ACS:Law Anti-Piracy Lawyers Are Copyright Infringers

Lawyers ACS:Law have entered the anti-piracy revenue generation scheme previously inhabited by Davenport Lyons. They write to alleged file-sharers demanding payment of hundreds of pounds or face legal action. However, those same individuals can point the finger straight back, since ACS:Law are copyright infringers themselves.

We recently reported that ACS:Law appear to have taken up where notorious UK lawyers Davenport Lyons left off, sending threatening letters to alleged BitTorrent and eDonkey copyright infringers demanding payment of hundreds of pounds or face legal action.

Sadly, ACS:Law don’t appear to be practicing what they preach, despite taking the moral high-ground with the hundreds of recipients of their letters.

In an article published on their site entitled “20th Century Fox hit by illegal downloads” (Google cache copy here, since the page has been removed after we published this). ACS:Law appear to have taken the easy option and instead of writing their own article, chose to cut and paste paragraph after paragraph of other people’s work, passing it off as their own, without so much as a link to any source or a mention of an author’s or publication name.

Paragraph 1 of ACS:Law article

Almost a month before Wolverine hit the movie theaters a workprint copy of the movie was “leaked” onto the Web. It was a copy that was half finished as far as the special effects were concerned with green screens and wire framed character models visible for all the world to see. The great fight scene at the top of the nuclear reactor was more stickman like drawing that anything to do with the actors. In the end it was an incomplete movie that really only left the majority of those that watched it wanting to see the real thing

Original source article: Written by Steven Hodson over at inquisitr.com

Paragraph 2 of ACS:Law article

AFACT’s director of operations Neil Gane thanked the member of the public who had called attention to the racket and claimed Australian businesses suffered greatly from piracy.

Original source article: Written by Suzanne Tindal for zdnet.com.au

Paragraph 3 of ACS:Law article

“That pirated copies of X-Men Origins: Wolverine were discovered amongst the haul is especially disappointing. The film was made in Australia, employed over 1000 Australians, engaged over 100 Australian companies and contributed over $80 million to the local economy. The flagrant sales of pirated copies of the film is a slap in the face to the hard work and creativity that so many Australians put into the movie,” he alleged in a statement. The film has not yet been shown in cinemas worldwide

Original source article: Written by Suzanne Tindal for zdnet.com.au

Paragraph 4 of ACS:Law article

The woman’s arrest and the discovery of the discs led police to what was allegedly a disc burner lab in Sydney’s Westmead. The lab allegedly had the potential to produce 378,000 pirated discs a year, worth $1.8 million on the street.

Original source article: Written by Suzanne Tindal for zdnet.com.au

Paragraph 5 of ACS:Law article

Marketed as one of this summer’s blockbusters, downloads topped 75,000 within hours of the film being uploaded to BitTorrent and 20th Century Fox, the studio behind Wolverine, said the uploaded version was “stolen, incomplete and early”

Original source article: Fraser McIntyre and Jennifer Whitehead for The Scotsman

Paragraph 6 of ACS:Law article

The computer-generated imagery had not been added, there were missing scenes, sound and music and Wolverine himself had not yet acquired his enhanced strength with the wires attached to the actor Hugh Jackman still visible on screen.

Original source article: Fraser McIntyre and Jennifer Whitehead The Scotsman

Paragraph 7 of ACS:Law article

Reviews based on an unfinished film and which have already cost influential Fox News columnist Roger Friedman his job. He was fired for commenting on illegal footage. Richard Mollet is from record label trade body the BPI. He says the industry lost around £200m last year because of illegal downloading.The illegal copy became available on the internet on March 30. According to the Hollywood Reporter, “at last year’s average ticket price of $7.18, the piracy could conceivably – though not likely – have cost Fox $28.7 million.”

Original source article: Fraser McIntyre and Jennifer Whitehead The Scotsman

Even though there are clearly no references to any sources, links back to the original articles or mention of the author’s name in the ACS:Law article, TorrentFreak contacted all three publications to double check that permission had not been granted. Of the trio, Duncan Riley editor of Inquisitr.com was most vocal, telling TorrentFreak;

“No, we have not given permission for the content to be used. What perhaps is the height of hypocrisy, besides the wholesale theft of the text word for word, is that the paragraph they have taken is from a post that argues that piracy helped Wolverine, and then they’ve added anti-piracy statements to the end.”

We must admit we are very confused. On the one hand ACS:Law speak constantly about how their clients suffer at the hands of copyright infringement, yet the company itself appears to have a different approach when it comes to its own dealings.

Just recently, a support site set up to help recipients of ACS:Law letters cope with their predicament was ordered to stop its activities by ACS:Law (under threat of legal action) after they objected to the link between the site’s domain name (beingscammed.com) and their firm. The owner of the site was forced to publish an apology on the site’s homepage. As expected, another site has taken its place.

ACS:Law have forced others to publish an apology on their site too after comments were made that the law firm objected to. In the interests of fairness, it seems fitting that that Mr Andrew Crossley, as main partner of ACS:Law, publishes his own apology on his site’s homepage for making use of other people’s copyright works and exploiting them for commercial gain.

Andrew Crossley was already fined by the UK’s Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) for engaging in “conduct unbefitting a solicitor” (pdf) back in 2006. We believe that a law firm claiming to uphold copyright law on behalf of its clients but infringing copyright in the process warrants the same label, but we’ll let the Conduct Investigation Unit at the SRA decide.

And to those that think these infringements by ACS:Law are small ones to be brushed off or discounted, then in an ideal world, yes, you would be absolutely correct. No one should care about small infringements of copyright. No-one should have to write articles about petty copyright infringement, but these are the depths to which this arena has sunk.

But consider which games these threats and lawsuits are all about. Two Worlds from Reality Pump is available on Amazon for £12, Topware’s Dream Pinball 3D is available for under £10, Call of Juarez by Techland much less than that. At absolute best ACS:Law has evidence that copyright was infringed via an IP address for a mere second on a few kilobytes of these titles. For these equally small infringements, ACS:Law demand around £600 from the public to satisfy them and their clients, backed up by the threat of ruination in court.

That’s how low we’ve sunk. It must stop, all of it.

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