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ExtraTorrent.cc > Articles > Judge Refused ACS:Law Quit Judicial Scrutiny

Judge Refused ACS:Law Quit Judicial Scrutiny

Judge Refused ACS:Law Quit Judicial Scrutiny

Added: Thursday, February 10th, 2011
Category: Recent Headlines Involving File Sharing > Ridiculous Criminal Trials
Tags:ET, p2p, Torrent, Piracy, Peer To Peer, Network, Hackers, Internet, BitTorrent, Google, utorrent, bitcomet, extratorrent, 2010, www.extrattorrent.com
In spite of the ACS:Law’s decision to get out of the mass litigation business, UK judge Birss QC disagreed, saying that such notices of discontinuance are to be set aside being just an abuse of process. The reason explained is that the plaintiffs would gain an advantage to be used in notices in the future.

A week ago anti-piracy law firm ACS:Law, along with its client MediaCAT, announced their decision to quit the mass BitTorrent lawsuit game. The two had supposedly agreed on a deal, trying to defend as many as twenty-seven file-sharing cases lumped together by UK Patents County Court Judge due to their “unusual peculiarities”. Regardless of the parties’ efforts to have all the cases dropped, the judge ordered for them to proceed, questioning their standing to drop the lawsuits at all. In other words, the judge has got the impression that there was an attempt to avoid any judicial scrutiny.

The main problem of the cases is that the revenue-sharing agreement between ACS:Law and MediaCAT likely violated the Solicitors Code of Conduct, which made the defendants’ attorney think that the defendants deserved “off the scale” damages for “wasted costs”. That’s how the hunter became the hunted.

UK judge believes that the notices of discontinuance are to be set aside, being an abuse of process, because a licensee would gain an advantage which can be used in further notices whereby the alleged infringers are threatened with warnings avoiding judicial scrutiny.

The ruling, which was finally released a few days ago, shows that the judge is quite upset with the whole affair. For example, the judge wrote that the damages claimed deserve some scrutiny. If the plaintiffs can prove just a single download, it means that only one sale of one work has been lost in a case, which can’t result to $800 claimed. Besides, it means that the majority of this amount must be taken up with legal costs. In this case, the demands and actual losses are largely disproportionate unless there is any evidence of the bigger scale infringement.

In other words, rights owners should be quite nervous, since the judge is about to decide that the damages sought are around $5 instead of $800. While it’s not clear where the case goes further, both MediaCAT and ACS:Law are suspected to be wishing they had never embarked on this “pay-up-or-else” business model.

February 10th,2011

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Date:  Thursday, February 10th, 2011

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