Controversial law firm ACS:Law, which was highly criticised after sending letters to alleged copyright infringers demanding payment under the threat of court action, has had eight cases it took to court thrown out by a judge.
ACS:Law boss Andrew Crossly decided to push for a default judgement on eight unnamed defendants who had previously been sent letters in an attempt to get a swift victory.
A default judgement is usually sought if there is some failure to take action by the other party, for example, they have failed to respond to a summons or defend themselves in court.
However, in an embarrassing defeat, judge Birss QC threw out all eight cases, because either the defendants had actually filed a defence, or there was no evidence a claim was served.
In a blow to further legal action by ACS:Law on behalf of rights holders, judge Birss also questioned whether or not the firm has the right to represent its clients in such cases, saying that “a copyright case can only be brought by the owner of a copyright or an exclusive licensee.”
He also pulled apart the law firm’s allegations that the defendants were responsible for illegal file sharing committed by others because they had not secured their own Wi-Fi routers properly.
“The Particulars of Claim include allegations about unsecured internet connections. I am aware of no published decision in this country which deals with this issue in the context of copyright infringement,” he stated.
ACS:Law was in trouble itself earlier this year with the ICO, after the law firm's entire email database was posted online as it was trying to recover from a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.
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