14:19 20 August 2008
The video games industry is cracking down on illegal downloaders on a scale never seen before.
The assault is being led up by development giants Atari, Codemasters, Reality Pump, Techland and Topware Interactive who have made games such as 'Colin McRae Rally', 'Operation Flashpoint' and 'Alone in the Dark'.
Together they plan to serve notice on 25,000 UK households through the law firm Dravenport Lyons.
The notice will illegal downloaders to pay an out of court settlement of 300 to be paid immediately or further action will be taken.
Unemployed mother of two Isabela Barwinska has become the first person in the UK to feel the full force of this action.
She has been ordered to pay in excess of 16,000 damages to Topware after failing to make a settlement then being convicted of sharing the game 'Dream Pinball' over an illegal file-sharing website.
Roger Billens of Dravenport Lyons commented on the matter, stating: "Our clients were incensed by the level of illegal downloading.
"In the first 14 days since Topware Interactive released Dream Pinball 3D it sold 800 legitimate copies but was illegally downloaded 12,000 times.
"Hopefully people will think twice if they risk being taken to court."
They know who you are
In a class of its own
Games to receive health warnings.
The suspected file-sharers were identified by Logistep AG, a forensic computer company.
They searched for the users' IP address, a unique number allocated to every computer that connects to the internet and used this to trace those believed to be downloading.
Then Dravenport Lyons applied to the High Court for an order requiring internet service providers to supply full details of all those suspected of the file-sharing.
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