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Legal firm chasing net pirates ceases trading

ACS:Law and MediaCAT both closed on Jan 31

Legal firm ACS:Law, which issued 'bullying' letters to Brits accused of illegal filesharing, ceased trading just days before a judgement on a case it was involved in.

According to TorrentFreak, which obtained a document thought to have been issued by Andrew Crossley of ACS:Law, the firm shut down on January 31.

TorrentFreak also revealed the document claims MediaCAT, a firm that was given the go-ahead by a number of copyright holders to pursue copyright infringement on their behalf and the company ACS:Law was working with, has also closed shop.

Last year, ACS:Law sent hundred of letters on behalf of MediaCAT, claiming the recipient was guilty of illegally downloading music and video files from the web. The letter ordered the recipient to either pay compensation or face legal action.

The firm ended up pursuing legal action against 27 web users, but two weeks ago the accused received letters claiming the cases were being dropped and the legal action would not take place - a move that initially requires approval from the judge presiding over the case, something which had not been gained.

Furthermore, the court was told the firms planned to re-file the cases at a later date when a number of errors had been corrected.

Then Crossley, who is currently being investigated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, withdrew from the case and ceased any work relating to illegal filesharing, blaming a number of death threats he had received.

"I have ceased my work... I have been subject to criminal attack. My emails have been hacked. I have had death threats and bomb threats," Crossley said in a statement that was read out in court.

"It has caused immense hassle to me and my family," he added.

'A desire to avoid any judicial scrutiny'

Judge Birss, who is presiding over the case, told the court he was "not happy" with the events in the case.

"I am getting the impression with every twist and turn since I started looking at these cases that there is a desire to avoid any judicial scrutiny," he said

He revealed that granting permission to drop the cases is complicated, as the copyright holders are not involved in the legal action, and they could potentially continue to pursue the accused themselves. His judgement was expected on Tuesday afternoon.

See also: ACS:Law's first illegal download cases thrown out


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