More Law Firms Getting Into The Mass 'Pay Us Or We'll Sue You For Infringement' Business

from the piracy-into-profits? dept

We've seen enough reports of just how lucrative it has been for various law firms to get into the mass automated threat letter business by demanding payment from accused file sharers based on very slight evidence. The only thing that's been surprising, really, is that we haven't seen more law firms jump into the game. In the UK, there was Davenport Lyons, who more or less handed over that business to ACS:Law. Then there was -- briefly -- the UK law firm Tilly Bailey & Irvine, who were called out by a UK Lord as a "new entrant to the hall of infamy." That resulted in TBI backing out of the business. In the US, of course, there was the recent high profile entrance of US Copyright Group (which is really the DC-based law firm Dunlap, Weaver and Grubb) as well as some indications that others are getting into the game as well.

TorrentFreak highlights another UK law firm, Gallant Macmillan, that has decided to join in on the "pay us or we'll sue you" fun. It appears that Gallant Macmillan has gone out of its way to try to indicate it's not "as bad" as those who came before it, but it's still in the same basic business. Of course, the more law firms that start down this road, the more attention the practice will get among politicians -- and the more likely that these sorts of quasi-extortion-like efforts gets shut down both in the UK and the US.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Jaws4theRevenge, Jul 12th, 2010 @ 6:33pm

    "quasi-extortion-like efforts"

    Would this not be more akin to blackmail?

     

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  2.  
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    David T, Jul 12th, 2010 @ 7:02pm

    Would this strain the system?

    How could this be fixed without fundamentally changing either 1) the process of out-of-court settlement or 2) copyright law dealing with infringement? I suppose a disincentive could be applied, like a penalty for suits brought that are deemed without merit or that fail.

    Seems like a huge can of worms...

     

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  3.  
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    Ted E. Bear, Jul 12th, 2010 @ 7:06pm

    "Of course, the more law firms that start down this road, the more attention the practice will get among politicians -- and the more likely that these sorts of quasi-extortion-like efforts gets shut down both in the UK and the US."

    Actually I believe the opposite. The more that get into it, the more legitimate they become and at least in the U.S. the more the politicians will listen to them. After all we are becoming the society that is building an economy on make believe money.

     

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  4.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 12th, 2010 @ 7:10pm

    Easy Peasy

    I'll just threaten to sue them for abusing copyright law!

    Oh, the laws only work in one direction? Hrmmm.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Warren Feltmate, Jul 12th, 2010 @ 7:12pm

    Bears a striking similarity to...

    I'm sure this analogy has been used before, but this is strikingly similar to the old protection 'service' that the mafias used to run.

     

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  6.  
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    Jaws4theRevenge, Jul 12th, 2010 @ 7:13pm

    Re: Bears a striking similarity to...

    That would be the "extortion" part, Chief.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2010 @ 7:37pm

    if there is going to be widespread infringement of civil contract law (copyright) there will be more and more of these sorts of things.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2010 @ 7:46pm

    Re: "quasi-extortion-like efforts"

    More like extortion.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2010 @ 7:53pm

    Why don't corporations simply look through all the patents, look at ones they violate, and preemptively get declaratory judgments in their own district that those patents are invalid. Do it before any plaintiffs have the opportunity to sue. Heck, do it before you violate the patent. and don't violate those patents that you can't get a priori declaratory judgments to, only the ones that you could.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2010 @ 7:59pm

    "Of course, the more law firms that start down this road, the more attention the practice will get among politicians -- and the more likely that these sorts of quasi-extortion-like efforts gets shut down both in the UK and the US."

    Actually:
    ... the more law firms that start down this road, the more attention the practice will get among politicians -- and the more likely that these sorts of quasi-extortion-like efforts will employ lobby groups that will eventually legitimize this both in the UK and the US..

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2010 @ 8:00pm

    Re:

    Because they'd still be paying the lawyers the same amount of money. Probably. I'm the lawyers would engineer it such.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2010 @ 8:07pm

    Re:

    Except that the lawsuits have nothing to do with stopping infringement.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2010 @ 8:11pm

    Re: Re:

    You dont think they create a chilling effect? Maybe make me think twice and only pirate 90% as often?

     

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  14.  
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    mirradric, Jul 12th, 2010 @ 8:12pm

    Re: Bears a striking similarity to...

    Is that saying that the mafia is supported by copyrights!!! not piracy??? Then on second thoughts, maybe they've been right all along: piracy supports the mob - indirectly.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2010 @ 8:23pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    no

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2010 @ 8:30pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'll pirate 110% as often, just to be safe.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2010 @ 10:17pm

    Re: Re:

    Burn the lawyers.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2010 @ 10:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    4 posts talking to yourself. what a worthless troll.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    john999, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 12:09am

    They have a reputation to lose

    This latest "entrant to the hall of Infamy" has more to lose than ACS Law, they have some quite prestigeous clients, I am not sure whether the likes of "TED BAKER, KOOKAI, LIBERTY, HUNTER, CLAIMS DIRECT, SERVICEAIR" would like it known that they are using the same solicitors who are sending out "Blackmail" letters to the UK Public, demanding money with menaces. I wonder what they would say if everyone sent the CEO of each of these companies a email or letter informing them of what their solicitor was doing??

     

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  20.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 13th, 2010 @ 2:45am

    Re:

    "Of course, the more law firms that start down this road, the more attention the practice will get among politicians -- and the more likely that these sorts of quasi-extortion-like efforts gets shut down both in the UK and the US."

    Actually:
    ... the more law firms that start down this road, the more attention the practice will get among politicians -- and the more likely that these sorts of quasi-extortion-like efforts will employ lobby groups that will eventually legitimize this both in the UK and the US..


    Actually - the more law firms start down this road the more the public will wise up to the tactics - eventually making them unprofitable.

    In the UK at least one "victim" has successfully turned the tables on his persecutors and got a judgement against them in the county court. (I had a link to this in an earlier comment but I don't have the time to dig it out right now).

    Once these scammers start leaking money in a big way they will have to stop.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 4:43am

    Never heard of the movie you supposedly downloaded?
    -f*** you, pay me.
    Only use the internet to stay in touch with family?
    -f*** you, pay me.
    Don't even know what that new-fangaled contraption is with the antennas sticking out of it?
    -f*** you, pay me.
    Don't even have internet?
    -f*** you, pay me.

     

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  22.  
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    abc gum, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 5:24am

    Re:

    And let us not forget those who are dead or infants - they also must pay or face the possibility of finacial ruin ... oh and laser printer too - those damn laser printers are ruining the media business with their blatant downloading of copyright material.

    Say, what ever happened to the child of an RIAA goon who was caught downloading music? I remember something about an apology but not a dollar amount. Did they end up paying $80k per song? Yeah, I didn't think so either. I've heard that one before - do as I say, not as I do.

     

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  23.  
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    packrat (profile), Jul 13th, 2010 @ 5:26am

    vclass action suits

    and I thought class action suits had limitations on penalties..
    they just criminalize the behavior?

    Is that anything like CSIS method of sending you the material, declaring it illegal, then busting you? (a reporter got nailed with this here in ottawa)

    or is it more.. 'he might try it someday"
    type of guilty?

    packrat

     

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  24.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 13th, 2010 @ 8:28am

    ACS:Law Letter

    I recieved a letter from ACS:Law yesterday. I followed the advice by Beingthreatened.com and have also sent a copy of the letter to my MP and made a complaint to the SRA.
    The file that they alleged that I download was some acid house track for the 90's. I had to Google it to figure out what in the hell it was.
    I can categorically state that I have not nor would ever download anything like that, hence going by the book and sending my reply letter to them as advised by Beingthreatened.com and informing my MP.
    My MP has already read my email, sent about 3hrs ago and has told me that he will reply in full shortly.
    It's amazing that this company and all the others that are starting to practice this parasitic practice are allowed to continue to operate.
    Much more needs to be done about this and more people need to made aware about the practice of these firms. It worries me as to how many people have already just paid up due to intimidation.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    thomas, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 12:14pm

    Simply extortion, sanctioned by the government/courts

    The only place I get music/videos is iTunes or Amazon or B&N. The court system allows the attorneys to file these lawsuits cause the attorneys probably pay a commission to the judges that allow the lawsuits. It is extortion, plain and simple. There is no way for anyone to realistically dispute it short of spending thousands of dollars that they will never get back. It does not matter to the attorneys that you never downloaded anything illegal or not; they work on the principle of guilty until proven innocent.

     

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  26.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 13th, 2010 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Re:

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 12:22pm

    no problems

    I replied to mine with a suggestion of what they should do with their mothers, and never heard another thing from them.

     

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  28.  
    icon
    Overcast (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 8:24am

    Something to do other than chase ambulances at least!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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