ACS:Law Keeps Sending Out More Threat Letters -- Condemned By Politicians, ISPs And General Common Sense
from the not-bullying? dept
The practice is being condemned widely. UK politicians have called it a scam. Even (believe it or not) the record labels are criticizing the practice, saying that it's not productive (most of the firms that use ACS:Law/Davenport Lyons/DigiProtect tend to be porn studios and small software providers). The latest is that O2, the UK ISP is condemning these letters as being pure bullying for money.
What's amusing is how ACS:Law tries to defend itself:
"Neither we nor our clients threaten or bully anyone. We send out letters of claim to account holders of internet connections where those internet connections have been identified as being utilised for illegal file-sharing of our clients' copyrighted works.... Our letter makes an enquiry in that regard and invites the recipient of our letter to respond to this evidence. In addition they are invited to enter into a compromise to avoid litigation,"This is disingenuous in almost every possible way. Sending a legal letter saying that you've been caught breaking the law, and likely will be taken to court (even though ACS:Law almost never seems to actually follow through on that threat), is absolutely a threat. And notice how he calls it "an enquiry," which is again misleading. It's an accusation, and a typical shakedown offer. It's not a "compromise," and it's not an afterthought as presented in the quote above. It's the key point of the letter, and the entirety of the business model put forth by the companies involved, who describe it as a way to "profit" from people sharing their content.
In responding to the fact that even the record labels (via BPI) have condemned these letters, the guy from ACS:Law responds with more ridiculousness:
"I think the BPI is letting its members down. I think they are scared of alienating their customers. My clients don't have the same fear. They take the view that the people they target aren't their customers because they are stealing from them."Of course, if they were "stealing" from his clients, then it's a criminal, not a civil, matter, and as he must know, the proper response is to go to the police. Not demand they pay up via some sort of shakedown letter.
Finally, the guy from ACS:Law basically admits that he's the one getting rich off of this, noting that he gets more money from this than the copyright holders:
"After my expenses the copyright owner is the largest single beneficiary."Nice little trick there with the "after my expenses." This is a classic shakedown with a weak attempt at giving it legitimacy by using copyright law as a cover.