Which?: Atari mis-targeting file-sharers

Ben Parfitt
Leading consumer rights outfit Which? has claimed that Atari and law firm Davenport Lyons are wrongly accusing people of file-sharing titles, even when no evidence of the activity exists.

The BBC reports that a case was recently dropped against a Scottish couple accused of sharing PC title Race07, despite the fact the pair had “never played a computer game in their lives” and had not even heard of peer-to-peer networking. Atari and Davenport Lyons had originally demanded £500 compensation.

Michael Coyle of legal firm Lawdit claims to be currently investigating 70 cases of people who claim to have been wrongly accused of peer-to-peer piracy.

Proving liability in these cases is notoriously difficult. Even if it can be established that files were shared on a specific IP address, it is hard to prove that the owner of that PC is responsible – particularly as the number of unsecured wireless networks is on the up.

However, there have been successful prosecutions, such as that last August which saw a British woman ordered to pay £16,000 to Topware Interactive after illegally downloading a copy of Dream Pinball 3D. Davenport Lyons is heavily involved in this process, and is currently working with Atari and Codemasters.

However, piracy remains a big problem, with high-profile hits such as Fallout 3, Far Cry 2 and Gears of War 2 being recent victims.

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Tags: piracy , atari , bittorrent , file , which? , damages , sharing , davenport , lyons

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