The controversial UK law firm ACS:Law is facing more trouble as their “pay up or else” file-sharing-accusing scare letter tactics are being examined by court officials. Judge Birss of the Patent County Court has stated that he might put a temporary ban on ACS:Law, MediaCAT (their client) and others from sending out these legally questionable settlement letters.
This time, ACS:Law had to explain to the court why new settlement letters were being sent out to thousands of accused file sharers, requesting that payment be submitted to GCB Ltd. Apparently, GCB Ltd was a dormant company with a mailing address registered to the accountant firm Mclean Reid, who immediately terminated their relationship with ACS:Law after hearing this news. What a surprise! More shady tactics of ACS:Law exposed!
Today, the judge was obviously not happy about the appearance of this mysterious GCB Ltd entity or ACS:Law’s lack of explanation for it. The relationship between MediaCAT, the copyright holders, ACS:Law, their license agreements and their business agreements was also put into question.
The judge made a statement before lunch, when he said “There appears to be serious problems with these proceedings – not just the 27 but the ‘before action’ letters sent to the members of the public – normal members of the public and not some commercial litigation process. This is the first time that MediaCAT have brought proceedings – not to 27 but to all the rest.”
“It could be an order of the court not to allow MediaCAT to write to anyone – although not normally applicable in this court – this is a very unusual case and warrants unusual actions. Letters are written to the public – not sophisticated people – the exercise would continue if discontinuance allowed. If I thought that you’d come back and put before the court, then I’d accept, but there is no obligation and you will carry on.”
After the lunch break, the head of ACS:Law, Andrew Crossley, failed to reappear in court citing personal reasons. He provided a written statement to the court that stated that he would no longer be working in the file sharing settlement letter business in the future.
Judge Birss once again addressed ACS:Law stating “I want to tell you and your client I am not happy and I get the distinct impression with every twist and turn that there is a desire to avoid any judicial scrutiny.”
At the end of today’s proceedings, the court did not order ACS:Law or MediaCAT to stop sending out letters, but they are expected to rule on this matter in the next few court appearances that take place.
Until then, it is expected that the court will scrutinize the evidence in detail, including whether or not MediaCAT actually holds the right to sue for copyright infringement. With ACS:Law constantly creating frustration and angst for the judge, I expect to see some rulings against them in future proceedings.