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Game sharer gets £16K fine

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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. ®

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