Many people have received a letter from either ACS:LAW or Gallant Macmillan. These letters seem to act like a dragnet in that they may well identify the occasional person who is accused of file sharing who actually did it, but far to many times the dragnet has included many who are wholly innocent of what they have been accused of.
The wording of the letters of ACS:LAW and Gallant Macmillan are VERY similar and they have also used the same “Monitoring” Software.
With the recent news that ACS:LAWs Andrew Crossley is following Davenport Lyons in being referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, a lot of people receiving a letter from Gallant Macmillan have started coming forward, claiming innocence.
With all this in mind ACS BORE has obtained a Proforma from the Solicitors Regulation Authority for people to fill out details of the letters they have received, as the SRA are looking to end this practice. This practise after all is very corrosive to the trust that people have in the Legal profession.
Here is a link to help you complete the form that the SRA require. It is a simple form that will not take long at all to fill out. PLEASE DO IT
Solicitors Regulation Authority
Tel: 0870 606 2555
Fax: 0207 320 5964
Here is a link to the previous appearances by Andrew Crossley at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal
This letter sending dragnet of “Speculative Invoicing will ONLY stop when the SRA has a loud and booming voice saying “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, THIS IS NOT JUSTICE” and one of the best ways we can provide that voice is by filling out the form and sending it to them. If YOU do nothing then dont expect ANYTHING to change
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
This Post is a response to the News Entry on the ACS:LAW website “Andrew Crossley responds to criticisms” I have tried to state the case in response to what Mr Crossley perceives as “Misconceptions” I feel I have tried to reflect many other people’s concerns who find themselves Falsely accused. Mr Crossleys post is in Black my response and reflections are in blue.
I have been operating the file sharing litigation aspect of my practice for a year now. I would like to counter five commonly held misconceptions about what my firm does:-
- It is said I accuse individuals of infringement of copyright in my initial letters. This is not true. I make an enquiry of the recipient of my initial letter following receipt of evidence that their internet connection was utilized for the purposes of infringing copyright of our clients (or their licensors’ copyright, as appropriate);
This is VERY disingenuous, your letters do indeed accuse people of Copyright Infringement. Your letter may not say that the person who receives the letter is guilty but you ARE saying that their connection was used. Now Mr Crossley the implication of this is VERY clear, you are implying that either the account holder of the ISP did the infringing or KNOWS who did. Let us not be silly here Mr Crossley, this is a VERY serious matter.
- It is suggested that I accuse people of downloading. This is not true. I state that the internet connection was used to make the copyrighted work we are concerned about available to others (in other words, uploading, not downloading);
This is true, I actually agree with your statement here. I must of course point out that your “Uploads” may be a small fragment of the file that is tagged with the name (This is of course being theoretical). There of course would be a VERY easy way of showing a person that they ARE responsible for uploading but that would take something called EVIDENCE. Your much touted Forensic Experts could I presume quite easily show HOW MUCH of a file has been uploaded or indeed how many times it has been done.
- I am accused of demanding payment in my initial letters of claim. This is not true. The recipient of the letter of claim is afforded the opportunity if they wish to close the matter off and avoid the issue continuing by entering into a compromise agreement to bring the matter to an end. They are under no compulsion or obligation to do this and the compromise agreement is an entirely voluntary process;
Again I would be charitable and say you don’t DEMAND exactly but you do make it quite clear that IF the recipient does NOT pay you the money that you WILL prosecute them in a Court and this could lead to VERY expensive costs. There is again a problem with your linguistics here Mr Crossley, for instance IF you had said “I DEMAND you pay me the money” then I would say you are right in saying that you don’t demand money, but of course by saying “If you don’t want to pay this money that is your choice BUT it will cost you thousands in a Court of (Civil) Law then you may not consider that a demand, but I and many many others certainly would consider it a demand, especially when you leave a sheet of paper for recipients to fill in their Credit card details etc
- It is said our data collected is inaccurate and cannot be relied on as sufficient evidence to pursue a claim. This is not true. The data suppliers we use have all separately and independently been assessed and monitored to determine their accuracy and integrity of data captured. Reports by independent experts are produced and made available to court in advance of our application for disclosure and on each occasion so far the court has felt able to grant our applications, with these reports in mind. The only known and cited example of data being “wrong’ is that of the Murdochs (a Davenport Lyons matter). In fact there was no error with the data captured, but an error by an ISP in giving the wrong name to the law firm;
Mr Crossley, we will NEVER know it seems whether your “Forensic Experts/Data Suppliers” are legitimate as you fail to actually provide ANY of the evidence that you claim you have. You “Independent Experts” are unknown as are their reports.
Regarding the Murdoch’s you claim that it was the fault of the ISP, and NOT your data collectors, well that is all very convenient but hardly trustworthy. Why not, because you say it was a Davenport Lyons case and you have stated before that your Company had NO CONNECTION wth ACS:LAW, apart from your erstwhile Paralegal telling an alleged infringer that he had indeed been drafted in from Davenport Lyons to work with you. Again disingenuous, it leaves your statements with the aftertaste of dishonesty.
In your latest letters you are so unsure of you forensic experts that you even fail to name them, without you actually ever releasing the evidence and independent experts reports we have no idea if these experts are independent at all. We know that one of your ex-employees bought a “Monitoring Application”, that is hardly independent if that is being used, and for all we know it could be!
It also worth mentioning that the judge has no technical knowledge and is realistically taking your word and the independent forensic experts’ statement as the truth, as far as is concerned it leaves you looking a tad underhand in your dealings with people.
- It is suggested that I never issue any claims. This is not true. It is fair and correct to say that I try to avoid litigation wherever possible and exhaust all other avenues falling short of litigation prior to proceedings being issued (open offers of settlement, extensive correspondence, CPR Part 36 offers, final warning letters and so on), but proceedings have been and will continue to be issued in appropriate cases. Litigation has always been the final option in the processes I invoke on behalf of my clients and the number and frequency of such actions is shortly to increase significantly. However, each case will be assessed on its individual merits before a decision is taken to issue proceedings.
Sorry Mr Crossley, I simply CANNOT believe this, your erstwhile Para Legal made a monumental cockup when engaging in conversation with a person who was concerned about their friend receiving one of your letters. Your Ex Para Legal bragged that he liked being in court and looked forward to it IF the person had the finances to take you on.
Why I simply CANNOT believe you though is that it has now been a YEAR and I have heard of NO case that you have taken to court. This is simply incredible, I know you have bragged about making nearly a Million Pounds out of your “Scheme” and I truly believe that the ONLY way you can salvage your tattered and sullied reputation is either by Dropping this WHOLE scheme and apologising, OR actually starting litigation and GOING TO COURT where ALL the evidence e can be heard.
You say that proceedings have been launched, yet why no news regarding this? You say that litigation will increase significantly but WHERE IS IT?
Let people go to court and lose this millstone around their neck have you ANY idea of how upsetting this all this?
You have ONLY issued (at most) a handful of claims against people whom fall into one of these 3 categories below, however NONE of these cases have ever reached Court.
a) Have admitted guilt originally then retracted their statement and refused to pay
b) Have admitted guilt but have not paid
c) That you have found potentially incriminating posts on internet forums relating to the account holder.
I also believe you will NEVER issue a claim to any individual whom does not fall into the above 3 categories because you are NOT confident that your evidence would stand up in court , and with good reason, it would not.
I would like you to respond to this Mr Crossley, I feel that this would be of interest to MANY people who have been falsely accused, and you could by answering the points start to salvage the battering to your reputation that I feel maybe almost irreparable.
I believe that the rejection of your methods by amongst others Which?, The BPI, members of The House of Lords and the House of Commons, The Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) amongst many others DEMANDS a more verbose explanation of your methods and reasoning.