Controversial London law firm ACS:Law makes more money from legal fines than copyright holders do, according to a report in The Guardian.
The company discovers individuals sharing copyrighted content illegally through file sharing tools and then goes through the courts to obtain orders compelling ISPs to hand over customer details. Alleged infringers can then expect to face a settlement demand typically around £300 in order to avoid court.
ACS:Law hit the news when the firm leaked substantial amounts of data on its website by accident, revealing details of thousands of ISP customers as well as internal communications. The fall out has since expanded to ISPs such as BT which ahd sent customer details unencrypted following court orders.
Citing a leaked business plan from German firm DigiRights Solutions, The Guardian revealed that around 10 per cent of revenue from these settlements went to outsourced firms that discover file sharers on public networks, 15 per cent goes to ISPs to retrieve the data but only 20 per cent of the revenue ends up going to the copyright holders.
Despite the fees payable to ISPs and the piracy sleuth contractors, law firms like ACS:Law can expect to gain far more than the copyright holders will despite never having taken a copyright infringement case to court.