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Copyright

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
extortion, pre-settlement, self-incriminate

Companies:
acs:law



ACS:Law Asks Those Who Deny Infringing To Incriminate Themselves

from the well,-that's-one-strategy dept

ACS:Law, the UK-based copyright threat letter operation that has been called a "scam" by UK politicians and condemned by ISPs alike, is apparently using a new tactic. The operation, which is apparently being investigated for potential disciplinary action (like Davenport Lyons, whose lawyers have been disciplined for initiating the "pre-settlement" mass letter campaign, and which has some sort of connection with ACS:Law), seems to know that the "evidence" it has isn't enough to actually take anyone to court, so if you reply and deny the infringement, ACS:Law sends you a questionnaire effectively asking you to incriminate yourself.

Of course, there's no legal obligation to reply, just as there's no legal obligation to pay, based on such a "pay up or we'll sue" letter. TorrentFreak notes that, despite all of this, people are still paying, even though not a single case has gone to court. No wonder we have multiple copycat operations showing up in the US. Extortion-like processes are apparently quite profitable. I'm sure that's exactly what the folks who created copyright law in the first place were thinking of in their creation: a system to send out thousands of threat letters demanding payment to avoid a lawsuit. It's all about promoting the "progress" of a few copyright lawyers, you see...

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2010 @ 10:23pm

    its a nice story, but it is the same old saw: can you show how many people have refused to pay, and what their legal standing is now? without showing what is happening on the other side, there is no simple way to just dismiss this as anything other than the first steps in a legal action. it might not be the most popular way to do things, but it is within the law.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2010 @ 10:26pm

      Re:

      Perhaps you can ask the lawyers who brought all zero cases to court.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2010 @ 10:29pm

        Re: Re:

        but are there good examples of people who have declined payment? what is their legal status as a result? i cant seem to find anyone talking about it. is the payment rate 100% or something?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2010 @ 10:32pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Why do you insist on asking irrelevant questions?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2010 @ 10:33pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yes, the payment rate is 100%. That must be why ACS:Law sent letters to those who refused to pay. Oh, wait.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2010 @ 10:35pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          If these people didn't make money from the process they wouldn't spend money and time (time is worth money) sending out tons of letters to everyone. Clearly, enough people are paying to warrant sending out these bogus letters.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2010 @ 10:51pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          >but are there good examples of people who have declined payment?

          You can't seem to find good examples of people who have agreed to pay, either; not that it makes the query any more relevant.

          >it might not be the most popular way to do things, but it is within the law.

          When you find the bit of law that states it's legal to forcibly demand someone to incriminate themselves, and others, for crimes you have little to no evidence committed, please let us know.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2010 @ 11:48pm

      Re:

      Necessitating rightsholders to file thousands of DMCA letters at their expense might not be the most popular way to do things, but it is within the law.

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

      • icon
        Richard (profile), 27 May 2010 @ 4:43am

        Re: Re:

        Once again the ridiculous canard. Look - if you own a 400,000 acre estate - then the fences around it are your responsibility even if they are 200 miles long.

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

      • icon
        TtfnJohn (profile), 27 May 2010 @ 7:32am

        Re: Re:

        Unless I completely misread the post Mike put up the events being discussed and the bullshit letters are all occurring in the the United Kingdom, not the United States. Last time I checked, in spite of your fantasy to the contrary, the DMCA applies only within the territory of the United States of America and it's territories and possessions and not, repeat, not, extraterritoriality to the United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, Monaco or anywhere else.

        No wonder you're signing off as AC cause it appears your knowledge of the law is poor at best and internationally non-existent.

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

        • icon
          Karl (profile), 27 May 2010 @ 9:58am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Other law firms are starting this up here (see the link to Masnick's other post), so it at least possibly relevant.

          I don't actually know what sort of "safe harbors" provisions (if any) exist under UK law.

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

    • icon
      The Groove Tiger (profile), 27 May 2010 @ 6:38pm

      Re:

      Yes, the story is incomplete. It fails to report on whether the questionnaires were sent by mail or via carrier pigeon!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2010 @ 10:50pm

    If anyone ever receives a letter such as these they would be well advised to at the very least meet with a lawyer who actually knows and has practiced copyright law full time for a number of years and ask what he/she recommends. Initial consultations are usually without charge (or at least a modest one).

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2010 @ 11:28pm

    They need brains, not trains.

    Did someone say something about someone needing brains?

    http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=QIGiwMkMpLM

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

  • identicon
    NotTAGHuer, 27 May 2010 @ 2:03am

    ACS Law SCAMMERS

    I'm sorry but i cant believe you dont know how this is progressing in the UK this whole scheme has been labled a scam http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-s-Y_q-IFNI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORBfs3QCvTY in the house of Lords during the debate on the Digital Economy bill. to date ACS Law have made over 1million and have sent out thousands of letters. they have taken ZERO people to court I say again ZERO people. Respected UK Publication "Which" has published an article condemming ACS Law, but still it goes on.

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

  • icon
    dunncha (profile), 27 May 2010 @ 2:11am

    Who's fighting? the CAG are always fighting for fair play

    The Consumer Action Group (CAG) make a habit of fighting things like this.... so if you want to know who is fighting and how they are getting on check out their forums.

    Its free advice and very well supported (from the shadows by an army of solicitors)

    http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/acs-law/198192-acs-law.html

    I have used them several times (not for this) but the appearance of one of their template letters usually ends all unpleasantness

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

  • identicon
    abc gum, 27 May 2010 @ 5:38am

    Threat Letters = Incentive to Create?

    Without the benefits of sending out millions of threat letters, how would anyone be able to create new works of art? I'm sure that ACS Law is busy writing new music and novels whilst painting awe inspiring works. /s

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

  • icon
    crade (profile), 27 May 2010 @ 7:47am

    "I'm sure that's exactly what the folks who created copyright law in the first place were thinking"
    Not so sure about the original creators, but I'm sure it's what those who created the current incarnation had in mind.

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

  • identicon
    joe, 30 Sep 2010 @ 3:38pm

    simple solution: VOTE PIRATE PARTY - protection against persecution

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


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