Doom 3 pirated en masse prerelease

The BBC reports that thousands of illegal copies of the game are downloaded the weekend before the PC shooter finally hits stores.

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Just days before the game was set to hit US stores, pirated versions of Doom 3 began to appear on peer-to-peer networks and newsgroups. While such occurrences are nothing new--illegal copies of games often appear before their release--the scale of the Doom 3 piracy is far wider than normal.

The BBC is reporting that thousands of copies of Doom 3 were downloaded over the weekend. At one point, the network's technology correspondent Alfred Hermida counted 50,000 peer-to-peer users downloading the 1.5 GB game--$2,749,500 worth of software at Doom 3's $54.99 sticker price. Other reports put the figure between 30,000 and 20,000--$1,649,700 and $1,099,800 of software, respectively.

Whichever figures are accurate, it is clear the piracy of Doom 3 is costing developer id Software and publisher Activision millions of dollars. However, it was unclear what steps the publisher was taking to stop the piracy, given that it had not commented as of press time.

Those who wish to obtain Doom 3 by legitimate means can purchase the game starting tomorrow, or, in some cases, tonight at retailers holding midnight release parties. Gamers who download the game illegally could face a maximum penalty of $100,000 per infringement for copyright violations. However, copies of the game purchased at stores breaking the retail embargo are perfectly legal.

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