Friday, October 31, 2008

Gaming cos.' lawyers accusing innocents in UK

From the BBC:

"Games firms are accusing innocent people of file-sharing as they crack down on pirates, a Which? Computing investigation has claimed.

The magazine was contacted by Gill and Ken Murdoch, from Scotland, who had been accused of sharing the game Race07 by makers Atari.

The couple told Which they had never played a computer game in their lives.

The case was dropped, but Which estimates that hundreds of others are in a similar situation...

According to Michael Coyle, an intellectual property solicitor with law firm Lawdit, more and more people are being wrongly identified as file-sharers.

He is pursuing 70 cases of people who claim to be wrongly accused of piracy and has spoken to "hundreds" of others, he told the BBC.

"Some of them are senior citizens who don't know what a game is, let alone the software that allows them to be shared," he said.

Most commonly problems arise when a pirate steals someone else's network connection by "piggybacking" on their unsecured wireless network, he said.

While prosecutors argue that users are legally required to secure their network, Mr Coyle dismisses this.

"There is no section of the Copyright Act which makes you secure your network although it is commonsense to do so," he said. "

These are precisely the kinds of cases that should but probably won't have a serious impact on efforts to introduce a 3 strikes regime, of the type some supporters claim the EU telecoms package will facilitate.

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