More shady tactics used by UK copyright law firms exposed

Davenport Lyons and ACS:Law, two UK law firms spearheading the campaign against illegal file-sharing in their region, have had a rough year. Nobody seems to be shedding a tear for the firms and their employees, however, and their web of lies only seems to grow larger by the day.

TorrentFreak has uncovered some more evidence of shady tactics used by both firms in their efforts to coerce money out of the hands of consumers who haven’t been proven to be guilty of anything. They’ve also caught the owner of ACS:Law, Andrew Crossly, in a series of “inconsistencies” that were most likely a misguided attempt to improve his tarnished image.

More shady tactics used by UK copyright law firms exposed

Last year Crossley told TorrentFreak that he had no affiliation with Davenport Lyons. Excerpts from the Solicitors Regulation Authority report about their investigation into the firm’s activities shows that Davenport Lyons had not only transferred clients to ACS:Law, but also that Crossly had employed staff from the rival firm.

Even more surfaced recently when Paul Kendall wrote an article for The Telegraph about Crossley’s practice.

“When we spoke he [Crossley] had portrayed himself as a pauper, telling me that ‘less than a month ago’ he had been wandering around an air show with no money in his pocket and not a ‘penny to my name’,” says Kendall. But emails that had leaked onto the internet after the Operation Payback DDoS attack on the firm painted a much different picture. Most people who can afford a Bentley Arnage, a Ferrari F430 Spider, and a five-bedroom house wouldn’t describe themselves as a pauper.

Additionally, Kendall’s visit to ACS:Law for his research into the article uncovered the firm’s practice of dropping any case that might generate “bad PR”.

“From now on, if you find a response to a third party letter, do not send a security letter. Instead, please move the letter into the ABANDON HOPE folder in General Paras… If you find someone who is blind, one legged and dying, and you think they are not worth pursuing due to the possibility of bad PR, please also put them in there,” instructed a memo to the paralegals employed by the firm.

Basically, as long as there was no answer for the letter or any compelling reason why the recipient might be able to pay, the firm would pursue the fine relentlessly. However, once there was some indication that a person could go to the press with some sort of harassment claim, all action was dropped.

Thankfully, the citizens of the UK should be getting a break from both ACS:Law and Davenport Lyons. Each is currently under scrutiny from the SRA, and next year both firms have representatives that will be facing a disciplinary tribunal to answer questions about their shady practices. Disciplinary action against both is seeming like a more likely outcome as we get closer to the hearings and more information comes to light.