ACS:Law drops file-sharing cases amid death threat claims

ACS:Law has dropped its litigation against 27 individuals accused of illegally sharing adult films over the internet.

In a statement in London’s patent court yesterday solicitor Andrew Crossley said he would no longer pursue the cases owing to attacks and threats against him and his family.

The development comes only a month after Crossley told The Lawyer that ACS:Law was “full steam ahead” in the litigation against 27 individuals and thousands of other web users who had allegedly shared files online.

News reports said Crossley cited “death threats and bomb threats” among the reasons for dropping the case. He also said his email had been hacked.

Tim Ludbrook of 13 Old Square, counsel for ACS:Law’s client MediaCAT, told the court that Crossley had originally intended to “litigate forcefully”.

Judge Birss is expected to hand down a written judgment in the case later this week.

The litigation was launched in 2009 when ACS:Law began sending letters to thousands of individuals suspected of infringing copyright through file-sharing.

In December Judge Birss halted an attempt to secure default judgment against eight of the defendants (14 December 2010). At that stage Crossley said ACS:Law was working to correct “technical issues” involved with the cases and would be resubmitting applications for judgment against the individuals.

Crossley said he was unable to comment on this week’s developments.

ACS:Law is currently being investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office over allegations that it breached the Data Protection Act (28 September 2010).

The firm is also being investigated by the SRA and a misconduct case against Crossley is on its way to a disciplinary tribunal.