Computer Game Industry Launches Crackdown on P2P File Sharing

Yesterday's news of the successful prosecution of a 30-year old mother of two for illegally sharing file seems to have embolden the rest of the industry to pursuit UK-based casual pirates.

The Telegraph, the Times and the Guardian report this morning that five computer game companies are about to send legal notices to 25,000 people living in Britain and suspected of being illegal file sharers, asking them either to pay £300 immediately (or prove their innocence) or face their wrath.

An initial batch of 500 suspected file sharers will be targeted after having refused to cough up the £300 fine with further refusal leading to a court hearing and a criminal record.

The companies - Atari, Topware Interactive, Reality Pump, Techland and Codemasters - may not be the top game developers but the public response will determine whether the other major actors in the industry will also follow suit.

But the move has created division even within the gaming industry as some are saying that acting against their core market could possibly undermine the whole market and that it would probably be better to look for other ways of reducing piracy (ed: by cutting prices for example).

The five have appointed Davenport Lyons - the law firm behind yesterday's ruling - to act on their behalf; with more than six million people in UK standing accused of sharing games (and other files) illegally, it is fair to say that they have plenty on their hands.