London lawyers set to continue ACS:Law fight

London law firm Gallant Macmillan is set to continue the fight to clobber UK file-sharers accused of downloading copyright material.

Gallant Macmillan will go before the High Court on Monday in a bid to force ISP PlusNet to hand over the names and addresses of hundreds of people suspected of illegally downloading or sharing music online.

The move comes just days after legal bullyboys ACS:Law found themselves in hot water after the company's entire email database was outed on file sharing sites following a hacking attack dubbed 'Operation Payback'.

The company - revealed this week to be the one-man band of solicitor Andrew Crossley - has been an avid practitioner of "speculative invoicing", threatening broadband users suspected of illegal file-sharing with legal action unless they pay up.

In addition to confidential emails between ACS:Law and suspected file-sharers, the database contained the names, addresses and credits card details of 8,000 Sky TV subscribers.

Privacy watchdog the Information Commissioner's Office is investigating whether ACS:Law took adequate measures to protect its data. If found negligent, ACS:Law could face a fine of £500,000.

ACS:Law's dubious track record and seeming negligence in safeguarding users' data have raised concerns among ISPs about the methods employed to track down suspected file-sharers.

"ACS:Law's actions have undermined the current legal process," PlusNet told the BBC. "It is in everyone's interests to restore confidence in this process so that broadband users are safeguarded.

"We are actively reviewing our approach to these disclosure requests to achieve this objective, and this will inform our approach to Monday's hearing."

The ironically named Simon Gallant of Gallant Macmillan said "nothing has changed" in the light of the ACS:Law leak, and that he intended to secure a list of alleged offenders on Monday.

"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?" he said.