Game Developers Go Nuts, Suing Up to 25,000 File-Sharers

Five of the world’s top game developers team up to fight illegal file-sharing of popular game titles, demanding the name and IPs of suspects who’ll be asked to pay 300 pounds ($557 USD) each to settle.

UK-based law firm Davenport Lyons is leading the charge on behalf of Atari, Topware Interactive, Reality Pump, Techland and Codemaster game developers to crack down on the illegal file-sharing of their titles.

‘Our clients are incensed by the level of illegal downloading,” said Roger Billens, a partner of Davenport Lyons. “Hopefully people will think twice if they risk being taken to court.’

The law firm said it would apply to the High Court to force ISPs to release the names and addresses of 7,000 suspected file-sharers.

The number of people prosecuted for piracy by Davenport Lyons could reach 25,000, according to a report in the Daily Mail on Wednesday. They would be offered the chance to pay 300 pounds ($557 USD) each for damages to settle out of court, the report added.

It also claims that the first 500 who ignore the letters will “face immediate legal action” by the game developers.

The suspected file-sharers were identified by a Swiss forensic computer company Logistep. It searched for the users’ IP address, a unique number allocated to every computer that connects to the Internet.

“Illegal file-sharing is a very serious issue resulting in millions of pounds of losses to copyright owners,” said David Gore, another of the law firm’s partners.

He added that “Taking direct action against file-sharers will become an ‘important and effective’ weapon to tackle online piracy.

The news comes on the heels of a recent effort by the same law firm about a month ago on behalf of Topware Interactive when it sued some 100 people for illegally sharing copies of it’s Dream Pinball 3-D game.

Some of have already weighed in on the case:

This has been a hot topic since the beginning of home recording technologies and the “debate” will never cease.

Due to the belief that all roads lead to piracy and that digital piracy of goods is a ‘bad thing’, we’re seeing individual rights being dissolved, privacy being violated and people dictating how we enjoy our movies and music and the like… limiting innovation for fear of loss in profits without actually conducting research that may demonstrate a greater return on their investments should the cease this wild goose chase.

There is no conclusive un-biased evidence that can link so-called digital piracy to negative impacts on sales of popular media. The ongoing “fight” is mere evidence that the current model of distribution for most popular media, along with the law protecting it, is antiquated and in need of heavy revision. It no longer works in the best interest of anyone at all really…

People are afraid of new ideas and always have been.

The truth is, the question of whether file sharing is “moral or not” is very subjective. It depends entirely on the intentions of the individual. One way of looking at it – In some countries, the law only punishes those who commit the act of file SHARING rather than those whom actively seek shared goods. If there is a middle ground at all, I don’t believe punishing individuals for accessing content available is the solution as they’re not the ones causing the problem.

I for one do not support raw piracy, but the ‘path of least resistance.’

Obtaining a new or hard to find album digitally is convenient, “green” and instantly gratifying. I think less often piracy happens because of the cost of the products but rather because there have been more innovations in stealing music than selling it!

Stop hiring lawyers and start hiring developers and you’ll see a lot more return on your investment.

I couldn’t agree more.