Every year the UK’s Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA) has an awards ceremony to pay tribute to the best companies, most innovative products and stand-out individuals.
In addition to categories such as “Best Consumer Fixed Broadband ISP” and “Best Dedicated Hosting”, the awards have two other personality-based categories – Internet Hero and Internet Villain.
It will come as no surprise that Andrew Crossley, boss of the now-defunct ACS:Law, won the title of Villain of the Year.
Make no mistake, Crossley pulled off a major coup here.
He fended off some formidable candidates including New Zealand Commerce Minister Simon Power (who played a key role introducing “3 strikes” legislation to New Zealand) and Tayfun Acarer, the chairman of the Turkish Information and Communications Technologies Authority, for his efforts in filtering all Internet connections in Turkey.
Being the modest man that he is, Crossley didn’t accept his award in person, which was a huge disappointment to those with egg, flour and waterbombs secreted under their tables. Nevermind, pancakes all round then.
In the Internet Hero category emerged two forerunners – Professor Ian Hargreaves for his well-received review of IP law and ACS:Law nemesis Judge Colin Birss QC.
Judge Birss brought joy to the hearts of everyone who opposed Andrew Crossley’s reign of web-terror. He roundly criticized the efforts of the self-proclaimed pirate chaser and effectively brought an end to his operations which, pending a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal decision, probably signalled the start of the end of his legal career too.
In the end Professor Ian Hargreaves came out the victor.