravelled. At a time when all other ISPs have stated they would not work with the “Speculative Invoicing” scheme, O2 alone has bucked the trend.
They did NOT fight for their customers, rather they SOLD them out
5: On 7 October 2011 Baker & McKenzie filed an acknowledgement of service on behalf of O2 stating that O2 did not intend to contest the claim.
6: On 18 November 2011 the parties were given notice of a disposal hearing before Chief Master Winegarten on 6 December 2011. On 28 November 2011 Baker & McKenzie wrote to the Chief Master to confirm that O2 did not oppose the making of an order in the terms submitted by Golden Eye, and therefore did not intend to attend the hearing. At the hearing on 6 December 2011 Mr Becker attended on behalf of the Claimants. The Chief Master raised a number of questions about the proposed order, which he asked Mr Becker to relay to Baker & McKenzie. Mr Becker duly did so, and on 14 December 2011 Baker & McKenzie wrote to the Chief Master answering his questions. In the letter Baker & McKenzie stated that, prior to issuing the Claim Form, Golden Eye had provided O2 with a draft of the proposed order and that Baker & McKenzie had made amendments to the draft. A number of amendments were identified and explained. The letter reiterated that O2 did not oppose the making of an order in that form. Having considered the letter, the Chief Master decided to refer the claim to a judge.
120: In consider the proportionality of the order sought, it seems to me that it is important to have regard to the precise terms of that order. The terms of the draft order having been negotiated between Golden Eye and Baker & McKenzie, it is in a form that O2 is content with. Thus it may be regarded as proportionate as between the Claimants and O2
32:1: 4(b) Within 7 days of the date of this Order, the First Applicant, on behalf of all the Applicants, shall pay into an escrow account to be held by the Respondent’s solicitors, Baker & McKenzie LLP, (the ‘Escrow Account’) a sum equal to £2.20 per IP address requested within the initial Batch together with £2500 costs to be held as security for the costs specified in paragraph 5 below.
They COULD have contested it, but CHOSE not to.
If YOU are a subscriber of O2, I think maybe you should consider moving to an ISP who values you as a customer more than the needs of a Pornographer who after all is merely following the example of ACS:LAW. Golden Eye International after all were first represented by Tilly Baily Irvine. It was only when TBI reacted to the negative publicity including being named in the House of Lords that they withdrew and GEIL continued.
Their will be another hearing after Easter regarding the GEIL hearing and how the letters will be composed, one thing is for sure GEIL did NOT get what they wanted.
This is not a new direction more an attempted refinement of the scheme that Davenport Lyons, ACS:LAW, Tilly Baily Irvine and Gallant Macmillan/Ministry of Sound have attempted and failed. It should be treated with the same contempt.
The contempt indeed that O2 have shown it’s customers.
Previous Posts RE Golden Eye International
It has been said the ACS:LAW “Speculative Invoicing” debacle wont be over till the Fat Lady sings, well, the date has now been set for the 16th January 2012.
In an email from the SDT, it says
I confirm that the substantive hearing in relation to Mr Crossley and ACS:Law has been listed for the week commencing January 16 2012.
This will be the THIRD time that Andrew Crossley has been hauled before the Tribunal, since he became a lawyer in 1991… Some record.
Whilst the US Copyright Group (Dunlap Grubb and Weaver) whom Crossley tried and failed to work with are now facing their own potential Waterloo, the previous Law Firm whom Crossley took the Shilling from (Davenport Lyons) has also just been found guilty at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, although they are of course appealing.
This news marks a remarkable fightback against these Law firms who seek to “….make up with the lost revenue by creating a revenue stream and monetizing the equivalent of an alternative distribution channel” or in plain English “Rip off innocent people”.
It is not know yet wether the SRA are still investigating the other two Law Firms that tried to emulate ACS:LAWs model, Tilly Baily Irvine, and Gallant Macmillan, however they seem to have been “Collaborating” with each other in the emails that ACS:LAW leaked.
I will update as soon as I have the answer.
As things stand, I would say to ALL those wrongly accused by these Law Firms to have a thoroughly wonderful Christmas and New Year
The hearing will take place on
August 18th 2011 (The date of the hearing is yet to be set thanks to those eagle eyed readers who spotted the mistake.)
The allegations are or contain the following
1) Allowed his independence to be compromised
2) Acted contrary to the best interests of his clients
3) Acted in a way that was likely to diminish the trust the public places in him or in the legal profession
4) Entered into arrangements to receive contingency fees for work done in prosecuting or defending contentious proceedings before the Courts of England and Wales except as permitted by statute or the common law
5) Acted where there was a conflict of interest in circumstances not permitted, in particular because there was a conflict with those of his clients
6) Used his position as a Solicitor to take or attempt to take unfair advantage of other persons being recipients of letters of claim either for his own benefit or for the benefit of his clients.
7) Acted without integrity in that he provided false information in statements made to the Court.
We at ACS:BORE are pleased with these charges and think they largely cover what we and many others have been saying for the last two years. We look forward to seeing the hearing in practice and feel sure that these allegation whilst unproven at the moment, will be thoroughly pursued with the full weight of the law.
This is not the first time that Andrew Crossley has appeared, this will be his THIRD time. One has to ask how many times can a Solicitor be pulled in before the Disciplinary Tribunal and be allowed to continue. We look forward to August and hope it will be a FULL vindication for all those innocent people affected by the actions of ACS:LAW and their cohorts.
Many of those who engaged with ACS:LAW in bringing this misery to the general public will NOT be tried, but for those who follow this Blog, we at least know who they are.
Thanks to Enigmax!
I sent the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) an email regarding their investigation into the ACS:LAW Data Leak.
The email contained a few simple questions.
1: Why is ACS:LAW/Andrew Crossley still registered at 20 Hanover Sq London as a Data Controller.
2: Do you think it is appropriate to offer Mr Crossley a 20% for early payment of his fine?
3: Do you think that Mr Crossley may have been in a better position to pay his fine had the ICO not taken so long to conclude it’s investigation?
The reply I got from the ICO after 14 days was this.
An obvious template response, I even got the ICO’s ACS:LAW FACT SHEET. And (wait for it) How to get compensation from ACS:LAW!!! (See Below)
Well of course my thinking was that if the ICO thought that it was only worth under 20p for everyone who has had their details leaked then imagine the Compo I would get from ACS:LAW I mean I might even get a penny a WHOLE Penny. Wow well it truly has got me thinking until of course I realised that even the cheapest postal stamp (36p) would be many times my compensation, and incidentally more than the ICO fined ACS:LAW per individual.
There has been talk by Christopher Graham the head of the ICO that he would have liked to have fined ACS:LAW £200,000 but of course that was proven to be merely a dose of hot air. (See question 2)
Mr Graham in fact has been in the news a few times since regarding other “Data protection issues” and again appears to be a mighty knight roaring about the rights and wrongs of the issue and how people should protect data, but he wields a foam sword.1 2
Maybe it is not his fault, maybe the ICO is handcuffed by legislation as Mr Graham seems to believe. One thing is sure, I and many others have been through too much disruption in our lives to leave this alone now, we have invested the most precious of commodities know to humans, that of TIME, we did not ask Mr Crossley and his ACS:LAW “clown asses” to invade our lives with their preposterous allegations.
A investigation into ACS:LAW by PCPRO this week was revealing and showed how Andrew Crossley had shown the ICO to be mugs. An ICO spokesperson had told ZDNET “The £1,000 reflects his financial condition. He did drive a Bentley at one point, but he doesn’t now.” Well guess what PCPRO saw when they turned up at Crossley house? The Bentley still on his drive.
We are now over two years into this now and those accused by Davenport Lyons into their third year. This whole situation has been a travesty of Justice, where the bad guys have been allowed to accuse thousands, leak their details and remain in a good position when they should be skulking back to the rock they crawled from.
There is still light though, on Tuesday this week (31st May) Dave Gore and Brian Miller the two Solicitors accused by the Solicitors Regulation Authority(SRA) will stand before their Disciplinary board (SDT) to answer for their actions in pursuing people they KNEW to be innocent. Andrew Crossleys date is also coming soon. There is real hope that partial justice may be done to these people.
It remains to be seen wether the SRA will act in a proper way and not in the way that the ICO has acted like a “Toothless Tiger”
Yesterday at the Patents Court Judge Birss gave ACS:LAW/Andrew Crossley such a kick up his ample backside that the ripples will be felt throughout the Legal Profession.
In one of the final hearings into the Court Cases that ACS:LAW were due to bring against 27 alleged infringers (Read Innocent people) the Judge has turned his attention to Wasted Costs, ie ACS:LAW/Andrew Crossley wasting everyone’s time with his ridiculous Business Plan of targeting innocent people for alleged filesharing
I have covered the previous parts of this case on my Blog and it has also been reported rather nicely on the Torrent Freak Website.
Some stand out moments from yesterday include, comments from Judge Birss
Agreements between ACS:LAW and Media C.A.T) In my judgment there is an apparently strong prima facie case that the Basic Agreements are improper and champertous
Assuming Mr Crossley has indeed made a loss so far (and I am not satisfied I have the whole picture relating to the finances of this exercise in any event) it does not alter the fact that the Basic Agreements are improper and unreasonable.
Mr Tritton (Ralli Barrister) submitted that the Basic Agreements were negligently drafted by ACS:Law and the negligence was not merely an unintended act of incompetence but was done for ACS:Law’s benefit
In my judgment the drafting of operative clause 1.1.1 in the Basic Agreements was prima facie negligent. Mr Parker(ACS:LAW Barrister) did not advance a case to deny that, he submitted there was no evidence Mr Crossley was responsible for the drafting of the Basic Agreements. I have already dealt with that above. Mr Crossley was plainly responsible.
(NPO Applications)This is yet another example of conduct by ACS:Law which, at best, can be described as amateurish and slipshod.
(On reports that SHOULD have been sent to ISPs) I will hear counsel as to whether I should direct ACS:Law and/or Media CAT to provide the report to the court and the defendants’ solicitors or explain why there is no report to provide.
In summary, consideration of the Norwich Pharmacal orders in this case reveals, prima facie, a series of errors and questionable conduct by ACS:Law….
(On the letter of claim) In my judgment the letter is plainly negligent and may well be improper.
(Negligent Correspondance) ACS:Law’s conduct was chaotic and lamentable. Documents which plainly should have been provided were not provided. This was not the behaviour of a solicitor advancing a normal piece of litigation.
( GCB Debacle) I have already found the GCB episode shows that ACS:Law knew perfectly well that Media CAT intended the letter writing campaign to be pressed ahead with despite the court being told that the Notices of Discontinuance were being used in order for the claimant to give the matter further consideration. That finding provides further support for my finding that there is a prima facie case of unreasonable conduct by ACS:Law in relation to the Notices.
In my judgment the combination of Mr Crossley’s revenue sharing arrangements and his service of the Notices of Discontinuance serves to illustrate the dangers of such a revenue sharing arrangement and has, prima facie, brought the legal profession into disrepute
(Crossley 3rd Witness Statement) In his third witness statement Mr Crossley set out draft accounts and in paragraph 7 he summarised his position. He stated that the business model has been neither profitable nor rewarding for him in any way at all, and that neither himself nor ACS:Law solicitors have funded these proceedings and have not benefited from them. He said the control which ACS:Law has had over these proceedings is only to the extent that any litigation solicitor would have over his litigation client’s affairs and no more. He continued “By contrast both the claimant and the various copyright owners that it was representing received considerable income from the business model without any cost to them.”
There is a good arguable case that ACS:Law / Mr Crossley will be liable for the costs of this case and I will add ACS:Law / Mr Crossley as a party to this action for that purpose.
Barrister Guy Tritton is already on record describing the ACS Law case as the “most appalling case” he’d seen in his career, stressing it was a unique incident.
The Court hearing will be reconvened on the 17th June just two weeks AFTER the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal meets to decide what THEY are going to do with Andrew Crossley.
In Crossleys own words “Exciting times”
The hearing regarding ACS:LAW and Media C.A.T has now been well covered. My own personal favourite moments from Judge Birss are at the foot of this article.
The reason for this post though is that it seems we have forgotten those OTHER people involved with all this over the last THREE years now.
I would like to show those who are only just reading up about all this, the bigger picture.
Davenport Lyons were the original Law firm (2007), who gave over a lot of their material and clients, to ACS:LAW (May 2009) including a number of the paralegals, amongst them Terence Tsang. Davenport Lyons were investigated by the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) and referred to the SDT (Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal)  
Tilly Bailey Irvine were up next (January 2010) and for a few months sent out letters defending Pornographic films, Although the films were legal in the sense they were certificated, the actual names of these films were VERY provocative and one could only imagine the distress caused to the Wife or indeed Husband who opened one of those letters.
Tilly Bailey Irvine withdrew citing “Adverse publicity” (April 2010)  not before being condemned in the House of Lords as “Latest entrants to the hall of infamy” and “An embarrassment to the creative industries” and also being accused by Wikipedia of “Vandalising” their entry.
In a wider attack by the Lords during the Digital Economy Bill, the actions of these “Piracy Chasers” was condemned as “Blackmail and a Scam”
Gallant Macmillan entered the fray defending The Ministry of Sound in July 2010. With the online community outraged at yet another “Speculative invoice” entering the scene, letters started being sent to the Chief Master who issued the NPO’s that forced ISP’s to hand over details of their subscribers.
The “Anonymous DDos attacks on ACS:LAW brought down their website in September 2010 and then ACS:LAW accidently released a HUGE email archive online which was quickly snatched and posted to torrent sites, The contents of the emails were explosive.
The huge data leak gave added impetus to the Courts handing out the NPOs and a hearing was adjourned . When it was reconvened BT/Plusnet refused to hand over their subscribers data and then it was learnt that BT had destroyed the records it held for Gallant Macmillan. Gallant Macmilan were subject to DDos attacks.
Gallant Macmillan withdrew after BT destroyed the data they requested after a delay in obtaining a “norwich pharmacal” order, they deemed they could not make enough money out of the scheme to make it worth their while.
ACS:LAW just kept ploughing on though, using Logistep first as a “Data monitor” then Digiprotect, and then an obscure firm called NG3Systems.
After the DDos attack that destroyed their web presence it was thought that that would be the end of them. They continued issuing letters however with Media C.A.T who represented Pornographers Sheptonhurst amongst others. ACS:LAW were investigated by the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) and referred to the SDT (Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal)
Forced into a corner of ”put up or shut up” after claims he would never take a case to court, Crossley attempted a Court hearing against some recipients who had NOT responded, what is known as a “Default Judgement” It failed on an epic scale.
Some of those accused actually sent in a response and a defence and the hearing ended in disarray as the Judge ordered a search for all other cases on the Court system. He found 27 of them and arranged for a Court hearing to work out what direction should be taken.
With the Community totally focused against them and watching every move they made, it became clear that ACS:LAW/Media C.A.T were desperate, to drop all the cases. The Judge refused adjourned the hearing and set a new date for January 2011 
A new letter went out from a company called GCB Ltd, the community smelt a rat and rightly so. According to the Judge it was an attempt by Crossley and Bowden to get the last bits of money they could.
For the rest read the judgment online. My favourite parts are below, and show what we knew all along, it was a Scam of epic proportions.
Media CAT and ACS:Law have a very real interest in avoiding public scrutiny of the cause of action because in parallel to the 26 court cases, a wholesale letter writing campaign is being conducted from which revenues are being generated. This letter writing exercise is founded on the threat of legal proceedings such as the claims before this court.
The information annexed to Mr Batstone’s letter refers to ACS:Law having “recovered” £1 Million. Whether that was right and even if so whether it was solely in relation to Media CAT or other file sharing cases I do not know. Simple arithmetic shows that the sums involved in the Media CAT exercise must be considerable. 10,000 letters for Media CAT claiming £495 each would still generate about £1 Million if 80% of the recipients refused to pay and only the 20% remainder did so. Note that ACS:Law’s interest is specifically mentioned in the previous paragraph because of course they receive 65% of the revenues from the letter writing exercise. In fact Media CAT’s financial interest is actually much less than that of ACS:Law. Whether it was intended to or not, I cannot imagine a system better designed to create disincentives to test the issues in court. Why take cases to court and test the assertions when one can just write more letters and collect payments from a proportion of the recipients?
Friday 09 April 2010 by Andrew J Crossley (My clients are pleased with the service I provide. I have conducted file sharing-related work for 11 months; to date I have recovered close to £1m for my clients.)
The GCB episode is damning in my judgment. This shows that Media CAT is a party who, while coming to court to discontinue, is at the very same time trying to ram home claims formulated on exactly the same basis away from the gaze of the court. That will not do. I find that these notices of discontinuance are indeed an abuse of the court’s process. The advantage of discontinuing as opposed to applying to amend is unwarranted in that it avoids judicial scrutiny of the underlying basis for wider campaign orchestrated by Media CAT and ACS:Law to generate revenue under the various agreements such as the Sheptonhurst agreement.
One might think a claimant (and their legal adviser) who was giving their claim serious further consideration before perhaps starting it afresh in a different form or dropping it altogether, would certainly not assert the very same claim against other people not (yet) before the court. The GCB episode shows that Mr Crossley’s client had every intention of doing precisely that and that ACS:Law were perfectly well aware of it. It is very difficult not to draw the inference that this was nothing more than a last ditch attempt to make some money from the letter writing exercise.
And maybe the most damning part with implications for the Digital Economy Bill, that an IP address alone; “cannot and does not purport to identify the individual who actually did anything.”
Just listened to the “BBC RADIO 5 Investigates” Program Good effort on their part. 30 minutes dedicated to this issue.
If a Man claims that he won’t burgle a shop, and has “Safeguards” to prevent himself from doing so, but then burgles the shop anyway, can you imagine a Judge saying, “Oh that’s ok, you had ‘safeguards’ so that you wouldn’t do it, the fact you HAVE done it is irrelevant”, can you see this happening? No of course not, but in what can only be described as a “parallel universe” ruling, the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has done just that.
BT who sent details of their Subscribers to ACS:LAW, didn’t even encrypt the Excel Documents. ACS:LAW had gone to Court with a list of IP addresses claiming that they belonged to “Copyright Infringers”, BT WITHOUT mounting ANY defence at Court to defend their Loyal subscribers, sent the documents to ACS:LAW with NO protection whatsoever.
The Documents contained the following information on over 400 Subscribers their names, Postal address, IP Address, Alleged date of infringement (Hit Date), Time (UK Date Time), and the Content Name.
On the Plusnet Forums, angry Subscribers wanted answers, they still do. A thread on the forum has attracted 130 pages, over 2000 replies and close to 100,000 views. They have STILL not got the answers regarding ACS:LAW. True Plusnet HAVE engaged with their subscribers on the forum, but they are stuck with having to deal with this issue via the BT Legal Team.
The ICO speaking to the Guardian said, The ICO closed its investigation into the apparent data breach earlier this month after ruling that BT was not liable for the mistake, which it said was committed by one of its employees. It added “Where it is found that the data controller has adequate policies and safeguards already in place, the usual and most appropriate outcome in these cases is disciplinary action taken by the employer”
Well we KNOW who that Employee is, his name is Prakash Mistry, he is the Senior Finance Manager at BT. Not sure about you, but I really don’t see much discipline happening there, do you? No ICO has acted shamefully in this, as the Solicitors Regulation Authority have in regards to ACS:LAW.
There seems NO justice for the man on the street in all of this and seems a classic example of a Corporation flouting the rules with impunity.
A letter from Prakash Mistry to ACS:LAW requesting a “Report”(A requirement of the NPO order RE Plusnet) into how many people had been taken to court, was met by an arrogant letter accusing those requesting the report on the forums were;
“… written by pro-piracy advocates with their own specific agenda” and “our client is taking away a method of obtaining their members copyrighted works without paying for them and that upsets those who have enjoyed free media this way”
These were outrageous slurs on their subscribers, met with SILENCE by BT.
These concerns of course can be dismissed, BT being a corporation (No soul to damn, no ass to kick) and ACS:LAW a one man band, whose Boss Andrew Crossley is now discredited in the eyes of many.
What can’t be dismissed is the LACK of protection afforded to those affected by the ICO, as with the SRA it seems they are toothless; ball-less, impotent shadows, paper tigers with all the bluster of action but with the movement and intent of a slug.
UK Information Commissioner Christopher Graham told the BBC he had new powers, to act with fines,(Regarding ACS:LAW) of up to £500,000, but much like the BT “Safeguards”, that only works IF IT IS USED! Can we really look forward to the ICO doing much better with the case against ACS:LAW? We wait and see, but not holding any breath.