Law firm ACS:Law is demanding £295 from consumers that it accuses of illegal file sharing. The move has prompted an investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) into its actions and several similar instances involving other law firms.
ISP comparison site Broadband Genie said it is receiving an average of an email every day from concerned visitors who have received letters from the law firm. The figure of £295 that the firm is demanding is large enough to be considered a substantial sum for an individual, yet small enough to deter ordinary citizens from taking legal action.
The web site said that many recipients of the law firm’s letters claim to have no idea that they have done anything wrong. And many consumer groups argue that they have not, with some describing the action as a "bullying tactic".
Last year, law firm Davenport Lyons was implementing a similar procedure which culminated in a case of mistaken identity when a retired 64-year-old man was accused of sharing a hardcore pornographic movie via BitTorrent. The man received an apology and the law firm’s demands for money ended.