Andrew Crossley ACS Scam
The Andrew Crossley ACS scam was a string of threatening letters and lawsuits against people in the United Kingdom who allegedly downloaded copyrighted files illegally. Thousands of people received letters from the ACS anti-piracy law firm demanding settlements of up to 500 pounds sterling. ACS Law often dropped lawsuits after judges demanded more evidence of wrongdoing.
Many of the thousands of people who received threatening letters from Andrew Crossley's firm paid their settlements out of fear of getting sued. Others took advice from friends and internet service providers to ignore the letters. ACS law hoped that people would just pay up. They still sued 27 people in the Patents County Court. All such cases were thrown out of court by a judge. Then, the judge charged Andrew Crossley and ACS law for the wasted time and effort.
Andrew Crossley partnered with other companies in this scam, including a porn company called "Media CAT." "Media CAT" was used as a claimant so that there was an official accuser in the phony piracy cases. Another shady firm called "GCB Ltd" suddenly found a role for itself when it became the official company that collected settlement claims from the accused.
Andrew Crossley claimed to a judge after being shut down that he was broke. Following this claim was an email leak that Crossley was considering a purchase of a Ferrari after buying a Bentley.
The Andrew Crossley ACS scam exploited a lot of loopholes in the Digital Economy Act which regulates privacy rights and intellectual property rights. Now, lawmakers are scrambling to patch these holes so that no one else can exploit them. Internet service providers are also figuring out how best to protect their customers' privacy after being forced to hand over the personal information of thousands of individuals to ACS Law.