As revealed by MCV this morning, five games companies have written to 25,000 people in Britain suspected of illegal downloading.
They have demanded £300 in order to avoid further legal action from each of them. The companies, including Codemasters and Atari, also say they are prepared to take an initial 500 people to court if they refuse to pay.
The BPI (formerly the British Phonographic Industry) has disctanced itself from these tactics, however.
Matt Phillips, director of communications at the BPI, told Music Week ‘that working with ISPs to educate consumers is a more effective way of combating illegal downloading’ – rather than charging and fining those who file share.
According to MW, the music industry explored punitive action against illegal file sharers in 2004 and 2005, when it launched a number of lawsuits against people making music available online for free.
This week saw the first person in Britain to ever be ordered to payout in the courts for illegally sharing a game.
Isabela Barwinska, an unemployed mother of two, was fined £16,000 for illegally downloading Topware Interactive's Dream Pinball 3D.