Multi-actions against File-sharers – in the UK

November 28, 2007

The game was made available on various peer-to-peer networks and those that were making it available for other users logged on to the same network were identified by a monitoring process carried out by Logistep, the Swiss-based forensic computer experts specialising in file sharing.

Letters were sent by Davenport Lyons to over 500 alleged infringers, seeking a payment by way of damages and costs. The sum sought by way of damages was intended to be ‘an expensive parking ticket’, with much greater financial consequences if Davenport Lyons’ letter was ignored and proceedings were necessary. All of those who have not paid the sum demanded are now earmarked for litigation and the first wave of proceedings were issued approximately a fortnight ago.

After the success of the Dream Pinball initiative, Davenport Lyons was instructed to obtain a disclosure order in relation to those file sharing another highly popular computer game published by a leading UK games publisher. Further letters are to follow in due course on behalf of other copyright owners.

The evidence supporting the disclosure applications and subsequent proceedings obtained by Logistep, is gathered using sophisticated software programs to search for and identify the IP addresses used to propagate the copyright owner’s work.
Uploaders/propagators are liable both for copying the games and for making them available to third parties for downloading. Damages are available to compensate the copyright owner for the acts of infringement.

‘Unlicensed file sharing is not only illegal but causes substantial damage to businesses. Every item that is downloaded from an uploader represents a potential lost sale and is tantamount to walking into a shop and taking something without paying for it and then giving a copy to anyone who asks for it,’ says David Gore, a partner at Davenport Lyons.

This first project for Dream Pinball has produced promising results. Davenport Lyons will continue to chase the remaining non-payers and issue proceedings, where necessary. ‘Individuals and corporations are entitled to have their rights protected. The damages our clients have suffered and continue to suffer run into millions of pounds. With piracy increasing every year, they have decided that it is now time to send out a clear message of their intent,’ added David Gore.