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CRAMER PELMONT – 2 day u-turn? and what of the others?

The ongoing battle against alleged unlawful file sharing continues as its reported that Cramer & Pelmont were the “new kids on the block” in the world of what has been dubbed speculative invoicing or were they?  Cramer & Pelmont seem to have the record for the quickest u-turn and whilst they were reportedly not going down the route of warning letters like so many before them.

Which? magazine was told recently by Dr Brassley of Cramer Pelmont:

We are working with the film and music industry (strictly non-adult) in the development of an appropriate response to the Digital Economy Act, but I can assure you we have no intentions of taking any business model ideas from ACS Law.

And maybe Dr Brassley has sage advice when he says “no intentions of taking any business model ideas from ACS Law” because I wouldn’t have thought there are many law firms out there at the moment which would see the ACS:Law business model as very desirable.  This was reported on the 4th of October, however things seem to change in the world of p2p pursuit, quicker than a torrent of ACS:Law’s leaked emails.  I find it very interesting when they use the term “strictly non-adult” because we have been led to believe by other firms working in this area that their motives (aswell as representing their clients) is some sort of crusade to curb piracy.  Surely “piracy” is “piracy” adult material or not?

I will move onto what it’s believed Cramer and Pelmont were to be up to, but first have some questions that I think need answered.  Firstly, what is the current status of ACS:Law?  assuming that at least for the time being their revenue stream has dried up and, assuming that there are still outstanding privacy issues and SRA complaints that need resolving (no pun intended) can we assume that ACS:Law has now effectively shut up shop? ISP’s don’t seem to want to co-operate with them either, so is it fair to say that ACS:Law is out of the game?  ISPReview certainly seems to think so and say in a recent article:

A London based law firm, Cramer Pelmont Solicitors, has threatened to pick up where ACS:Law left off by pursuing broadband ISP customers whom it suspects of being involved with “illegal” copyright p2p file sharing activity.

Now maybe ISPReview is privy to some press release/report that I’m not, but Ive certainly not seen anything to suggest that ACS:Law is officially shutting up shop for Cramer Pelmont “to pick up”.  Infact I would suggest that ACS:Law is currently trying to carry on with business as usual, defiantly in the face of the mess that has been created by the leak of their emails.  And what of Gallant Macmillan? there does not seem to have been a press release from them either and on monday 4th October 2010, when their application for a court order to reveal the names and address of suspected file sharers of material belonging to Ministry of Sound was adjourned until January 2011.  Surely as far as GM are concerned, this particular revenue stream has dried up until the new year?

Then theres Ministry of Sound, the company who retained GM to do this “work” for them, there does not seem to be any statement regarding the 4chan Ddos attacks, nor the fact that in respect of pursuing those which are alleged to have infringed on their copyright will have to wait until next year.

So what was Cramer Pelmont up to?

It could be an interesting question.  From Dr Brassley seemingly trying to distance himself from an ACS:Law-esque approach to the subject, it seems the suggestion is that the work would have been in respect of the Digital Economy Act, an act which seems to receive criticism from people on both sides of the alleged unlawful file sharing debate.  How that work would manifest itself is pretty academic now since they appear to have given up after 2 days.

Don’t call us, we’ll call you

The “branching out” of Cramer Pelmont was reported on the 4th of October and in a lifespan so short that makes the Kin look long lived, Pelmont Cramer announced on the 6th of October that they no longer would be pursuing this line of “work”, again ISPreview reports Dr Brassley saying (on the Cramer Pelmont site):

Cramer Pelmont has ceased its interest in working with clients in the area of the Digital Economy Act. It continues to work on all other aspects of [Intellectual Property].

(Although I cannot see that quote on their homepage at all – has it been removed?)

I’ll try to ignore that “Brassley” is very similar to ACS:Law’s “Crossley” and I think we can rule out any allegations of an alter-ego since I think Andrew Crossley’s dedication to the p2p world is far more determined than Brassley’s.

So Cramer Pelmont were in and now they are out again?  Could this be as a result of the Ddos attacks by 4chan members on anyone who has a remote connection to this line of “work” or could it be, more likely, that Monday’s adjournment has demonstrated that it’s no longer a line of work where a quick buck can be made? – I’ll let you decide and probably come up with your own reason and more importantly, on whose instructions was it to “pull out”? the clients of Cramer and Pelmont or Cramer Pelmont themselves?

Terence Tsang

And now we look at Mr Terence Tsang.  Its reported that he was to be employed by Cramer and Pelmont to assist in this new scheme of theirs, but now after the u-turn seems to have been shown the door.  Mr Tsang has a past with ACS:Law and is mentioned in the leaked emails from the aforementioned firm.

It’s reported that Cramer Pelmont have already taken his page from their site,  Mr Tsang’s quick name removal is probably a good idea if they intend to pull out of this type of “scheme” and his actions have been reported widely on the net over this whole issue.

Those who have been following this whole file sharing debacle as diligently as me will remember that Mr Tsang advertised for a coder to create a package to log and resolve IP addresses, a package which could be created in Python in a matter of hours (for example)  Im not sure if he ever got a return on that investment and if he’s dragged into any future legal action against ACS:law, I would doubt that it was worth the money.

A good word for Andrew Crossley and ACS:Law?

If there were not reportedly innocent people accused here or breaches of privacy, the whole saga would be rather humorous.  It does bring up a point which I don’t believe has been covered before.

I would like you to put aside for one minute any feelings you may have about the actions of Andrew Crossley/ACS:Law and lets consider TBI solicitors. [1]  Imagine you had instructed a law firm to represent your interests in court only to have them pull out through bad publicity fears or simply just pull out.  I can’t speak for you, but if it was me I would not want to employ any law firm to represent me if they had a background of backing off when things got a little hot.  Whilst TBI Solicitors might be pleased that they have removed themselves from the whole file sharing fiasco, the one thing you can say about Andrew Crossley and ACS:Law is that they are determined – whatever their motives, be it on the grounds on honest held belief in the “wrongs of copyright infringement” or merely after a quick buck.  Can the same be said of TBI?

ACS:Law appears to me now to have passed the point of no return, I think if they are allowed to continue to practice, a retreat from the file-sharing issue would probably do more harm to their reputation than good.  With that in mind though (and no further press releases) one is only left to wonder what’s really going on in ACS:Law offices at the moment and what the future holds for Mr Crossley and his staff.

Here’s something else to consider, could it be the “average” user sat behind their computer screen as a hobby has managed to stop the legal profession?  It certainly seems that way to me and the law firms involved have certainly not had an easy time of it, challenged by, not some legal monster, but the average person.  What ever happens in the future, one things for sure, it would make a great movie and really shows that whilst corporations can use the net as a powerful sales tool, the same internet can turn just as quickly and bring even the large firm to their knees.

Notes

[1] TBI Solicitors briefly dabbled (allegedly) in the business dubbed “speculative invoicing”

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

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About Tim Sparrow

Online tech writer, novelist/author of sci-fi literature and co-host of the TechBytes Show! I believe in multi-culturism & diversity. Luton Town FC supporter.

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