Atari Drops Controversial Lawsuit Against Filesharers

Long-time gamers favourite Atari has dropped its plans to use law firm Davenport-Lyons to sue suspected UK file sharers as the company ended its relationship with its lawyers after what has been a damaging Public Relations exercise.

Atari hired Davenport Lyons at the beginning of 2008 to track and bring to justice internet filesharers who were illegally sharing copies of driving game Race07 with the aim of getting them to pay £500 in compensation money or face going to court and end up not only paying substantially more but also having a criminal record with the bobbies.

Atari's legal department penned an email to UK website The Register, saying, "In relation to file sharing, our position is that we always retain and reserve the right to protect our intellectual property from illegal copying and piracy. Whilst we are no longer working with Davenport Lyons, we continue to work with legal advisers to protect our rights."

Davenport Lyons has specialised itself in the mass prosecution of suspected filesharers, having represented game developer Topware in what some considered as a massive publicity stunt back in July 2008. Since then, the credit crunch and the global recession have made life more difficult for the game developers who do not want to alienate their own customers and pay hefty fines to their lawyers.

Atari did not reply to The Register over whether they will seek another law firm to take over Davenport Lyons task of getting compensation from filesharers. In October 2008, Consumer magazine Which? highlighted the David-vs-Goliath plight of Gill and Ken Murdochs who were falsely accused by Atari and Davenport Lyons of downloading Race07.

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