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Law firm: Take action against file-sharers or risk encouraging them

Davenport Lyons, the company behind the anti-piracy lawsuits, says it is "confident" it will win any cases that make it to trial

Publishers who do not take legal action against file-sharers are sending a clear message that "if you continue to infringe nothing will happen to you", according to Davenport Lyons - the law firm acting for five publishers who have taken action, adding that in the absence of legitimate defences it would take cases to court and is "confident" of success.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, a representative from the law firm defended its actions on behalf of the publishers who issued 25,000 suspected file-sharers with letters demanding an immediate payment of GBP 300, or face a potential court case. The law firm said that it was an effective measure against piracy and expected other publishers to follow suit.

"It appears to be an effective way of getting the message across to a number of persons who might either actually be infringing, or contemplating infringing, copyright in computer games or other digital media," he commented.

"If publishers and other copyright owners take no action at all, the message is clear: continue to infringe and nothing will happen to you. Deterrent is usually the best method of reducing piracy."

The representative went on to add that the firm was confident in its ability to pursue any potential court cases to a successful resolution, saying that it didn't need to prove 'beyond reasonable doubt' who was using the computer tracked as having downloaded a pirated file and that there was no question of being misled by filenames.

"First of all, it is not a question of proving 'beyond reasonable doubt', since that is the criminal standard of proof," the representative explained. "We would like to emphasise that we are not taking criminal proceedings against individuals. All actions are civil, for which the standard of proof is 'on the balance of probabilities'."

"Secondly, we have a number of flags and indicators in relation to evidence which can show to us, on the balance of probabilities, that someone was responsible for the infringing act. Our data suppliers, Logistep, also carry out a full download of the work to ensure that it does indeed contain our client's copyright work."

He added: "In the absence of defences from infringers which are credible and bona fide, we will take cases to trial and, in such circumstances, are confident of success on behalf of our clients."

The firm said that its intentions were not to accuse anyone who wasn't actually guilty of file-sharing, or to be "intimidating" but it is confident in who it has chosen to issue the letters to.

"We have evidence to show the IP address concerned is connected to the person with whom we correspond and our clients are entitled to enforce their rights in that regard," said the spokesperson.

"We have no intention of intimidating people in our correspondence. It is of course also open to any individual to instruct solicitors or take legal advice from their Citizens Advice Centre or other appropriate organisation, so that they may be able to respond appropriately to our correspondence."

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