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.