British law firm ACS:Law has lost its first copyright infringement case filed against 8 individuals suspected of illegally sharing copyrighted material.
The company had invited controversy when it began to send out mass letters to alleged file-sharers, asking them to cease and desist, as well as pay a hefty fine worth hundreds of pounds for illegally downloading copyrighted material.
This was the first time that the company dragged some of the 'offenders' to court after they refused to pay the fine and ignore court summons. As it turned out, some of the defendants had prepared a defence and in some cases the company failed to prove that legal notices had been served to them.
ACS:Law had asked the court to deliver a default judgement to the 8 individuals, but instead had its case thrown out of court.
Announcing the judgement, Judge Briss said: “The claimant’s right to be a claimant at all is somewhat unclear on the face of the pleading. A copyright case can be brought by the owner of copyright or an exclusive licensee but the Particulars of Claim does not allege the claimant is either of those.”