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ACS:Law's first illegal download cases thrown out

Responsibility for insecure connections questioned

A legal firm that issued 'bullying' letters to Brits accused of illegal downloading has had the first eight cases of legal action against filesharers thrown out of court.

ACS:Law went to court in a bid to get a 'default judgement' issued against eight Brits accused of illegal downloading. A default judgement is issued in cases where a defendant has not responded to a summons or failed to defend themselves in court

However, Judge Birss threw out all of the cases as there was either no evidence the legal action had actually been served to the accused, or they had actually defended themselves.

Birss also said: "A copyright case can only be brought by the owner of a copyright or an exclusive licencee."

ACS:Law claimed the web users accused of illegal downloading should be held responsible, even if they didn't download the file themselves, because their net connection was unsecured, allowing hackers to piggyback on the connection and obtain file illegally. However, Birss criticised this approach.

"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 said.

In September, ACS:Laws' website was taken down by a DDOoS attack which also resulted in the personal details of thousands of Sky Broadband customers accused of illegally downloading, which were held by the law firm, being leaked on the web.

See also: Legal firm to stop issuing net piracy letters


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