ACS Law, which likes to accuse people of file sharing and has allegedly sent out wrongful ISP piracy threat letters which requested settlement fees of up to £500, has been sending out “questionnaires” about illicit file sharing which respondents are under no legal obligation to answer.
The questionnaires, reports Which? Computing, ask alleged copyright infringers to give up their computers for forensic testing as well as confirming details about their internet connection and ISPs. They’re being sent out to people who have already denied any involvement in illegal file sharing.
It asks people to confirm that they are the owner of the internet connection, whether their wireless network is secured, and cheekily, if they have software such as BitTorrent on their PCs and if others in the household use the connection.
Head of legal affairs at Which?, Deborah Prince, reckons it’s all bully boy tactics and is morally unsound: “It is outrageous that ACS Law is effectively asking consumers to provide evidence to support claims ACS Law is making on its clients’ behalf, especially as recipients may not have legal representation. We believe its tactics are really underhand.”
The consumer magazine says ACS Law is being thoroughly out of order for requesting recipients submit to providing so-called evidence for cases against them when they’re not legally obliged to do so.
“We say this is another example of bullying behaviour by ACS Law, which says that if people don’t complete the questionnaire, it has no option but to consider them guilty and pursue the case in court. Declining to fill in a form is not evidence of guilt,” Deborah said.
The best tactic for anyone who receives a letter from ACS Law, says Which? Computing, is to restate their innocence and provide evidence which proves this – including giving details of being at work at the time and offering for it to be corroborated in a witness statement. Recipients should definitely say they don’t want to complete the questionnaire as it’s up to ACS Law to prove any client claims of file sharing, and that, again, there’s no legal obligation to fill out the form.
It seems one of ACS Law’s greedier clients is involved in the porn industry – the questionnaire came to light after a reader of Which? Computing told the law firm that he or she didn’t download 23 porno films, and were asked to pay £1,200 in compensation or face legal proceedings.
ACS has previously had Which? point the finger for sending out wrongful ISP piracy threats.