25,000 Britons fined for illegal downloading of video games

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The British video game industry has allied itself with music in the fight against piracy and has already started taking the first steps in penalizing those who break the law, writes The Times.

Five major companies in the sector will send warning letters to 25,000 users accused of illegally downloading games from the Internet. In the document, users are requested to pay 300 GBP (something like 400 euros) for the infringement, otherwise they are taken to court.

The companies – Atari, Topware Interactive, Reality Pump, Techland and Codemasters – want to reach an out-of-court settlement with all the accused persons, but argue that they will not back down in the event that any of the offenders refuses to pay the fine.

The measure represents a turning point in the industry’s attitude towards illegal downloads, since in ten years only 150 people have been prosecuted in a market where it is estimated that six million illegally share games on the Internet.

Recently, Isabela Barwinska became the first British woman to have to compensate a video game company for damages. The fine amounted to 20,000 euros and was imposed for the illegal downloading of the game Dream Pinball.

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2008-07-24 – British operators join the government and industry in the fight against piracy