Even more innocent members of the public have been getting accused of piracy in the past week. These people have received legal letters that accuse them of the illegal sharing of copyrighted material such as music files and pornography.
The letters originate from London-based law firm ACS Law, which claims that these thousands of individuals have been illegally sharing intellectual property of every nature including German techno music and video games. In the letters, the recipients are offered the opportunity to put an end to the matter by ‘settling’ the claim with a cash payment of approximately £500.
According to ACS Law, it has embarked on the letter writing campaign for the purpose of protecting copyrights of its clients. However, Which? Computing has so far heard from at least 150 consumers on this matter, all of who insist that they have been wrongly accused. As the latest wave of letters makes its rounds, Which? has been hearing from even more people every day.
One individual writes regarding their 78 year old father, who received one of the letters from ACS Law. The letter accused the man of illegally downloading a porn file and demanded that he pay £500 in compensation. However, the man has no idea what a bittorrent is, and has never participated in file sharing. It would have been absolutely impossible for the man to have done what the letter claimed he had done.
To address the issue, the government is presently considering some plans that would make it necessary to warn consumers about file sharing before firms such as ACS Law would be allowed to take legal action. But for now, these law firms are continuing to send letters to consumers, demanding that they pay a cash settlement to put an end to a file-sharing accusation.
According to Which? Technology Editor Matt Bath, people have been getting threatened with legal action by these law firms, for copyright violations that they are not only innocent of, but wouldn’t even know how to do in the first place. Which? has concerns that a lot of innocent people will be intimidated into paying the money to avoid the stress of having to go to court.