P2P pinball lawyers say ignorance is no defence
Unwitting filesharers told to pay up
The lawyers pursuing 500 file sharers for allegedly distributing illegal copies of computer game Dream Pinball 3D have accepted that some of its targets may have been unaware their machine was being used to distribute illegal software.
However, alleged perpetrators will still be charged £300 on the assumption they were guilty of sharing the game over peer-to-peer networks.
In a letter sent on Friday, 13 April, Davenport Lyons, the law firm taking action for games publisher Zuxxez, said:
"Please note that it is possible that your IP address may have been used by a third party if you have an unsecured wireless connection or your computer security has been compromised, or if other people or children have access to the computer connected to the internet service provided by your ISP."
The letter appears to have been sent to those people who have challenged the allegations, and was sent with evidence collected by the firm - copies of the reports generated by its internet detectives, letters that used court orders to get the details of alleged sharers from ISPs, and evidence provided by the ISP.
Some of the accused file sharers claim ignorance, suggesting that a virus or hacker might have hijacked their machine.
However, Davenport said: "Although your computer may not have been used to carry out the action alleged, your internet connection may have been used.
"The security of your computer and internet connection is your responsibility and you need to ensure that both are protected at all times with the most up to date anti-virus and firewall software, and ensure that any wireless router is properly encrypted, in order to be certain that your computer is not being used for unlawful purposes and without your knowledge or consent."
Davenport was unavailable for comment. ®
Who has to pay?
"The security of your computer and internet connection is your responsibility ", well. The anti-piracy protection is your responsibility. Did you use the state-of-the-art techniques to prevent users using (and downloading) your software?
How did you get information about the 500 users? Did you violate the privacy right of the users? If you do so without order from the court, then you are the one who violated the law.
A different angle...
After reading this again, from the comments others had made I reallised that this wasn't just a problem for unsecured networks. But infact any networks.
If someone breaks the WEP or bruteforces the WPA as the owner of the wireless box it is you who is liable.
If the owner was on holiday and someone breaks into their house and connects a length of cat5 to their router, their still liable.
How much for that videogame?
You know, if they just asked for the 25 euros the game costs (plus the cost of getting your info from the ISP, who you should now drop), they would be far more likely to get what they're asking for.
But no, that would be fair and reasonable. I can only assume that it ends up being more profitable to make threats for ridiculous amounts of money.
Granted, hardly anybody pays for software anymore, which damages MY ability to make a living, but if making a living in this field requires this kind of action, I'm not sure what I'm going to do.
How can small software developers remain profitable without resorting to this kind of nonsense? I see a future where people get ticketed for IP violations much like they currently do for illegal parking and speeding.