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Hundreds Risk Accusation Of Illegal File-sharing

The plight of Gill and Ken Murdoch has highlighted the case of innocent bystanders being caught in the war between the entertainment industry and those who flout the law by illegally downloading games over the internet.

The Murdoch couple, who run a home-based consultancy firm, have never played a computer game in their lives and yet they have been accused of illegally downloading Atari games - more particularly Race07 - after their IP address was singled out as being part of those involved in illegal filesharing.

London-based Lawyers, Davenport Lyons, who represent Atari have told the couple to pay £525 legal fees or face being taken to court and ultimately pay a more hefty fine.

They have had to go to consumer magazine Which? which then intervened and forced Atari and its lawyers to back-off.

The Murdochs argue that someone could have hijacked their IP address to distribute the Atari games illegally which is even more probable given that they do not use wireless networks.

Which? has criticised the heavy handed approach of Davenport Lyons which could mean that hundreds of others could be facing up the prospects of having to pay fines for crimes they did not commit.

The Murdoch's probably used a little known Which? service which allows individual to have unlimited access to a legal team for a fixed monthly fee on consumer issues.

Désiré Athow
Contributor

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 ITProPortal.com 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.