Lawyer denies Greek piracy 'scam'

Image caption,
Thousands of letters were sent to alleged filesharers in the in the UK

A lawyer whose firm demanded money from alleged illegal downloaders in the United Kingdom has denied re-starting the scheme in Greece.

Andrew Crossley told the BBC that e-mails sent out in the name of ACS:Law were a scam and nothing to do with him.

The messages accuse their recipients of file sharing and demand payments of £1,665.

Mr Crossley's firm was wound-up and he is the subject of disciplinary action for sending similar letters in the UK.

The Greek letters were brought to light by Ralli Solicitors, which represented some of those accused by ACS:Law. It is now advising a client based in Greece.

"They have received e-mails purporting to be from the law firm," said Ralli solicitor Michael Forrester.

The letters have been sent to overseas addresses.

"The IP addresses quoted do not appear conventional, making reference to country codes outside of the UK," said Mr Forrester.

"Despite this, the letters of claim refer to UK law under the Copyrights, Design and Patents Act," he added.


One of the letters seen by the BBC read: "We act as solicitors for DigiProtect Ltd, the owners of copyright of various films and music rights.

"Our client has retained forensic computer analysts to search for and identify internet addresses from which their copyright works are being made available on so-called peer-to-peer programs."

The letter asks that cheques are made payable to ACS:Law and supplies a central London address, which is in an adjacent building to where the law firm used to trade from.

However, Andrew Crossley contacted the BBC to say he was not involved.

"It is not my email, not my address - the address is old and post code is misstated, there is no client or company of that name, it is not a demand made by me and it is quite clear from the way it was written that it was not," he wrote in an e-mail.

Mr Crossley said he plans to contact the police in relation to the messages.

UK cases

Prior to its closure, ACS:Law was accused of taking advantage of new UK laws on piracy in order to make money.

Its sole proprietor, Mr Crossley teamed up with companies DigiProtect and MediaCAT, which purported to represent copyright owners.

Together they sent letters to around 10,000 people in the UK, alleging that the IP addresses of their computers had been linked to illegal file sharing.

Individuals were given the option of paying £500 or facing court action.

Many of those contacted said they had never engaged in such activity. Consumer watchdog Which accused the firm of speculative invoicing and claimed that none of the evidence would stand up in court.


Mr Crossley eventually brought 26 cases to court, but soon after hearings began he tried to have them dismissed.

Judge Colin Birss QC refused to allow proceedings to stop and accused Mr Crossley of trying to "to avoid judicial scrutiny".

He, in turn, left the court mid-way through the case and had his barrister read out a statement in which he said that he no longer wanted to pursue net pirates because he had received death threats.

The case was dismissed and Mr Crossley faced a large bill for wasted costs. The accused have since settled out of court.

Soon after, ACS:Law was wound up and declared bankrupt.

Mr Crossley is currently the subject of an investigation by the Solicitors' Regulation Authority.

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