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

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Steve R. (profile) says:

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).

Overcast (profile) says:

“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.

Gene Cavanaugh (profile) says:

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).

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