150 "falsely accused" of illegal file-sharing

The number of people "wrongly" accused of illegal file-sharing by ACS Law now stands at more than 150, says Which?

Barry Collins
27 Jan 2010

Consumer group Which? has heard from more than 150 people who claim to have been falsely accused of illegal file-sharing by legal firm ACS Law.

Law firms such as ACS Law and previously Davenport Lyons act on behalf of copyright owners, who employ companies to track illegal downloads made using P2P file-sharing services. Crucially, the firms only identify the connection - and not the individual - responsible for the download.

Which? has long claimed that this leads to people being wrongly accused of copyright theft, because of factors such as open Wi-Fi connections being used to perform illegal downloads without the subscriber's knowledge. Those accused of copyright theft face written demands for hundreds of pounds to settle the matter out of court.

Now Which? claims the total number of people who've contacted it claiming to be wrongly accused has exceeded 150. One alleged victim was a 78-year-old man who was accused of downloading a porn film. "He doesn’t even know what file-sharing or bittorrent is, so has certainly not done this himself or given anyone else permission to use his computer to do such a thing," the man's family wrote.

Other victims claim to be at their "wit's end" following the threats to take them to court if they don't pay damages.

Yesterday, at an event called specifically to oppose the Government's plans to cut off persistent file-sharers, Carphone Warehouse boss Charles Dunstone called for Ministers to "see sense" over the proposed copyright clampdown.

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