ANOTHER LAW FIRM has apparently stepped into the breach by pledging to go after filesharers.
After ACS:Law all but imploded, first under a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack by 4Chan members and then falling on its own sword by making available a shedload of private data in an email archive, the mantle has been assumed by Gallant Macmillan. The law firm is to appear in the High Court on Monday to request a court order for Plusnet to hand over customer data.
Gallant Macmillan works in much the same way as ACS:Law, sending out threatening letters to those who it believes are the owners of IP addresses it alleges to have been involved in copyright infringement.
Simon Gallant told the BBC that while his firm's process is "contentious", it is "aware of all the concerns people have raised". After seeing what happened to ACS:Law, it's probably Mr Gallant who should be concerned.
Gallant was defiant about his firm's actions, saying, "Providing a rights holder can prove to me that they have a valid legal claim, why should I - as a solicitor - have any problem representing them?"
While he might not have a problem with his actions, a number of groups including the British Phonographic Industry, consumer group Which? and even a member of the House of Lords have spoken up against the methods used by ACS:Law and now Gallant Macmillan.
Unlike the court-shy ACS:Law that has, or had, only one known lawyer, Andrew Crossley, Gallant seemed keen to see the inside of a courtroom. "We are going to have to bring cases to court, because it would be quite wrong to send out hundreds of letters without following through," he told the BBC.
The risk for Gallant and his colleagues is that it is quite possible that through reasoned argument and evidence a defendant could well show that an IP address is by no means a reliable way to identify a person. Should this happen, and frankly it's not particularly hard to show, what with network address translation, wireless access and the ability to take part in 'streams' without actually transferring data, the cases of alleged copyright infringement filed by Gallant and other lawyers should collapse like a house of cards.
So in the meantime Gallant Macmillan will be hoping that most of its letters result in those accused caving in and paying it to go away. µ
Won Ton Destruction
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