UK, Wednesday August 20, 2008
Thousands of gamers who have shared files illegally online are about to get a nasty surprise through the post - a fine for hundreds of pounds.
The makers behind popular games such as The Lord Of The Rings and the Colin McRae rally series are set to serve 25,000 people with the legal notices.
The families targeted must then pay £300 to settle out of court or face the possibility of a trial.
They are accused of sharing games by top makers Atari, Codemasters, Topware Interactive, Reality Pump and Techland, illegally.
Roger Billens from the law firm leading the action, Davenport Lyons, said his clients were "incensed" by the large numbers of file-sharers.
"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," he said.
Partner David Gore blamed faster internet download speeds for the problem and said it results in "millions of pounds of losses to copyright owners".
The scale of the crackdown dwarfs the efforts made by the UK music business against illegal downloaders as they have reportedly launched action against just 150 people in the last decade.