from the comedy-of-errors dept
Watching ACS:Law continue to struggle to figure out how the law actually seems to work in the UK is becoming an amusing pastime. The firm, which was one of the earlier “pay up or we’ll sue” mass copyright infringement houses, had (for years) avoided actually taking anyone to court, but tried and failed to do just that late last year. TorrentFreak has been covering the details of how this comedy of errors involving ACS:Law and its partners went down, that appears to involve mistake after mistake after mistake, which left the judge claiming he was “astonished” at ACS:Law’s “unprecedented” claims, and may leave ACS:Law facing champerty charges at a later date.
Here’s just a snippet (yes, there’s actually more) of what went down:
Late last week, ACS:Law business partner MediaCAT, the middle-man company who claim to have rights over dozens of movies, tried to pull the rug from under yesterday’s proceedings. Last Thursday, with only a single working day left to go, it wrote to the 27 file-sharing defendants informing them it would discontinue the cases against them.
The defendants, some of them prepared to head off to court on Monday, reasonably thought their case was now over and that they did not have to attend. However, thanks again to ACS:Law’s apparent misreading of the law, MediaCAT were actually not authorized to drop the claims without the court?s permission.
The problem lies in the strange fact that MediaCAT aren’t the copyright holders of the works they are using to extract payments out of file-sharers. Another company, the David Sullivan-owned Sheptonhurst Ltd is believed to be, but even that is yet to be proven.
Another allegation was levelled at Crossley in court by defense lawyers, one which raised eyebrows with Judge Birss QC. With reference to the earlier Solicitors Regulatory Authority investigation into his affairs, it was alleged that Andrew Crossley is “involved in a champertous agreement” in breach of the solicitors? code of conduct.
The actual agreement between MediaCAT and Sheptonhurst was produced which showed, to the apparent surprise of the Judge, that ACS:Law is contracted to take 65% of the revenue and that rights to the movies in question had been allocated purely to prosecute and that no exploitable rights had been transferred.
If you want to read even more gory details, go check out the full TorrentFreak story. That said, it’s somewhat amazing how ill-prepared ACS:Law and its various partners appear to have been before going into court. It certainly lends more credibility to the idea that the operation was built on the plan of never, ever setting foot in court.