ACS: Law Withdraws from File-Sharing Cases

Mike Halsey MVP
Jan 25, 2011
Updated • Nov 30, 2012
Music and Video

It's been on ongoing story and has produced the first ruling on file-sharing in the UK where Judge Birss said back in December 2010, "The term used by those sections of the Act is ‘authorising’ and the difference may be very important if the allegation is about unauthorised use of an Internet router by third parties".  Now the lawyer for ACS: Law, the firm that has issued thousands of letters demanding damages on behalf of its client MediaCAT is withdrawing from the 27 cases currently in front of the same county court.

In a statement, MediaCAT's barrister, Tim Ludbrook read a statement from solicitor Andrew Crossley that said "I have ceased my work...I have been subject to criminal attack. My e-mails have been hacked. I have had death threats and bomb threats." according to a report by the BBC.  "It has caused immense hassle to me and my family," he added.

ACS: Law was the firm at the centre of a hacking scandal back on September 2010 when thousands of its emails were exposed showing the people who were being accused of downloading pornographic movies for free.  Consumer groups have said that ACS: Law were sending thousands of letters to innocent people and some ISPs refused to hand over details of their customers.

Judge Birss, the same judge who ruled on the case in December said "I want to tell you that I am not happy. I am getting the impression with every twist and turn since I started looking at these cases that there is a desire to avoid any judicial scrutiny."  This follows accusations that ACS: Law have been seeking to extract money from people without ever having any intention of taking them to court.  These accusations intensified when it was discovered that ACS: Law was pocketing 65% of the money collected.

Mr Ludbrook said "It has always been my intention to litigate and, but for the fact that I have ceased this work, my intention was to litigate forcefully in these 27 cases."  It has emerged however that another law firm, GCB Ltd has now begun sending similar letters, including to one person who had received a letter from ACS: Law saying they would be taking no further action against them.

According to the BBC...

Judge Birss said he was considering banning MediaCAT from sending any more such letters until the issues raised by the cases had been resolved.  The judge was keen to find out what the relationship was between GCB and ACS: Law, something Mr Crossley sought to clarify in his statement.  He said that he had no connection with GCB Ltd beyond the fact that the founders of the firm had previously been employed at ACS: Law.

Barrister Guy Tritton [acting on behalf of the accused] questioned the nature of the letters sent by ACS: Law, asking why it described MediaCAT as a "copyright protection society," - a title that he said was "misleading".

This has raised serious questions about whether an IP address could be used to positively identify a person who has downloaded illegal content.  Many have said that lawyers are attempting to exploit the legal system and the lack of technical knowledge of judges.  Judge Birss is expected to deliver his judgement on the case later this week and we'll bring you the story as it happens.


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Anonymous said on August 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Why not make use of the mplayer.conf?

  2. Mike J said on August 1, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Huh, I have never even seen this “font cache” pane; videos play at once for me, using VLC & XP SP3.

    1. Martin said on August 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      Mike, in theory this should have only been displayed once to you, at the very first video that you played with VLC. The time this window is displayed depends largely on the number of fonts in your font directory.

      1. Mike J said on August 2, 2010 at 2:30 pm

        huh, I lucked out for a change?? Amazing!!
        Apparently VLC keeps this info through version updates, but I didn’t see this message after a fresh OS install about 8 weeks ago, & a new VLC.

  3. myo said on August 1, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    yes, yes, i have the same problem. sometimes, VLC crashes when it is playing .mov file.

  4. Kishore said on August 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Buidling font Cache pop-up


    Open VLC player.

    On Menu Bar:


    (at bottom – left side)
    Show settings — ALL

    Open: Video
    Click: Subtitles/OSD (This is now highlited, not opened)
    Text rendering module – change this to “Dummy font renderer function”


    Re-open – done.
    Progam will no longer look outside self for fonts

    Source –

    1. Martin said on August 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm

      Great tip, thanks a lot Kishore.

  5. javier said on August 14, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    @Kishore, I’ll try your tips, but does this mean it will no longer show subtitles either?
    I do use subtitles, but the fontcache dialog box pops up (almost) everytime I play a file.

    Could this be related to the fonts I have installed? Or if I add/remove fonts to my system?

    I’ll try to do a fresh install also, if your tips does no work. I’ll post back here later…


  6. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,

  7. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,Dont worry, VLC is currently sorting out this issue and the next version will be out soon.

    No probs @ Martin !! Its my pleasure

  8. Ted said on October 22, 2010 at 3:57 am

    Try running LC with administrator privileges. That seemed to fix it for me

  9. Evan said on December 8, 2013 at 1:48 am

    I am using SMplayer 0.8.6 (64-bit) (Portable Edition) on Windows 7 x64. Even with the -nofontconfig parameter in place SMplayer still scans the fonts. Also, I have enabled normal subtitles and it is still scanning fonts before playing a video. Also, it does this every time the player opens a video after a system restart (only the fist video played).

  10. Mike Williams said on September 6, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    Does that mean that only instrumental versions of songs will be available for non-paying users?

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.