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Activision Begins Suing File Sharers [Updated]

from the backlash-beware dept

While EA has faced a ton of backlash lately for its decision to use draconian DRM (though it's since backed down a bit), at least the company has made it clear that it doesn't think it makes sense to follow the RIAA and sue file sharers. Activision, on the other hand, seems to have gone in the opposite direction, recently filing a bunch of lawsuits against file sharers, even to the point of asking for $30,000 to $150,000 in damages per violation. While it's within Activision's legal right to do so, the company may want to be careful in pissing off hard core gamers. The backlash can hurt a lot more than any bit of file sharing ever would. Update: As a few people noted in the comments, Activision is claiming that the lawsuit in question was not about file sharing, but has not provided more details yet.


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  1.  
    identicon
    J.Locke, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 8:42am

    Activision is dying

    Its a sad fate to befall the first real independant gaming software company, but this is a last gasp money grab by a company that is slowly starving to death from a lack of capital.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 9:17am

    Society is dying and it's these corp execs that are causing it. There is a real need for a revolution in the corporate world. It's for the PEOPLE, NOT the CORPORATIONS!

    Not 1 cent!

     

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  3.  
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    Matt (profile), Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 9:17am

    Re: Activision is dying

    Activision just merged with Blizzard. I think they're fine.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    matt (profile), Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 9:19am

    may they meet the fate of the RIAA

    I've had the fortune of beta testing for them and can assure you that they were a great company but have let the lawyers get in charge....the NDA was so obtrusive it was nuts.

     

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  5.  
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    greg, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 9:21am

    there may be more to the story

    the originating article (the one that Wired referenced, located at http://www.gamepolitics.com/2008/09/19/activision-suing-file-sharers-riaa-style ) has an update:

    "UPDATE: Activision's attorney contacted GP to say that the cased were not based on file-sharing."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    greg, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 9:23am

    Re: there may be more to the story

    as a matter of fact, they've created a new article based on the 'update' : http://www.gamepolitics.com/2008/09/19/update-activision-copyright-lawsuits-not-based-file-sharing

    UPDATE: Activision Copyright Lawsuits NOT Based on File Sharing
    September 19, 2008

    An attorney who has represented Activision in six recent copyright lawsuits involving video games has told GamePolitics that the legal actions were not related to file sharing.

    Karin Pagnanelli, a partner with Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, wrote in an e-mail:

    While we don’t comment on litigation involving clients, we can advise you that we have never filed any litigation against a file-sharer on behalf of Activision.


    GP: It would appear, then, that the six defendants we reported on in our earlier story were sued for something more complex than mere file sharing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Ben, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 9:24am

    Not P2P Related Lawsuits

    Given the large settlements, these lawsuits were likely against people routinely selling copied games, either on disc or preloaded on the console. Source

     

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  8.  
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    Forge, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 9:45am

    Not P2P

    These guys they are suing were selling hard copies of games and modchips, and had been doing so for a very long time. I don't know that it's all of them, but at least a few were notified multiple times and continued selling copies.

    I have no sympathy whatsoever. It's one thing to steal for your own use, it's another entirely to sell the stolen goods, especially in an ongoing fashion.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Norm, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 10:00am

    "...the company may want to be careful in pissing off hard core gamers. The backlash can hurt a lot more than any bit of file sharing ever would."

    So file sharing of their games would be okay, but not someone copying and selling their games?

    Wouldn't the same arguments apply no matter how the games were getting distributed?

    "It's helping expand the fan base"
    "They need to get with the times and find a better way to make money off their games - like selling tee-shirts and having gaming concerts"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    d0n0vAn, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 10:13am

    I recall playing Mechwarrior back in the day, but since then what has Activision produced? I tried to visit Activision's site to see if I have played any of their games recently, but I couldn't get it to load on Firefox 3.0.1 - guess not.

     

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  11.  
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    bob, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 10:19am

    I For One Want To Know

    I want to know the truth about these suits,and why one defendant only got a 1K hit.
    Activision needs to come clean about this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    perilisk, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 10:35am

    "So file sharing of their games would be okay, but not someone copying and selling their games?"

    While your point isn't invalid, bear in mind that statutory damages for copying are very large, because they were intended to deal with commerical copying operations. As such, awarding tens of thousands of dollars in damages for copying one $15 CD is much more disproportionate and likely to elicit outrage than awarding such damages for running a profitable business. If the RIAA was getting $15 and lawyer's fees, I think there would be substantially less complaining.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Norm, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 11:07am

    Re:

    Ah, but my point is valid. If the argument that file sharing is good for companies and artists as it gives wider exposure, then so would cheap copies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 11:07am

    It's one thing for me to download a copy of a game for free, which indeed does hurt the maker of that game. But companies such as activision are not too worried about "me" since the financial damage that does to them is next to nothing as an individual. Also, it wouldn't be worth their time and legal expense to go after a loser like "me" who has no money (maybe why I downloaded the game in the first place).

    But the people such as the one's in this lawsuit who are making all kinds of money selling those stolen versions are 1)hurting Activision much more and 2) most likely have the money to make it worth a lawsuit considering they were making all kinds of money off of the stolen goods in the first place.

    None of this justifies file sharing in anyway as it's all stealing no matter how you look at it. Just trying to clarify the difference in this particular case.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Different mike, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 11:09am

    Activision: Neither small nor starving

    J Locke Said:
    "Its a sad fate to befall the first real independant gaming software company, but this is a last gasp money grab by a company that is slowly starving to death from a lack of capital."

    d0n0vAn said:
    "I recall playing Mechwarrior back in the day, but since then what has Activision produced? I tried to visit Activision's site to see if I have played any of their games recently, but I couldn't get it to load on Firefox 3.0.1 - guess not."

    Have the two of you ever heard of a little game called "Tony Hawks pro Skateboarding". It's got like 12 iterations on every console. Then there is another little game called "Guitar Hero", you know that small game that sold a couple million copies. They also make "call of duty" which was one of the best selling FPS games. So no, I seriously doubt that they are slowly starving to death. And P.S., their website loads up just fine on Firefox.

    Independent though? That is just a joke, Activision is no small independent, they are owned by Blizzard

     

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  16.  
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    John, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 11:21am

    screw activision. file share forever.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 11:44am

    Re: Re: Activision is dying

    As a general rule - mergers don't indicate that things are fine.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Fsm, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 11:47am

    RE: John

    Brilliant insight.



    And anyone who pirates for a profit is who all of the major companies should target first with lawsuits.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Norm, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 12:08pm

    Re:

    See Mike

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Nobody, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 5:32pm

    Re: Norm

    Not quite. They are in the business of selling games. I'm not sure how those file sharers worked, but my understanding is that you need an official keycode (which you can only get from Activision) to play online multiplayer. I torrented CoD 4, and used a keygen to do LAN games and the campaign, and like it so much that I bought the game the next week. The way I see it, as much as file sharing can help the music industry, it is way more powerful for games, where there is no substitute for online play. As for the 'gaming concerts', a VIP Activision-sponsored LAN party for the release of their newest game would pull in a lot of cash from hardcore fans.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Cyryl, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 11:04pm

    Re:

    Nope.

    Because one method doesn't generate any profit.

    The other IS generating profit.

    They're pissed because the one selling it is LITERALLY stealing their money from them.

    If you're just letting people download their games from you but not charging anything, then you're not actually taking much from them. Just a potentially paying customer...MAYBE. (They're not a guaranteed sell.)

    But if people are BUYING it from you, then you're definitely taking profit out of the companies' pockets from a customer who IS obviously willing to pay for the software.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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