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P2P pinball lawyers say ignorance is no defence

Unwitting filesharers told to pay up

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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. ®

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