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Friday, 10 December 2010 11:06

Anti-file-sharing lawyer out of his depth

Written by Nick Farell
y_lawbookhammer

After all those letters
Andrew Crossley, the UK lawyer behind controversial P2P settlement letter firm ACS: Law, has finally taken someone to court rather than just threaten them.

However the high-profile case in the UK has not gone very well. Crossley wanted default judgements in each case, but the England and Wales Patents County Court refused to give him any money and appears to have sent him packing.

Judge Birss said that in three of the eight cases, the defendant has responded and requests for judgement should never have been filed. In three other cases the court saw no evidence that the defendants were even notified of the case against them. Crossley failed to check before filing the default judgement claim.

Two defendants were notified and failed to file any response, so they are in default. Normally Crossley would have won but his filing was so full of holes that the judge refused to award him cash even in these cases.

Judge Birss did not think that Media CAT, even has the right to sue claims can only be brought by the rightsholder or by an exclusive licensee. Crossley thought that the person he has named in each lawsuit should be responsible for file-sharing, even if a child or a friend or a someone from the neighbouring apartment used their Internet connection.

The Judge said that Crossley was wrong and says that the law speaks only about "authorising" copyright infringement. If such infringement was committed over someone's Internet connection without authorisation, it's not clear that the Internet subscriber is responsible.

The judge concludes that the nature of the allegations made in the Particulars of Claim are such that “it would be unfortunate if it were possible to obtain a default judgement without notice" to the defendant. Copyright owners appear to not have won a single case in the UK where the internet subscriber has contested the evidence in a full hearing.

Nick Farell

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