U.K. Legal Firm Warns Of Further Action Against File-Sharers

U.K. Legal Firm Warns Of Further Action Against File-Sharers

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U.K. law firm Davenport Lyons has pledged to step up its fight against game copying, and has called on the country's videogame industry to support its efforts.

The firm came to prominence in late August after it was contracted by a group of companies including Atari and Codemasters to bring action against file traders. Saying its clients were "incensed by the level of illegal downloading," the company said it planned to contact individuals accused of downloading files with demands for an out-of-court settlement worth roughly $550, with threats of more serious legal action awaiting those who refused. in the first such case, an unemployed mother of two was ordered to pay almost $30,000 for downloading Dream Pinball 3D from a file-sharing site.

Commenting on that case, Roger Billins of Davenport Lyons told MCV, "This is significant because it's one of the first cases of its kind in the U.K. It's sending a message to file-sharers that if they continue to do what they do, then they're running the risk of having to pay considerably more than the retail cost of the work. We're very happy to assist other companies that are interested in taking part in this campaign."

"It's difficult to deal with piracy, especially peer-to-peer networks, and we believe that our campaign is a way of reducing piracy," he continued. "File-sharing has become very serious, with many millions downloading copyright material, and software like BitTorrent is making things easier."

Several companies in the U.K. and elsewhere have criticized the legal campaign against file sharers, saying it's a mistake to punish consumers, but Billins disagrees, advocating a more hard-nosed approach to the problem. "People who steal your product are not your customers," he said. "We do not have a very high opinion of such statements. There's too much sympathy for people who've been asked to stop infringing companies' copyrights."

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It's difficult to disagree with penalising pirates, but when the first case is to fine somebody who clearly can't afford it, and to fine them an obscene amount, it's also pretty difficult to maintain sympathy for the prosecutors.

Does it suggest nobody is exempt? Yeah, it does... does it also suggest they'll be looking to make the biggest, boldest example or statement for the opening lawsuits? Certainly smells like that over here.

*Pointing and laughing*

Oh fuck off and stop some hoodies. SOLVE SOME REAL CRIMES YOU MORONIC WASTES OF TIME.

What do you expect though really. A Law firm see's an opportunity to get a cheap shitty headline and a big pile of legal fees. The level of the fine itself is pretty fucking disgraceful. When the roles are reversed (i.e. some greedy little shit spots a loophole and hands a lawsuit to some enormous company) I can't think of a single case i've read about where the company is ever required to pay anything more than what would be considered pocket shrapnel, presuming they lose in the first place given they can get far better legal counsel than the average idiot on the street. In conclusion Atari, Codemasters et al are twats. At the risk of sounding all 'peace and love' Stardock is an example of a company that reduces piracy by not treating consumers like scum in the first place and sueing the little guy will not stop people ripping off their software. Everyone will just hate them more.

Wow, they sure are noble.

why is it only games/companies no-one cares about? major inferiority complex issues.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPAO-lZ4_hU&feature=related

Watch the bit at 46:17. That's what I'm referring to.

The entire thing is good though.

Meanwhile, here in Canada, I could download Spore right now (if I cared enough to) and EA would have to suck it up and look the other way.

As long as I'm not hosting the file, it's not against the law to download from a file-sharing site. Anything.

Gives me a warm glow of superiority even now.

Malygris:
Several companies in the U.K. and elsewhere have criticised the legal campaign against file sharers, saying it's a mistake to punish consumers, but Billins disagrees, advocating a more hard-nosed approach to the problem. "People who steal your product are not your customers," he said. "We do not have a very high opinion of such statements. There's too much sympathy for people who've been asked to stop infringing companies' copyrights."

Thing is though, they never were your customers to begin with. Why waste money on prosecuting people, with many who can't really afford it, and lowering your reputation, while you could take more affirmative action, like include physical extras or something when they purchase a copy?

Not to defend piracy, but have they ever considered that people will download games because they don't think the game is worth the price? They make statements like, "Pirating is costing the industry billions," and you have to wonder if they realize that just because someone downloads a game/movie/song doesn't necessarily mean that they'd spend the money on it if the free download wasn't available. They probably just wouldn't play it...and wouldn't buy it.

Lord knows I wouldn't have paid for a pinball game.

Here's an idea...why not charge people for the price of the game? As in, they catch someone who has say 200 dl'd games on their computer, why not rather than impose an arbitrary fine, instead charge them for each individual cost of a game.

So, say I dl Spore, I have it, it cost me €49.99, so if I dl it, make me pay that 49.99 instead, with maybe a small fee on top of that, say make it about €55 instead, thus I'm actually better off buying it than dl'ing it.

Although, the problem with that is, you'd only have to pay it of course if you got caught...

These things pop up every once in a while and they like to make you think that they are making big strides in prosecuting pirates. But in reality thats 1 person out of the many millions of people that pirate. After 8-9 years, why haven't they realized that the scare-tactic is not catching on? These guys are even insulting companies like EA that said they wouldn't join in because it obviously wasn't working.

HalfShadow:
Meanwhile, here in Canada, I could download Spore right now (if I cared enough to) and EA would have to suck it up and look the other way.

As long as I'm not hosting the file, it's not against the law to download from a file-sharing site. Anything.

Gives me a warm glow of superiority even now.

Lucky Bugger. But seriously? $30,000?? couldn't they just ask for the game's RRP plus a bit extra?

"People who steal your product are not your costumers"

And people who use the public's ignorance on the subject of IP to elicit moral sympathy are not not engaging in Mccarthyism.

Glad we could agree, man from the article.

Quoting http://torrentfreak.com/uk-game-piracy-the-propaganda-the-evidence-and-the-damages-080821/ :
Let's get something clear. The defendant, Isabella Barwinska, didn't turn up in court - that's according to Simon Perry over at Digital Lifestyles: "The text [in the article] was from the official comment that I received from Davenport's PR company Bell Pottinger," he told us. And here it is:

The initial default judgment was made against her was at the London County Court on 27 May. Subsequently the Patents County Court in London handed down damages of 6,086.56 plus costs and disbursements of 10,000.

For those still unconvinced, this Channel4 news report states clearly that Miss Isabella Barwinska, the recipient of this huge penalty, did not defend herself, she did not respond to letters and her side of the story has never been heard. Thankfully, not every news outlet fell for the 'landmark victory' line.

Just in case this still isn't clear (please forgive me for this reiteration but it's vital): It was impossible for her to win her case so this defeat (default judgment) means little for the other people facing these accusations who actually have a defense.

dekkarax:

Lucky Bugger. But seriously? $30,000?? couldn't they just ask for the game's RRP plus a bit extra?

They originally asked for 300 but she decided to fight it. That brings in all the legal fees...boosting it to that and then backed out by not replying.

I'm struggling to see why Gamestop or others are not getting taken to court for 'file-sharing' though. Because that's basically what they're doing.

HOW DARE YOU SHARE! Err...STEAL!

This reminds me of Disney suing schools that showed their movies to multiple people.

Glad I wasn't prosecuting her, would have nightmares about starving children

Wouldn't it be more beneficial cracking down on the crime on the street? Yes, it's against the law, but is it really paining anyone? You get the occaisional story of companies going out of business but when you think about it, people are only going to torrent expensive, popular games. Is it still legal to torrent a game you already own?

Phoenix Arrow:
Wouldn't it be more beneficial cracking down on the crime on the street? Yes, it's against the law, but is it really paining anyone? You get the occaisional story of companies going out of business but when you think about it, people are only going to torrent expensive, popular games. Is it still legal to torrent a game you already own?

/hyper-cynical mode
Yeh, but then the lawyers wouldn't get paid.

Look at it like this:
Cost to the woman : bankruptcy
Cost to the legal system : nil
Cost to the taxpayer : legal fees in credit
Cost to the gaming firms : free advertisement
Cost to the ISP's : Looking at their files
Cost to the smart P2p'ers : None, they're anonymous to the ISP's.

Effect on the world : Almost negligible.

Winners : Gaming Companies and Lawyers
Losers : General Public.

That's right, criminalise and bankrupt your punters. Sure they downloaded the game you busted them for, but what about all the other games they bought?

Obviously talking personal use and not some dude copying 1,000 disks and selling them at a car boot sale or Saturday market.

Isabella Barwinska - dirty little polish thieves :D (dont ban me im polish :) )

also anyone know if any american or british company can bring me to prosecution cross-country?
or would i be prosecuted on behalf of the local branch of that company?
or what?

maxusy3k:
It's difficult to disagree with penalising pirates, but when the first case is to fine somebody who clearly can't afford it, and to fine them an obscene amount, it's also pretty difficult to maintain sympathy for the prosecutors.

Does it suggest nobody is exempt? Yeah, it does... does it also suggest they'll be looking to make the biggest, boldest example or statement for the opening lawsuits? Certainly smells like that over here.

I'll just say it. The bigger the risk the better the reward. You take the risk of getting games for free. But currently the risk is minimal. Something had to eventually be done to make the risk more even to the field. You want a game for free? You risk having to end up paying $550. You want to pay for the game you only pay $50

So all they could catch was an unemployed mother of two? And they throw the book at her? And are proud of it?

There goes any future vacation plans to the UK. Sounds like Somalia or China may be safer.

If they were never your customers, why do you have to sue them? I'm a customer, and I'll be quikly alienated by any company imposing unfair punishment for pirating their software.

I don't really pirate anything. If something's worth the price, I pay it. If it isn't, I don't really want it anyways. I own over 1000 books, 300 DVD's and around 90 games.

That said... I would pirate Assassin's Creed 2 in a heartbeat (if I actually wanted to play it). Ubisoft has declared war on the pirates. I've got no inherent problem with this. But instead of using (metaphorically) surgical strikes, snipers and smart missiles to eliminate their 'enemy' - they have elected to simply firebomb and sarin-gas the entire country. And since the pirates are prepared for this, with their bunkers and gas masks, the only people that get hurt are the innocent public.

To add insult to injury, many game companies are starting to sell 'licences' to their products, rather than the product itself. If I want to buy a game, that game is mine. I can install it when I like, play it when I like, uninstall it when I like (with no sneaky software still hiding on my computer).

Selling a licence to use the game basically amounts to the games companies saying :
"You can only install it if we let you, you can only play it when we say, and if you uninstall it, we'll leave spyware on your computer to make sure you don't pirate any of our other products. Oh yeah... if we go bust or people stop buying the game, we'll shut it down, so nobody who's bought it can EVER play it again. That'll make you go out and buy the next one. By the way... we'll take your first-born as well. kthxbye!"

Personally, I'm not prepared to put up with that sort of nonsense - hence why I'm playing my older games again. Gotta love Morrowind and Theme Hospital! :D

 

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