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-   -   General News - Developers demand damages from file-sharers in the UK (http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5221)

woges August 20th, 2008 16:52

General News - Developers demand damages from file-sharers in the UK
 
Codemasters, Atari, Reality Pump, Topware and Techland to take 25,000 pirates to court according to The Times.
Quote:

The game makers have appointed the law firm Davenport Lyons. This week Isabela Barwinska, an unemployed mother of two, became the first person in the UK to be ordered to pay damages to a manufacturer. She must pay more than £16,000 to Topware after downloading Dream Pinball through a file-sharing site.
Roger Billens, a partner at Davenport Lyons, said: “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.”
The law firm is applying to the High Court for an order requiring internet service providers to hand over the names and addresses of 25,000 individuals suspected of illegally downloading computer games. They have already obtained almost 5,000 addresses after providing evidence that illegal file-sharing had taken place. The move has provoked strong criticism within the games industry. A source close to the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association said that most publishers would be reluctant to bring legal actions against their “core market” and would be likely to look for other ways to minimise losses due to piracy.
More information.

AmShegar August 20th, 2008 16:52

Yeah ok, who cares about violence on the streets, drugs, sexual abuse etc. , but software thieves and warez users…… these people are sick criminals and deserve to be put behind bars.
</endsarcasm>

Umbragen August 20th, 2008 16:57

If the powers that be did manage to eliminate piracy, the only business' that would benefit financially are the bandwidth vendors.

Alrik Fassbauer August 20th, 2008 17:16

Maybe I should quickly develop some crappy game, upload it on a file sharing network myself and then see what's happening ?

Maybe even I should connect to this party of developers, too ? Maybe I can get a share of this cake, then ?

And my - who's gonna get the money from this lawsuit anyway ? Surely not the developers - they're already exploited by them.

No, I guess they will keep the money to themsdelves - and a great part to their shareholders.

But no more money for actual developers, please.

Hedek August 20th, 2008 17:35

I really don't understand howcome all games aren't internet games yet (be connected and provide login and password to play).

Take Mass Effects for example : you'd need to register online, provide login and password everytime you want to play (MMO style) and saves would be exclusively stored online on Bioware servers.

Sure that would be extremely annoying for people who don't have DSL or cable but I doubt publishers care if that means more money for them. And if publishers are really concerned about piracy that's the only true solution : constant online check and vital game assets server side only.

If they don't do it I guess that means piracy isn't as bad as they say, or are they just lazy? If they're willing to take it to Court that can't be laziness : they don't want to solve piracy, they just want more money.

Thaurin August 20th, 2008 18:21

This won't even slow piracy, even when they take 100,000 people to court. At least now I know which publishers I have to be wary of when I buy my next game.

Asbjoern August 20th, 2008 18:34

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thaurin (Post 92316)
At least now I know which publishers I have to be wary of when I buy my next game.

Why? Do these publishers and developers deserve less sales, because they try to persecute people who have illegally downloaded their games?

I have a hard time following the negative responses in this thread towards these publishers and developers. There's no excuse what so ever for illegally downloading a game.

Stormwaltz August 20th, 2008 18:37

They expect to collect that mount of money from an "unemployed mother of two?"

And I thought the RIAA was made of stupid.

Maybe you should try suing people with money or something. I know, crazy idea.

Thaurin August 20th, 2008 18:37

I disagree with their tactics, that's all. I do not have to explain, but 16,000 pounds for one count of illegal file sharing? Come on.

Asbjoern August 20th, 2008 18:43

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thaurin (Post 92325)
I do not have to explain.

Of course you do. Otherwise you shouldn't have written in the first place.

blatantninja August 20th, 2008 18:43

While I am generally not a fan of these types of tactics, I have a lot less of a problem with the game industry using them than the RIAA or MPAA.

The RIAA and MPAA have been particularly awful at trying to stymie innovation and control content. Additionally, they actively engage in collusion to keep prices high and maintain large profit margins. Since they started selling unecrypted MP3's, the amount of music I have bought has gone up 10 fold. I simply refused to by drm'd music that generally didn't work on my players of choice (XBMC, Zen, Archos) even if I could do the burn to cd, then rip method. (though ripping DVD's doesn't bother me as much, guess I don't do it enough for it to be a hassle.) I also hate that despite having a DVR with functionality to export shows to my Archos, I can't do it if they are HD, so I download via torrent instead.

However, despite the issues we've all dealt with concerning DRM schemes in games, I've never really felt like most game companies are actively trying to screw me over. I also don't feel like there is any collusion about setting price points. Sure there are areas for improvement in terms of demos and no DRM, but they are minor annoyances to me.

They'll never shut down the Asian pirates (or Swedish for that matter), but if they can shut them down in the UK, US, and the rest of Europe, it really isn't going to bother me.

Thaurin August 20th, 2008 18:50

Quote:

Originally Posted by Asbjoern (Post 92328)
Of course you do. Otherwise you shouldn't have written in the first place.

In that case, I just did. Something about mass law suits and ridiculous damage claims. I do not know the specifics of this case, but something about these things, like with what the RIAA and MPAA do in the USA, always rubs me the wrong way.

The RIAA cases are even more interesting, since their tactics have been proven in court to be even more scandalous and outright against the law. I'm not sure how these publishers gathered their evidence, but if it's anything like what the RIAA has people do, then they belong on the other end of a court case.

And of course there are excuses for illegal downloading. There are always excuses. Have you by the way read how indie developer Positech Games asked his pirates for input? That's an interesting way to boost sales…

http://www.positech.co.uk/talkingtopirates.html

skavenhorde August 20th, 2008 20:13

That's one expensive game that mother of two bought. If they sued her for the actual price of the game (a pinball game hmmm that must be 5 bucks;)) instead of slapping a 16000 pound price tag on her head then maybe and I mean MAYBE I could agree.

I'm sorry but the companies need to get used to it and try a different approach for god sakes. This is going to be a PR nightmare for them. You know she will go into court with her two kids and if there is a jury (not sure how this is going to work out legally) but if there is a jury, they will automatically feel for the mother and see the publishers as fat pigs. I know I would and I would go out of my way to make sure she didn't have to pay one dime to them. If there is no jury then they might get their money or more likely she will have to go jail because she can't pay. Now, you know the newspapers are going to eat that up for breakfast and ask for seconds. The publishers will come out badly if they decide to do this.

Edit: Atari is on that list…Well if they do it I'll have to boycott them even though I've liked a lot of the RPGs they have come out with. I'm sorry any company going after the little guys will not have my money from now on, like it really matters to them but still they would be dead to me at least.

Zloth August 20th, 2008 20:26

Yeah, burn those pirates! Burn them `til they… yow, 16k pounds??? That seems too much by a factor of 10. If 1600 doesn't scare the pirates off then 16,000 won't scare them any more.

There's another issue floating around here, too. Who really downloaded the file? The mother or one of her kids? Does it matter?

zakhal August 20th, 2008 20:29

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hedek (Post 92309)
I really don't understand howcome all games aren't internet games yet (be connected and provide login and password to play).

Take Mass Effects for example : you'd need to register online, provide login and password everytime you want to play (MMO style) and saves would be exclusively stored online on Bioware servers.

It didnt really even slow down the freeloaders - it was only few days iirc.

People are very casual nowadays with freeloading and many in i.e rpgcodex seem to support it/have positive attitude about it openly. These law suits wont propably even slow down the freeloading noticeably but I think it will atleast make it a bit harder than before. You have to be more careful now and know how to avoid getting caught.

Zloth August 20th, 2008 20:35

Quote:

Originally Posted by skavenhorde (Post 92338)
That's one expensive game that mother of two bought. If they sued her for the actual price of the game (a pinball game hmmm that must be 5 bucks;)) instead of slapping a 16000 pound price tag on her head then maybe and I mean MAYBE I could agree.

Nah, that won't work.

Let's say you have an absolutely amazing criminal justice system that catches and prosecutes 50% of all criminals and does it for free. If the fine was only the price of the game then crime would pay. A crook that steals 20 games would only have to pay for 10 of them and would come out ahead.

In reality, the chances of getting caught are way less than 50% and it costs quite a bit of money to catch and prosecute the criminals. For the punishment to actually scare criminals off, it has to be fairly good sized. That, or you have to find a way to make it real easy to catch them.

Gorath August 20th, 2008 20:49

A couple of publishers did the same thing in Germany. They knew the suits would be turned down. All they wanted was addresses to send out C&D letters.

blatantninja August 20th, 2008 20:59

Quote:

Originally Posted by skavenhorde (Post 92338)
That's one expensive game that mother of two bought. If they sued her for the actual price of the game (a pinball game hmmm that must be 5 bucks;)) instead of slapping a 16000 pound price tag on her head then maybe and I mean MAYBE I could agree.

I'm sorry but the companies need to get used to it and try a different approach for god sakes. This is going to be a PR nightmare for them. You know she will go into court with her two kids and if there is a jury (not sure how this is going to work out legally) but if there is a jury, they will automatically feel for the mother and see the publishers as fat pigs. I know I would and I would go out of my way to make sure she didn't have to pay one dime to them. If there is no jury then they might get their money or more likely she will have to go jail because she can't pay. Now, you know the newspapers are going to eat that up for breakfast and ask for seconds. The publishers will come out badly if they decide to do this.

Edit: Atari is on that list…Well if they do it I'll have to boycott them even though I've liked a lot of the RPGs they have come out with. I'm sorry any company going after the little guys will not have my money from now on, like it really matters to them but still they would be dead to me at least.

So if it was some fatcat CEO, it would be ok? The point of fines like this are to punish the perp and discourage others. She shouldn't get a free pass just because she is poor.

doctor_kaz August 20th, 2008 21:17

I have been wondering for years why publishers don't start doing this more often.

skavenhorde August 21st, 2008 07:22

Quote:

Originally Posted by blatantninja (Post 92350)
So if it was some fatcat CEO, it would be ok? The point of fines like this are to punish the perp and discourage others. She shouldn't get a free pass just because she is poor.

"punish the perp and discourage others" well, why don't they go after the torrent sites? Oh right, they have tried and they can't. So instead of either trying other means of fighting piracy or to keep trying to take these torrent sites down, they decide to go after the little guys and yes I think she should get a free pass because she is poor. The internet makes it too damn easy to steal, the reason it is so easy is because of those torrent sites.

Once again a PR nightmare. Do you want to send that mother to jail because she can't pay 16,000 pounds or if she can pay, I bet it will pretty much ruin the kids life.

Don't get me wrong here, I think piracy is wrong and there should be something done about it. I put up with DRM and everything else the companies have tried because I understand it is difficult on the industry but this is the wrong way to fight it.

So sue her for the actual cost of the game $39.99 (or whatever it is) that would be ok, but sue her because they can't get their hands on the real criminals, the torrent sites, is just wrong.

Bottom line the solution is to take down those torrent sites, not this.

Quote:

Originally Posted by blatantninja (Post 92329)
They'll never shut down the Asian pirates (or Swedish for that matter), but if they can shut them down in the UK, US, and the rest of Europe, it really isn't going to bother me.

Just for your information there has been a lot of progress in asia concerning pirated software. At least in Hong Kong and Taiwan the governments are actually cracking down on all kinds of pirated goods or fake goods. Seven years ago you could go to Hong Kong and find actual brick and stone shops whose only products were pirated software. Now they are all gone. Same goes in Taiwan, I haven't seen the pirated software dealers at the local software stores in a little under a year now. It's about time too, I hated seeing those wannabe mafia guys hanging outside the stores and taking away business from store owners.


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