Developers demand £7.5m damages from file-sharers

Developers demand £7.5m damages from file-sharers
Michael French

By Michael French

August 20th 2008 at 10:25AM

Codemasters, Atari, Reality Pump, Topware and Techland to take 25,000 pirates to court

A cabal of games developers are planning to fine 25,000 British gamers for illegally downloading their software from file-sharing services.

According to a report in The Times, five games firms - Codemasters, Atari, Reality Pump, Topware and Techland - will seek £300 from each of the 25,000. The firms are demanding contact details from ISPs and are preparing to take the first 500 of those refusing to pay to court.

The move follows a landmark court-ruling earlier this week where a file-sharing gamer was forced to pay £16,000 damages to Topware for downloading its Dream Pinball title from a file sharing website. (Click here to see our sister site MCV's report on the case.)

Legal firm Davenport Lyons is representing the five companies.

Roger Billens, a partner at Davenport Lyons, said: “Our clients were incensed by the level of illegal downloading. In the first 14 days since Topware Interactive released Dream Pinball 3D it sold 800 legitimate copies but was illegally downloaded 12,000 times. Hopefully people will think twice if they risk being taken to court.”

The report estimates that over six million Britons have illegally downloaded games - although the report also cites an ELSPA source as saying that publishers might be reluctant to take the matter further as it will be seen as action against their 'core market'.