Report: Publishers taking piracy fight to gamers

Codemasters, Atari, and others will demand settlement money from 25,000 UK residents they claim illegally shared games online; EA Sports' Moore says it's a bad idea.

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The gaming industry is working harder than ever to stifle piracy. Last month, Ubisoft sued a disc duplication company for the online leaking of Assassin's Creed on the PC weeks before its retail release. Earlier this week, the Entertainment Software Association introduced Kenneth Doroshow as its new general counsel. Doroshow's work history includes a stint with the Recording Industry Association of America, notorious for protecting its members' copyrights by suing individuals for file-sharing music.

Now the Times Online is reporting that the next step in the industry's antipiracy efforts will target the individuals who illegally download games. According to the report, a group of game developers consisting of Atari, Codemasters, Topware Interactive, Reality Pump, and Techland intends to serve notice on 25,000 suspected bootlegging gamers. Those who receive the notices will have the option of settling the claims out of court with a payment of £300 ($563). The developers will then pick 500 of the people who ignored the letters and take legal action against them.

The companies have appointed commercial law firm Davenport Lyons to represent them in this endeavor. Earlier this week, the firm won a £16,000 ($30,000) judgment against an unemployed mother of two for illegally downloading Topware's Dream Pinball 3D through a file-sharing site, The Times Online reports.

Not everyone in the gaming industry welcomed the news. While attending the 2008 Leipzig Games Convention, EA Sports president Peter Moore told GamesIndustry.biz that the approach hasn't worked for the music industry.

"I'm not a huge fan of trying to punish your consumer," Moore told the site. "Albeit these people have clearly stolen intellectual property, I think there are better ways of resolving this within our power as developers and publishers."

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