Is Falsely Being Accused Of File Sharing With An Automated Pre-Settlement Letter A Form Of Harassment?

from the we-may-find-out dept

With law operations like ACS:Law in the UK and US Copyright Group in the US sending out thousands upon thousands of "pre-settlement" (i.e., "pay us or we'll sue you") letters for those it accuses of copyright infringement, based on extremely flimsy evidence, it's inevitable that plenty of innocent people will get swept up in the legal threats. At least one law firm in the UK is looking for those who were falsely accused to file a harassment charge on their behalf. This seems like a stretch. Even if it does seem like harassment, my guess is that no court would likely find that such legal threats were harassment, as the lawyers bringing the suits would make the case that it was just an "honest mistake." Of course, if you tried to use that in response to a threat letter for sharing a file online, I doubt these law firms would simply let you walk away...


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  1.  
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    Richard (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 4:24am

    It has worked before

    One victim did get a £250 judgement against Davenport - Lyons in the past

     

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

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 4:28am

    Extortion?

    What about calling it what it really is: an extortion attempt?

     

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

  3.  
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    Haywood (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 5:28am

    Class action the cure for corporate indifference

    I'd say it would make a good counter attack.

     

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

  4.  
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    abc gum, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 5:31am

    Re: Extortion?

    They should be disbarred just for the carpet bombing alone and thrown in jail for the extortion. But don't hold your breath, it's not like that is going to happen.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 5:34am

    Re: Extortion?

    Mike still calls the ACTA meetings "negotiations". It's all about not driving away traffic with overly-polarizing word choice.

     

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

  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 5:44am

    Re: Re: Extortion?

    What would you call it?

     

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

  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 5:48am

    U.K. law is different so there may be a possibility, also libel laws are in favor of people there.

    Those law firms have no respect for the rule of law and are using the justice system to make a buck not to redress grievances, they want to turn the courts into "justice incorporated".

     

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

  8.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 5:59am

    Corportasim Running Amok

    We seemingly are becoming a society were the common citizen can be "assaulted" with impunity and without due process.

    Content can be taken down without notice based on questionable justification.

    Devices can be bricked if a company does not like the way you use the device.

    Privacy is the sole responsibility of the unfortunate recipient never the sender (offender).

     

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

  9.  
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    NAMELESS ONE, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 6:12am

    definately slander and defamation of character

    thats right pay back time

     

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

  10.  
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    Overcast (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 6:58am

    "as the lawyers bringing the suits would make the case that it was just an "honest mistake."

    But wait...

    Could a spammer use that defense? Why not?

    What's the difference? It's pretty much a 'spam' tactic they use with these lawsuits.

    Either way - if this happens, they may really get drug into court, which is the last thing they want in any of this.

     

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

  11.  
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    NullOp, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 7:36am

    Harassment

    Harassment? Oh yeah, in a big way! The correct action is file class action against whoever is sending the BS-ograms!

     

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

  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 8:57am

    Re: Extortion?

    I agree, sounds like extortion to me.

     

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

  13.  
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    MrWilson, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 9:53am

    Re: Corportasim Running Amok

    Due process is like free speech.

    Money = free speech. More money = more free speech.

    Money = due process. More money = more due process.

    It's not the fault of the law firm that you don't have enough money to pay for your right to due process...

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 9:55am

     

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  15.  
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    Gene Cavanaugh, Sep 4th, 2010 @ 10:50pm

    Harrassment in legal threats

    Hopefully you will get responses from people who litigate, rather than prosecute IP as I do.
    However, when I was a civil attorney, years ago, there was a clear and important distinction between a few people ("I was mistaken") and a large number of people ("I may be mistaken, but I don't care"), especially if you can show the errors were pointed out to the firm, but the firm continued.
    One example is simple error, the other is intent or "reckless disregard" for the truth (which is legal intent).

     

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


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