15,000 UK file sharers could face punishment

Britain’s AC: Law is expected to send as many as 15,000 letters to accused file sharers offering them the chance to settle out of court for “several hundreds of pounds.”

There is a possibility of sending a letter to the wrong client — which ACS: Law reportedly is “unaware” of occurring in the past — though unconfirmed reports indicate several hundred people wrongly received letters before.

“This scattergun approach to the file sharing litigation will inevitably result in a large number of innocent parties being issued with a claim for copyright infringement,” Lawdit attorney Michael Coyle told BBC.

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The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) had a similar initiative when it filed thousands of John Doe lawsuits against alleged file sharers, including lawsuits against dead people. The RIAA offered file sharers the ability to pay their fine online, with a much lesser monetary penalty when kept out of the courts.

What ACS: Law is doing is simply a scare tactic that it knows will force many of the people who receive letters to simply pay the fine and avoid the trouble of going to court.  In addition, people who receive a notice accusing them of downloading and sharing pornography also are less likely to try and take the issue to court.

Similar to the RIAA approach, this is the most asinine, ludicrous way to try and “punish” file sharers — and “enforce copyright.”  This seems to be more of an attempt to try to cash in on people who either are afraid, cannot afford to go to court, or don’t know which legal steps to take.  It won’t stop people from pirating copyrighted content, and I’m disappointed ACS: Law and other firms are interested in lining their own pockets while doing absolutely nothing useful to combat piracy.

Furthermore, the BBC report indicates the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has opened a case into ACS: Law, and the firm is “currently under investigation.”  ACS: Law officials say it is being targeted by angry Internet users, and it’s unknown when the SRA report will be released.

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