Computer games: Industry acts on illegal downloads
The computer games industry is launching a crackdown on people who illegally download games from the internet by writing to 25,000 people in Britain suspected of illegally sharing files and asking them to pay £300 immediately to avoid any further legal action.
Five of the world's top game developers will initially target 500 people who refuse to pay up, according to the Times.
The move follows a judge's ruling this week to force an unemployed mother-of-two living in Britain to pay £16,000 to manufacturer Topware.
Isabela Barwinska became the first person in Britian to be ordered to pay damages after downloading Dream Pinball for free through a file-sharing site. The game costs £26.
Four people were recently found by the Central London County Court to have infringed copyright by sharing games illegally.
The aggressive action marks a dramatic change in the approach to copyright on the internet.
It is estimated that as many as six million people in Britain share games illegally.
But five companies - Atari, Topware Interactive, Reality Pump, Techland and Codemasters - have appointed law firm Davenport Lyons to tackle the problem.
The companies make some of the world's most popular games, including The Lord of the Rings.
Sales of computer games are predicted to reach £2bn in Britain this year.
The Guardian, Wednesday August 20 2008
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