Decision comes a month after bad publicity following law firms incredulous targeting of a non-gaming elderly couple.
It was a little over 3 months ago that five of the world’s top game developers, Atari, Topware Interactive, Reality Pump, Techland and Codemaster, decided to hire UK-based law firm Davenport Lyons to begin suing file-sharers illegally distributing their game titles.
The number of people to be targeted was estimated at around 25,000, each of whom would be offered the chance to pay 300 pounds ($557 USD) to "conveniently" settle out of court.
Bad publicity followed soon thereafter with a report that a non-gaming elderly couple was caught up in the blind dragnet.
"We do not have, and have never had, any computer game or sharing software," said Gill Murdoch and her husband, aged 54 and 66 respectively. "We did not even know what ‘peer to peer’ was until we received the letter."
The lawsuit was quickly dropped without comment by Atari, but the bad publicity still lingered and called into question the effectiveness of Davenport Lyons tactics.
Now it seems that Atari has decided to part ways with Davenport Lyons altogether, though it hasn’t sworn off targeting file-sharers altogether.
Atari’s legal department penned an email to UK website The Register, saying, "In relation to file-sharing, our position is that we always retain and reserve the right to protect our intellectual property from illegal copying and piracy. Whilst we are no longer working with Davenport Lyons, we continue to work with legal advisers to protect our rights."
Davenport Lyons has specialized in the mass prosecution of suspected file-sharers, and has also falsely targeted other elderly UK couples, the most recent for allegedly downloading German porn.