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Music Piracy United Kingdom Your Rights Online

Anti-Piracy Lawyers Caught Pirating Each Other 131

Posted by samzenpus
from the dog-eat-dog dept.
An anonymous reader writes "We would like to think that the lawyers that are prosecuting alleged copyright infringers are practicing what they preach, but it looks like one of the most high profile firms involved in such cases are just as guilty of stealing others' work as those who are downloading illegal media."
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Anti-Piracy Lawyers Caught Pirating Each Other

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  • by siddesu (698447) on Sunday October 03, 2010 @06:58PM (#33779624)

    Since there is no creative value in the things they lift from each other, it is hard to argue they are "pirating" it. Can I steal a verb they use, and just call it "stealing"? :)

    Also, the general population surely should be held to higher standards than the scum of the earth.

  • "Illegal media"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by John Hasler (414242) on Sunday October 03, 2010 @07:01PM (#33779642) Homepage

    What the hell is that? And how do you download any sort of media?

  • Ouroboros (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 03, 2010 @07:11PM (#33779698)

    We should encourage this: we can hope they'll fight each other to death, and we can disbar the survivors.

  • by bjoast (1310293)
    Maybe they are just trying to get into the criminal mind.
  • by Sierran (155611) on Sunday October 03, 2010 @07:27PM (#33779794)

    The article presents the situation as Andrew Crossley being in conflict with ACS:Law over the use of templates. The problem with that is that Andrew Crossley is in fact the proprietor ("principal?" Don't know the correct term) of ACS:Law, so it would be difficult for ACS:Law to steal his work. To quote WikiP: "The main partner of the company, and its only registered solicitor is Andrew Crossley."

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cupantae (1304123)

      It's all just a big misunderstanding. The person with the issue here is another (completely unrelated) man named Andrew, who crossly told them they were stealing from him.

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Sunday October 03, 2010 @07:31PM (#33779830)

    There is no hypocrisy. Their job is to work with their client and defend their IP. They are not required to be passionate nor they have to personalty believe in it, their job is to defend their clients.
         

    • by sjames (1099) on Sunday October 03, 2010 @07:44PM (#33779906) Homepage

      Actually, as officers of the court, their job also includes dissuading their client from suing if they don't have good cause (rather than wasting court resources and everyone's time and money). When the client DOES have good cause their job becomes vigorous representation (either as plaintiff or defendant).

      • Well it still doesn't mean they have to reflect their own values. The law does state that piracy is bad/illegal, and if someone is doing such is breaking the law. Although they may not agree with the law their professional opinion could be that it would be an appropriate mater to bring to court.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by sjames (1099)

          Yes, they are maintaining that the act of copying without permission rises to a level where the defendant should be smacked down in court for their wrongdoing. Certainly they make that claim while in court as the plaintiff. That is their official position. They then go on to do exactly what they just got finished claiming to be anything but innocent.

          That's what hypocrisy IS, maintaining that others should behave in a particular way (with a claim of sincerity) and then behaving differently yourself. I add th

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Except lawyers, as officers of the court, are supposed to look at a client's case and make a first-look decision whether or not they should even bother bringing the case to court. Its not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing with the law, its a matter of "hundreds of these cases are either lost or simply settled out of court. Unless you have some rock-solid, smoking-gun evidence, I have to dissuade you from bringing this to court."

          • by alexo (9335)

            Except lawyers, as officers of the court, are supposed to look at a client's case and make a first-look decision whether or not they should even bother bringing the case to court.

            Talk about conflict of interests.

      • A really good lawyer finds a good cause in almost any situation.

        Who cares if it is some obscure rule in a footnote, or some procedural glitch that the other party has overlooked.

        • by oiron (697563)

          If it's an obscure footnote or a procedural glitch, nine times out of ten the judge (or jury if you're in one of those countries) will throw it out anyway

          Why do you think laws like the infamous "everyone do archery practice" one from Britain are never enforced?

          A good lawyer may use a loophole to force the other party to settle out of court, by scaring the shit out of them - they may even bring the matter to court as a scare tactic, but it's really not (or should not be) an exercise in sophistry...

          • by Peeteriz (821290)

            Obscure laws can be enforced if anyone wants to. The state doesn't enforce the rights belonging to the state (like the archery requirement and some stupid prohibitions), but if there is an obscure law that says that some people owe *me* money, then I can go to court and there is no way that the court can ignore the old, obscure law.

            Case in point - there is an old, obscure law which states that owners of certain plots of land (that were associated with the church in ~1200's) are required to pay for repairs o

            • While certainly an interesting application of law (and a nice illustration of why laws that society no longer wishes to have enforced should be removed and not simply ignored) that sets a horrible public example for that church. While some may argue otherwise I feel that it is hypocritical for a church (which generally teach people to uphold moral behavior) to, upon discovering this law, make the arguably unethical decision to sue the homeowner for repair costs they were unwilling to cover themselves.
      • This is a good point. When dealing with any attorney, remember that their first duty is not to their client, it is to the court. They all swear this when they pass the bar.

    • Their job is to work with their client and defend their IP. They are not required to be passionate nor they have to personalty believe in it, their job is to defend their clients.

      Let Me tell You A Story, Children: Once upon a time, "the law" and "lawyering" was all about a mysterious thing known as "justice".

      • Was that "back in the day" when you had to walk uphill both ways to school with no shoes and the car analogies all used horses?
  • The FA is a joke! (Score:2, Informative)

    by ygasuasu (803351)
    FTFA: Andrew Crossly claims that the firm contacted him for help, which he provided, but instead of just using his templates as a guide, ACS:Law began to use them as their own without consent. The name is Andrew Crossley. From Wikipedia article on ACS:Law: The main partner of the company, and its only registered solicitor,] is Andrew Crossley. How could ACS:Law steal from its main partner?
    • The 'guilt' of ACS lies in where the work originated from

      The work that Crossly claims was stolen from him was actually copied from yet another firm, Davenport Lyons, who helped Crossly set up his own business

      He claims that he acquired the rights to the work legitimately, but whether that's true or not isn't particularly clear. Also, I'm not sure of what degree of protection legal notices have in the UK and the US. I would think it might be reasonable to argue against copyrighting them should fall within

  • As Pablo Picasso said:

    "Good artists copy, great artists steal"

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by gutnor (872759)
      Yeah, he could have had better taste when stealing.
      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        I see you've never seen his later works, which all used vaginas as models and weren't cubist. IMO there's nothing more beautiful or tasteful than a vagina.

    • Actually, Steve Jobs said that Picasso said that, but he didn't. Stravinsky is reported to have said something similar except about composers, while T.S. Eliot actually said something that both of these quote are likely derived from:

      Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.

      There's no telling where Eliot took that notion from, but they probably didn't come up with it either.

  • Everyone does it.

  • by Fnord666 (889225) on Sunday October 03, 2010 @08:57PM (#33780314) Journal
    If you want to read about what is actually going on, please see this article [arstechnica.com]. The article linked in the summary is riddled with factual inaccuracies.
    • "The article linked in the summary is riddled with factual inaccuracies."

      Translation: "The article linked in the summary makes for interesting reading."

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wvmarle (1070040)

      Interesting, thanks for the link.

      Maybe the best line in that article:

      It turns out that the settlement letter business is terrible for the corporate image.

      This may explain why there are so few law firms actually involved in the settlement business, which in a way reeks of easy money. All they have to do to get settlements, it seems, is sending out those letters. The law is pretty much on their side, and most people don't have the resources let alone the guts to take it to court.

      However with this much public backlash I would hope it's a matter of time before no law firm dares to pick up the

      • by mpe (36238)
        This may explain why there are so few law firms actually involved in the settlement business, which in a way reeks of easy money. All they have to do to get settlements, it seems, is sending out those letters.

        What they are doing is a variation on the old scam of bogus invoicing.

        The law is pretty much on their side, and most people don't have the resources let alone the guts to take it to court.

        IIRC ACS:Law hasn't actually won any any contested court case. The only chance of their "winning" is if the d
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Except the law is not on their side. This is from an article about this on Wired.com, though, so you're welcome to take it from whence it comes.

        the basic gist of this is that in the UK, where these guys have been practicing, there is no statutory claim to damages, and the lawyers in the UK system in a case like this would usually be able to claim only as much as the retail price of one item in damages. That would mean 75p in the case of a single downloaded music track.

        The law firms are sending letters of de

    • The article linked in the summary is riddled with factual inaccuracies.

      That's because the Slashdot editors stopped torrenting it too soon. Those inaccuracies will disappear once more people start seeding the article overnight.

  • In this modern day and age, lawyers exist solely to abuse the legal system by screwing as much money as possible out of somebody.

    Sometimes it's the defendant, sometimes its their own client, sometimes it's just JimBob-Taxpayer-via-the-government.

    I'm not saying that lawyers/soliciters/etc do not understand the meaning of hings like honesty, integrity, common decency and justice - but all they *care about* is how to use those terms to their own benefit.

    "Lawyering" as a business is the practice of justice-f
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Most lawyers don't do this. You just notice the bad ones because if the highly-visible consequences of their actions.

      I guarantee that if you ever find yourself wrongly accused, you will be very grateful that a lawyer is available to defend you.

  • Jason Scott (Score:2, Interesting)

    by doronbc (1434117)
    just talked about this in his defcon talk, "You’re Stealing it Wrong" http://ascii.textfiles.com/archives/2714 [textfiles.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ihmhi (1206036)

      I just wanted to say thanks for pointing that video out to me. I had never heard of Jason Scott and I found his talk very interesting, even though it was over an hour long. I'll definitely be checking his site out: http://textfiles.com/ [textfiles.com].

  • I would expect the riaa and mpaa to drop all their lawsuits tomorrow. There are numerous incidents of them pirating, they cannot even follow their own expectations.
  • Said by a lawyer: "Not all lawyers are crooks, it is just the 99% that make the rest of us have a bad reputation."

  • They should lose their license to practice as copyright lawyers altogether....sort of like a cop killing and trying to get away with it

  • Unlike the US, in the UK, individual lawyers first duty is not to the Client, but to the Law Society (Guild in other words) so the point here is that there is a difference between Andrew Crossley, individual lawyer, and Andrew Crossley, company with a single partner / lawyer.

    You get a lot of "odd" cases that this throws up, especially in Family Law where it is quite likely that a given Client has at some point instructed more than one Lawyer in more than one Case (eg two separate cases against the ex, or tw

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