A woman has been ordered to pay out £16,000 after a swoop on Britons who illegally share games and films over the internet, lawyers said today.
The woman, who has not been named, is among the first to be taken to court in the UK by computer game manufacturers seeking to protect their copyright.
The Patents County Court in London ordered that the woman pay damages of £6,086.56 and costs and disbursements of £10,000 to Topware Interactive, owner of the computer game Dream Pinball 3D, London law firm Davenport Lyons said.
The firm has launched civil proceedings against 100 people suspected of illegally uploading copyrighted works on behalf of Topware Interactive.
The case is focusing on peer-to-peer networks, which give subscribers direct access to each other’s computers, allowing people to download files without paying fees to the copyright owner.
Earlier this year, the Central London County Court ruled against four people who were found to have infringed copyright by sharing games illegally on the internet.
David Gore, a partner at Davenport Lyons, said: ‘Illegal file-sharing is a very serious issue resulting in millions of pounds of losses to copyright owners.
‘As downloading speeds and internet penetration increase, this continues to be a worldwide problem across the media industry which increasingly relies on digital revenues.
‘The damages and costs ordered by the court are significant and should act as a deterrent. This shows that taking direct steps against infringers is an important and effective weapon in the battle against online piracy.’
The High Court in London has ordered internet service providers (ISPs) to release several thousand names and addresses of suspected file sharers, the firm said.
The most recent case followed a Government-brokered deal between the UK’s music and film industries and ISPs to tackle illegal file-sharing, it added.
Some six million people are thought to engage in illegal file-sharing each year.
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