English law firm threatens Americans

A UK law firm which has attracted some measure of controversy for sending out shedloads of legal letters to people it claimed illegally file shared its clients’ entertainment is trying to get litigious across the pond.

ACS:Law,  which represents some leading clients in the entertainment industry,  has been sending out lots of letters to people it claims are file sharing its clients’ content. It is suggesting that they settle out of court before things get out of hand.

US magazine, Slyck.com was covering the firm’s antics and was running a bulletin board. Apparently the law firm did not like what some of the great unwashed were saying on Slyck’s bulletin board and have threatened the outfit with a defamation case.

In a letter to Slyck, the law form said it had evidence to believe that the forums “contained serious, untrue and defamatory comments towards our law firm, the principal of our firm, employees and clients of our firm”. In doing so, defamatory comments were being communicated to thousands of people throughout the world, posing a serious threat to the reputation of our firm, various individuals in our firm and its clients.  

Its clients, from what we understand are some fine upstanding members of the  entertainment business who treasure their reputations.

Claiming it is “are not against freedom of speech”, ACS: Law demanded Slyck acts quickly on this defamation complaint by removing from publication in its entirety the defamatory threads to prevent further harm to its clients’ business.

Given that it is an American magazine there is a lot of use of a word beginning with the letter “w” in reference to m’learned friends from ACS Law and its clients. 

US defamation laws are not the same as the UK. Even if ACS Law won a case in the UK against Slyck it would not be enforceable as New York law prohibits foreign courts from enforcing defamation charges unless that country has the same level of free speech protection as the United States.

The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has taken an interest and told ACS Law to sling its hook.

“After reviewing your letter and the cited content on slyck.com, it is clear that you have not articulated a cognizable claim… the statements in question do not appear to be defamatory in nature and therefore are protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution,” it told ACS.

Apparently Slyck has not heard back, yet…