Archive for the ‘UK’ Category


Andrew Crossley

Half a year ago I wrote about the sanctions imposed on Davenport Lyons’ solicitors. Today I woke up to read some huge yet anticipated news: one of the most famous proto-trolls, Andrew Crossley of ACS:Law was suspended for 2 years by UK’s Solicitor Disciplinary Tribunal.

Although, unfortunately, this feast of common sense does not take place here in the US, I hope that this sanctioning will send shivers down domestic trolls’ spines, especially since Mr. Crossley’s suspension was not the worst of his foes. In addition to that, he went bankrupt, and his reputation was completely destroyed. We do not see similar outcomes in the US at this time, because the speculative invoicing scam started in Great Britain much earlier, and giving the similarities between the British and the US judicial systems, the end of copyright trolling legal plague in the US is inevitable, in my opinion: we will get there sooner or later.

Meanwhile stay strong, educate yourself, and do not feed the trolls. Some settlements are inevitable: I understand that a teacher accused of downloading teen porn is risking too much even if he is innocent. Yet if you settle just out of irrational fear and do not make any effort to educate yourself and understand that trolls simply bluff, and that in 99% of cases they cannot do anything to you beyond harassment, settling is a bad service to society.

The news has been already widely covered, so I better stop here and let you read these reviews:

 

Also, I’d like to use this opportunity to send regards to our British brothers-in-arms, who diligently covered and accelerated ASC:Law’s downfall:

 

For the reference, here are the charges vs. Andrew Crossley brought by SDT:

  1. Allowed his independence to be compromised;
  2. Acted contrary to the best interests of his clients;
  3. Acted in a way that was likely to diminish the trust the public places in him or in the legal profession;
  4. Entered into arrangements to receive contingency fees for work done in prosecuting or defending contentious proceedings before the Courts of England and Wales except as permitted by statute or the common law;
  5. Acted where there was a conflict of interest in circumstances not permitted, in particular because there was a conflict with those of his clients;
  6. Used his position as a Solicitor to take or attempt to take unfair advantage of other persons being recipients of letters of claim either for his own benefit or for the benefit of his clients;

I do not believe that the UK and the US judicial systems are significantly different: at least some of these charges should be applicable to our domestic crooks (and some additional charges — not implausible at all). Pity we do not have a central authority like Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal here, though there are some authorities that oversight attorneys’ conduct. Here is one for Illinois. I urge everyone to find similar organizations in states where trolls are licensed and overwhelm those organizations with complaints.

Update

02/24/12

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal’s judgement is now published:

The blog “ACS:BORE”, our British brothers-in-arms, has published an article “Davenport Lyons Two Suspended for “Intimidation” today.

In short, two directors of Davenport Lyons firm, the law firm that introduced the scam called “speculative invoicing” (copyright trolling) to the world, were sanctioned by Disciplinary Tribunal for sending intimidating letters of claim to members of the general public that they accused of file sharing.

This article is a must-read for anyone who follows copyright trolling grand scam, and for trolls themselves.

Earlier these lawyers had both been found in violation of SIX rules of the Solicitors Regulation Authority:

 
(1) Breach of rule 1.03 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007: respondents allowed their independence to be compromised.
(2) Breach of rule 1.04: respondents did not act in the best interests of their clients.
(3) Breach of rule 1.06: respondents acted in a way that was likely to diminish the trust the public place in them or in the legal profession.
(4) Breach of rule 2.04(1): respondents entered into arrangements to receive contingency fees for work done in prosecuting or defending contentious proceedings before the courts of England and Wales except as permitted by statute or the common law.
(5) Breach of rule 3.01: respondents acted where there was a conflict of interest in circumstances not permitted under the rules, in particular because there was a conflict or significant risk that the respondents and/or their firm’s interests were in conflict with those of their clients.
(6) Breach of rule 10.01: respondents used their position as solicitors to take or attempt to take unfair advantage of other persons, being recipients of letters of claim either for their own benefit or for the benefit of their clients.

Torrent Freak also reports on this significant event.

Many, including me, were disappointed by the punishment — £20,000 fine and a 3-month suspension. I’m not hungry for revenge, but in order to have similar scams deterred in the future, trolls should be ordered to pay at least twice the amount they were able to extort from their victims.

While UK celebrates the end of the trolling plague epidemic, the disease is still taking its toll on the US soil. Unfortunately we don’t have an entity similar to UK’s Solicitors Regulation Authority here, and I don’t really know whether the Bar can do similar things, but everyone can contribute to the demise of this contagion:

  • Exercise simple hygiene: ignore threatening letters and never communicate with trolls until named in a suit.
  • If you are named in a lawsuit and served, fight back by denying everything: the “evidence” against you is a pure bluff, trolls will NOT be able to prove anything in court based on this “evidence”, and they have no intention to bring most of these cases to actual hearings anyway.
  • Spread the word. Refer to this and other similar blogs and websites, retweet my twits, email friends, authorities and media.

Please do.

Anti-Piracy Lawyers Found Guilty of Professional Misconduct

The subsequent SRA investigation found that Gore and Miller – who has since left Davenport Lyons – knowingly targeted innocent people, failed to act in the best interests of clients, acted in a way likely to diminish trust in the legal profession and had also entered into banned contingency fee arrangements.

As reported by ComputerActive, in summing up Timothy Dutton QC for the SRA said that the scheme was designed to make money and “browbeat people into submission”, whether they were innocent or not.

Mr Dutton added that Miller and Gore’s conduct represented “a wholly inappropriate discharge of professional duties” and described the campaign as “a debt collection scheme but no debt was owed.” IP address evidence, Dutton noted, was the “flimsiest” of all evidence.

Only blind won’t see the similarities with our case.