Game sharer gets £16K fine
Lawyers have thousands more names
A woman who put a copy of Dream Pinball 3D on a file-sharing network must pay £16,000 to the games maker and its lawyers.
Games maker Topware Interactive was awarded £6,086.56 in damages and £10,000 in lawyers' fees by the Patents County Court in London. Lawyers Davenport Lyons said there are more cases to come - the firm claims to have identified thousands of file sharers.
It started writing to people suspected of sharing its clients' games in 2007 after using Swiss firm Logistep to identify suspected file sharers. Lawyers wrote to some 500 people it reckoned were sharing Topware's Pinball game, and demanded £300 to head off further action.
The letters claimed people were responsible for the security of their own wireless networks, although other lawyers disputed this claim.
David Gore, a partner at Davenport Lyons, said: “Illegal file-sharing is a very serious issue resulting in millions of pounds of losses to copyright owners. As downloading speeds and Internet penetration increase, this continues to be a worldwide problem across the media industry which increasingly relies on digital revenues.”
“The damages and costs ordered by the Court are significant and should act as a deterrent. This shows that taking direct steps against infringers is an important and effective weapon in the battle against online piracy.”
Davenport Lyons said it already has thousands of names and addresses obtained from ISPs of people it suspects of sharing games, music and films. Another application still before the courts is for 7,000 IP addresses. ®
I wish this country would treat the knife wielding chavs with this kind of disproportionate fining. If they can say the parents are responsible for what happens on i-net connections in their name, even if it's a minor commiting the offence, then they should do the same to parents who let the kids roam the streets with mums kitchen knife in their back pockets. I can promise you those parents would all of a sudden take a much bigger interest in their own childrens lives just as will parents getting threatening letters from law firms regarding copyright violations.
Surely though, with peer-peer systems, someone who downloads a file shares it by default, even if some users may well not be hugely aware of that, just thinking they've downloaded something 'from the internet' and having little idea that their PC was also sharing the file with other people.
I guess a lot depends how damages were worked out - in addition to legal costs for the lawyers, can the company effectively charge for any costs they can claim to have incurred in pursuing people, on top of actual imaginary lost-sales damages?
Realistically, wouldn't almost any download by someone else be likely to try to use multiple sources for speed reasons? If so, it's likely that one individual will source a fraction of a download to many people, but possibly not using a great amount of bandwidth in total.
Maybe they claim based on the number of copies she (or her PC) helped other people to *partially* download, rather than some proportionate basis such as 'game cost x number of equivalent whole copies'
Sorry, I was an order of magnitude out. It's "only" 86 days.
675,000,000,000 * 8 /725,000/60/60/24 = 86 days.
Filesizebytes * 8 bits per byte / upload speed / 60 secs in min / 60 mins in hour / 24 hours in day.
To David Wilson
I'm just showing that you can download files thinking it's one thing when in fact it's another. She could have downloaded something she thought is public domain, but the file's been renamed (or scammed) so that it's actually this game.
We've been discussing this case on news:uk.legal and the info below comes from there.
The case isn't about downloading - it's sharing the software to other people.
Another thing that troubles me is the damages of £6k. This is the loss to the owners of the software. I understand it costs £8 to buy, so she's been charged for letting 750 people download it. Apparently, the file size is 900MB, so for 750 people to have downloaded it she will have had to upload 675 GB.
My upload speed is currently 725kbs (download 2736kbps). It would take me
675,000,000,000 * 8 /725,000 seconds = 7448275 seconds = 862 days.
It's practically impossible for her to have uploaded 750 copies of the software. So why the £6k? Of course it's a nice £10k in DL's back pocket. Next, please.
But even if it worked, why go to all that trouble when there are plenty of people knowingly sharing software, even, it would appear, software which pretty much everyone seems to think is complete pants.
Seems like if you got someone to offer almost anything under its own name, some people would download it, even if it's just to have one play and then delete it. As long as there are people like *that* around...
Then again, you could always just write some software called 'World's Biggest Tits", give it a ridiculous price, and get some people to offer *that* on a filesharing service.
"Yes, your honour, it *is* an eyecatching name for ornithological photo library package, which might be why we haven't sold very many copies. Still, that shouldn't stop you authorising damages."