Law firm ACS:Law drops illegal file sharing cases
Judge expresses astonishment at attempt to drop legal action
By Carrie-Ann Skinner | PC Advisor | Published: 13:15, 20 January 2011
ACS:Law appears to have dropped 27 cases of legal action against Brits accused of illegally downloading files.
The law firm, working on behalf of copyright firm MediaCAT, had issued a number of 'bullying' letters to web users it suspected of illegal filesharing. The recipients were ordered to pay compensation or face legal action.
All 27 web users facing legal action received letters last week claiming the cases were being dropped and the legal action would not take place. However, this move initially requires approval from the judge presiding over the case, something which had not been gained.
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According to ComputerActive, Judge Birss QC said he felt "frank astonishment at receiving 27 notices of discontinuance" from ACS: Law.
Judge Birss has also refused to drop 26 of the cases, which will give the accused the chance to fight for damages from MediaCAT. The case has now been adjourned until January 24. However, ACS:Law told the court it plans to refile the cases at a later date when a number of errors have been corrected. According to TorrentFreak the judge said he was "astonished" by this move.
In December last year, Judge Birss threw out eight cases against web users accused of illegal downloading as there was either no evidence the legal action had actually been served to the accused, or they had actually defended themselves.
Even more confusion has been caused after ACS:Law issued letters to the accused saying that a firm called GCB Limited was handling the compensation payments.
"In order to allow us to focus on the issuing of proceedings, our client has instructed agents, GCB Limited, to correspond with you directly in relation to the above matter in place of ACS:Law Solicitors," the letter reads.
However, GCB, which was formed by accountancy firm McLean Reid, claims it has nothing to do with the cases.
"We have no connection whatsoever with ACS:Law. GCB Limited was formed by us and appears to be being misused by some third party. We are taking urgent steps to ensure that our name is not in any way abused in this connection," the company says on its website.