Which? has filed a complaint with the Solicitors Regulatory Authority claiming that “excessive bullying” has taken place. It follows Atari pulling out of the lawsuit campaign due to bad press. Davenport-Lyons’ tactic is to send out angry, agressive letters, demanding quick payment or a lawsuit is threatened. With any luck, the involvement of a group like Which?’s will hopefully end the campaign.
Following the news the other week that some pensioners had been accused of downloading pirated games, Atari has abandoned its ‘sue-your-own-customers’ strategy, developed in conjunction with trigger-happy lawyers Davenport-Lyons.
Although the company maintains that it will “always retain and reserve the right to protect our intellectual property from illegal copying and piracy”, this is a positive step from a company realising that the only thing it’s actually getting out of the campaign of intimidation is bad press.
Will other companies follow? Codemasters is the biggest games publisher still associated with the troubled law firm. With any luck, it will wake up too, and realise that bringing legal action against its customers is far more trouble that it’s worth. There are many other options for making money with games.
I’m off to go buy some Atari games.
Poor Gill and Ken Murdoch. They’re aged 54 and 66 respectively, and they’ve never played a computer game in their lives. Imagine their shock when they opened a letter from law firm Davenport-Lyons that accused them of downloading an Atari game called Race 07, at 3am on November 26, 2007.
The letter demanded immediate compensation of £500 plus £25 costs, with the threat that that figure could rise into the thousands if legal action began against the couple. Over to Ken:
“A Swiss investigator had identified us as the downloader of this software at 2.59am on November 26, 2007. At 10am that day, I was at a government conference. The thought of me being up at 3am was ludicrous – and there are no kids in our house. The whole thing’s been a nightmare. We have never even played computer games.”
The other day we covered the story that Codemasters and Atari, among a few other publishers, are suing 25,000 people who are alledged to have downloaded games. Seems fairly black and white, doesn’t it? Downloading games is still illegal, despite how widespread and popular it is. But the folks at GamesIndustry.biz, in their daily newsletter, have delved a little deeper into the topic, and I wanted to share with you some of the things they point out…