To the various lawyers in the US who have been jumping on the mass copyright infringement/pre-settlement shakedown bandwagon, you might want to pay attention to what's happening in the UK, where the guy who really made this strategy famous has been found to have breached the solicitors code of conduct
with these lawsuits. Yes, ACS:Law's Andrew Crossley has not received a kind reaction from the judge who was already troubled
by the way these cases had played out:
Ruling in the Patents County Court in London on Monday, Judge Birss QC described ACS:Law's pursuit of illegal filesharers as "amateurish and slipshod" and said it had "brought the legal profession into disrepute".
Birss said Crossley had breached the solicitors code of conduct because he was responsible for the licence agreement between Media CAT and the original copyright holders, and stood to profit from it. The code of conduct states that "you must not enter into an arrangement to receive a contingency fee for work done in prosecuting or defending any contentious proceedings" before the court.
The judge said: "I am quite satisfied to the standard necessary for this stage of a wasted costs application that Mr Crossley is responsible for the basic agreements [the licence agreements between Media CAT and original copyright holders] and has thereby acted in breach of the solicitors rule 2.04.
"In my judgment, the combination of Mr Crossley's revenue sharing arrangements and his service of the notices of discontinuance serves to illustrate the dangers of such a revenue sharing arrangement and has, prima facie, brought the legal profession into disrepute. It may be better placed under the revenue sharing heading in this judgment but it is, prima facie, improper conduct in any event."
It's nice to see court systems on both sides of the ocean not taking kindly to this sort of clear abuse of the judicial system as a part of a business model.