While a lot of the focus of this site is on legal and technical information, it is also important to catalogue the human side of this issue. Here you will find stories from people who visit this site, describing their experiences with these letters and describing how the stress of having to fight a false accusation has affected them, their lives and their families.
Adding stress to an already high-risk pregnancy
"The dreaded letter arrived in May 2009 addressed to my other half. Ive been dealing with the responses for her for many reasons of which I will go through as it will help to give a back story.
Most games made by these people have been BIG flops in general terms of gaming. Having said that, I do own Two Worlds (the game we are being accused of sharing) on the Xbox 360 and in a strange twist of fate it WAS one of my all time favourite games. I also downloaded the demo for the PC but it totally overheated my video card. Because of this I would have no intention of owning it for PC be it a pirate copy or original.
My other reason for doing all the 'grunt work' on this for my Mrs is the fact that these accusations are ruining our life as well as causing serious harm to my partner.
My partner is disabled and has many health issues so for that fact alone it is devastating for us both. We have been trying for a baby for 7 years and were told our chances where not too great but finally back in Febuary we got the news we had waited so long for: we where expecting a baby!
I find the underhanded techniques that ACS:Law are using to bully money out of people sickening.
"Thank god for your website! I received my first letter last night and my hands started shaking as I read through it - I immediately called my 18 year old son down and started shouting at him that he must have downloaded something illegal - he was as shocked as me!
After a while I re-read it and thought it must have been a scam as I Googled the names of the rights holders and they were porn stars! The actual letter didn't look much and was unprofessionally written for solicitors, they couldn't even be bothered to put a name at the end of the letter, just a scanned phrase.
My son had never heard of the game mentioned, we did a search which came up with nothing on our computer and he assures me he's always really careful that he doesn't do anything illegal - he's in the middle of his A levels at the moment and is really scared which is the last thing he needs at this time of stress.
When we found this website I have managed to calm him down a bit but I'm absolutely fuming that we have been sent this in the first place - supposedly taking place a year and a half ago and on an internet number that isn't our own - I don't understand much of what they were talking about but I know we would never knowingly do anything illegal - we are a typical family just getting by.
With the help of this website, I am going to use one of the templates today and write a letter of denial and see where we go from here. It has given me more courage than I hoped reading other people's experiences. I just need the courage to tell my husband - he will go ballistic but I'll have this website open and get him to read this straight after and that will give me strength. I just hope that my son can block it out at the moment and do as well as he can with his remaining A level."
I DID NOT DO IT!
"I just want to say thank you and thank god for the people behind this site. I have not been able to get this out of my mind since the first letter arrived from ACS:Law in May 09. I replied explaining that it was not me, only to get a second letter on 28/5/09 totally ignoring my response.
I also think I should mention Lawdit solicitors who I have spoken to a couple of times regarding this situation. Their free telephone help has provided me with a great deal of support.
I just want to shout to the whole world I DID NOT DO IT! Of course the world doesn't care so I will have to confine my outburst to this site. Where's the BBC, The Sun or Esther Rantzen when you need them?"
Hard to cope with
Story from an Average Joe
"In early May 2009, I received two letters in innocuous-looking envelopes, sent by 2nd class post. When I opened the envelopes, I was confronted with 2 Letters of Claim. I noticed the phrase 'Infringement of Copyright' and a lot of technical jargon about IP addresses and P2P, followed by more pages of legal jargon. Lastly there was a page on how to pay.
My initial thoughts were: 'How the hell and why the hell have I been sent this?'. Although I am an avid gamer, I do NOT download games over P2P ever. Then I wondered who might have done it to get me into trouble.
I phoned the firm who sent the letters. They asked for a reference number and promised they would call me back. To my knowledge they have not done so. Then I started to worry about how to write a denial to the accusations. Seeing as I am one of the people who are struggling to make ends meet in the current climate, I really can't handle further debt problems, further stress and worry.
After a frantic look on the internet I found a solitary post on a forum about this letter being sent out. Within a couple of hours there were posts added by many more people. My stress levels really started to rise because I did not have a clue where to start on defending myself. I did not know who to contact or even how to write a letter to send a denial.
I told my fiancée about it and she was initially shocked. She noted it was a civil claim and not a criminal claim and that calmed me down a bit. As the days wore on I started to think about the little things, such as 'how do you actually defend yourself against this?', 'what do you do in court?'.
I wondered if I would be able to keep it together if things went that far. After a week of this my fiancée started to notice a change in my mood. She asked if it was getting a bit too much and we had a heart to heart. I was and am still grateful for her support.
Over the next few days more and more posts started to appear and a forum link appeared. It seems I was not the only one in this predicament. It turned out that this kind of thing had been done before by another law firm. I could not believe that some people were still in the same boat after 2 years of playing 'letter tennis'. This made me feel like I am not alone. People were now standing together and finding information and inconsistencies. What made me really angry is that the company involved in getting the IP addresses is banned in certain countries, yet over here they are still allowed to get innocent folk into trouble.
It was a turn for the better when this website was launched. It has now become a second home of sorts for the victims to keep up to date on the issue. After doing a lot of reading and educating myself I have now developed a thick skin. I am not stressing out over it anymore because people are uniting to fight this whole sorry mess. I know there are a lot of people willing to help. It has been a massive help in the denial letter process. I have sent out a denial and am waiting for my second letter from the solicitors.
I am your average Joe, doing his best for his kids. I don't own my house or have anything particularly valuable in my life except the love for my family. It seems highly unfair that people like myself get accused on such flimsy evidence, and that we are expected to cough up insane amounts of money to line the pockets of lawyers, just because they say so.
Do not get stressed out like I did. There is a lot of information in forums, articles and on this site that will help you put (and keep) things in perspective."
"The only scooter I know of is a disability scooter"
I received my first letter a few days ago in July 2009. I was so shocked and did not understand it so I just kept re-reading it. My hands were shaking and I felt sick. My heart was racing. What was this all about? It said that I had downloaded Scooter. The only scooter I know of is a disability scooter as I have cancer and each day that comes is a bonus to me.
Strength to fight
"My wife received her letter in June 2009, and we went through all of the stress that other recipients felt including my wife not being able to sleep because she is now convinced that she is going to jail. That may sound foolish but she believes it.
"I feel like a criminal"
"I just received my first letter in June 2009 for a porn film. I was shocked! My wireless system is used by anyone that comes to stay, but I have never downloaded this film. Like many other people on your site I feel like a criminal.
Thank god your site is there to give advice. I plan to fight it all the way and will stay strong as I have done nothing wrong.
It has caused a lot of stress because you cant believe it can happen to you. I can still not understand why our goverment will not pick this up and deal with it. I have not received my second letter yet. Please keep your site going, we need you."
"I got my letter in June 2009 and my immediate reaction was utter horror. I am on 5 different kinds of medication for various things, including high blood pressure, so you can imagine what this letter did to me. The same feelings that everybody has described: nausea, shock, numbness, heart racing, confusion, distress, you name it, I felt it. I was made redundant recently, and I'm still out of work. I have debt issues everywhere and may even lose my home, so do I really need this right now?
I was thinking: how do i pay this? Should I pay this? Where do I get the money? But I'm innocent, I dont download from p2p.
So I started digging and I found this site, where other people are in the same situation, most for a lot longer than me. So here I am, suddenly feeling less stressed, and less worried, though still concerned, my denial letter in the post, and awaiting the outcome. I will be a regular visitor to this site from now on, and we will all fight this together. I have made new friends today, and thanks to all the people making so much effort for the greater good, we will overcome this together."
Not a gamer
"I am am woman in my mid forties. In May this year I too received a letter from ACS:Law stating that I had downloaded the game Two Worlds. I am very new to computing and the internet and I didn't understand much of the terminology used in the letter especially the terms peer to peer and torrent.
I was very distressed by this letter; it looked so official. After my initial shock I called a friend of mine who advised me to Google ACS:Law. I did and came across the forums which I have been avidly following, sometimes not understanding the terminology used by some of the posters, my comprehension of computers being very limited.
I suffer from anxiety and this could have really pushed me over the edge if it wasn't for the people on these forums. I would like to express my thanks to all concerned for the advice and support I have received.
At the beginning of June I sent off my LOD. As of yet I have received no reply. Lastly I would like to say that I am not a gamer and never have been."
Let down by the legal system
"It is taking over our lives"
"I would never wish for this to happen to anyone"
"My first letter arrived in May 2009. Reading the accusations I had a huge panic attack. I started thinking this was a grave mistake because I didn’t have a clue what they were talking about. I’m not a gamer. How’s this possible?
Submit your story
Please try to answer the following questions in your story:
1. When did you get your first letter? (month and year only, no exact dates please)
2. How did it make you feel? Did you respond to it?
3. When did you get your next letter? (month and year only, no exact dates please)
4. Have you received any letters since? If so, how many?
5. Have you been taken to court over this? (I know, probably no one ever has but I have to ask)
6. How have you been coping with the stress and upset caused by these letters? Has it affected your health or your family life? How much is it affecting you today?
Please try to keep your answers to a paragraph each (of course less is also fine). Rants or defamatory language will not be published.
Don't worry about spelling and grammar; published stories will be edited.
Thank you for sharing your story!