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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 (opens in new tab), the Times (opens in new tab) and the Guardian (opens in new tab) 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.

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.