UPDATE: Activision Copyright Lawsuits NOT Based on File Sharing

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.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Well, let’s just ask the defendants about it. Oh, wait, we can’t. Thanks, lawyers! You have certainly made it hard for us to question your good word.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Don’t see Activision acting on Mod-chips though, that’d be more the jurisdicition of the ESA itself I would have thought?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hi! My name is Barb and I am a mom my son play video games.

    Please learn to type.

    I registered but my email never came.

    Take it up with Dennis, not us.

    I think it’s great that these video game companies are cracking down on illegal game sellers

    So do I. Although there is one in particular *cough*EA*cough* NOT doing a good job in the least.

    but nobody should be selling games

    What? Why?

    they are bad for children.

    Oh, I see. Hey wait a minute…No.

    They are ruining my son.

    Well, that’s your fault mostly.

  4. GamesLaw says:

    Er, you might want to take another look at the First Amendment. Copyight Violations don’t fall under its scope.


    Also, "Use" called. He said that he wants to give the First Amendment back to "Us".

    Dan "SWATJester" Rosenthal

    Executive Director, GamesLaw.net

    Member, ABA IP Law Division Special Committee on Computer Gaming and Virtual Worlds

  5. Zero Beat ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I hope this is for something like selling backups.  Making backups and making/selling modchips I’m okay with, but selling backups crosses the line from "potential use for crime" to "crime."

  6. Karin Pagnanelli, partner at Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe says:

    While we don’t comment on litigation involving clients, we can advise you that we have made sure they won’t talk about what we bilked them for. Love, lawyers. (PS ALL YOUR FIRST AMENDMENT ARE BELONG TO USE)

  7. King of Fiji says:

    Hey Barb do everyone a favor and grow and a backbone that apprently the parenting god forgot to give you and just crackdown on your own child in regards to video games and let us who could care less about the children we don’t have play video games.


    Also you may want to look up the word troll as I’m pretty sure your acting like one right about now. 


  8. Anonymous says:


    You are the parent. If you do not want your child playing video games, you have the option of taking them away at any time, or throwing the game consoles away all together if you so choose.

    You are the parent. It’s your job to be the parent of your child. Stop expecting others to do the job of raising your kids.

  9. Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    There is a new concept, well an old one, but it seems to be coming back in style.  You should really look into it, because you would be on the cutting edge of this once again in style concept.  It is called parenting.  You see, these so called parents, instead of letting their kids do whatever they want, the parents actually set limits and restrictions on their kids. 

    Sometimes tell their child,

    "If you do poorly in school you get to play no video games, if you do okay in school you get 30 minutes a day, and if you get straight A’s you can play up to 1 hour on week days after homework is done, and up to 2-3 hours a day on weekends.  If you ever act up though, I as your parent, can take away these video games hours.  So if you ever act up in public, I can take away all of those hours of video games for as long as I want.

    Also, you can only play the video games that I allow you to play, and I will purchase or approve the purchase of the games.  If you obtain a game without my permission, you could end up not getting birthday or Christmas presents."

    Then these parents who parent their children, they sit down and talk with their kids about the video games they play, about the violence in the games, and any other content in the games.  These parents also take games away from the child if they start acting badly after playing them.

    Many of these parents, they realize video games are exactly like, movies, TV shows, and other things their kids are exposed to on a daily basis.  They also realize there is this thing called a rating, ESRB in the states, that tell parents how old the rating board suggests the kid should be to play the games.  This is the same type of system TV shows have today, and movies.  M rated games are like rated R movies, T rated games are like PG 13 movies, E10+ game are like PG movies, and E games are like G movies, then there are games rated EC, which means they are for little kids.  There are these other games that are rated AO, which is the same as a NC-17 or XXX movie.

    This is what it really comes down to, if you wouldn’t let your child watch a movie with a rating stated above, dont let them play video games that are equal or greater than that rating.  There is no difference between the movie rating and the game rating system.  There is no, and should be no law against children being able to buy games rated for an age greater than them, because retailers can manage not selling them to under age crowds.  If you do have a problem with that, contact the company’s corporate office, and tell them you want the full money back, to let them know of the problem, and tell them you are going to let your local news paper and station know so parents are more careful about what games their kids get a hold of.  That will normally be more than enough to make a retailer crap their pants, and rip a new one for whoever didn’t do their job, if not fire them. (If you know the day the kid got the game, and rough time, they could definitely narrow down who didn’t do their job pretty good.)

    If there would become laws to make selling adult games to younger crowds though, you better be ready to pay at least 3% more in taxes, because the government would make the tax increase.  So just report the retailer to their corporate office instead, because it isn’t worth the money to make it law.

    If you can NOT manage to do this new fad called parenting, then dont have any more kids, call up your family members and tell them, I am a horrible parent, and I need help parenting my kids, please help me, and for god’s sake, dont buy your kids video games if you can not afford basic things hardly, dont buy your kid video games.

    If your child is not at LEAST 14, or even if they are make sure they are mature enough, do not let them play games online, use the internet, or anything else.  There are child preditars everywhere online, and they will attack your kids. If the game is online and rated M, then it is really bad, and they need to be at least 17 to ever play those games.

    (Okay, now I am just trying to save all of us from little kids playing mature rated online games, and annoying the hell out of us.)

  10. Ouroboros says:

    Clearly your Son is defective. I would suggesting scrapping the old model and going with Son 2.0, I heard they’ve made significant firmware updates and now comes with 30% less disappointments and an increased chance of graduating with an MD, MBA, or Law Degree. Just take Son 1.0 to any conveniently located disposal centers marked “Municipal Waste Pickup”. Thank you and have a nice day.

  11. mottom22 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Troll! huge TROLL!

    If not a troll, then you have failed as a parent. is you blame video games for "ruining" your son, maybe you should look in a mirror and think "who had the power to take away the games… who bought these games in the first place?.. who owns the home my child lives in?" the answer is you. if you kid has an addiction to video games, it isn’t because of the games, but something far more complex. video games are an escape (or stress relief). if your kid is escaping to games, maybe you should ask him why, instead of blaming something else so you can feel better about doing nothing.

    Just a tip.

  12. Erik ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hello Barb.

    I fell I must ask just why do you think that nobody, even tax paying adults should be allowed to be able to purchase games.  Furthermore if you think that games are ruining your son why don’t you prevent him from playing them?  As a parent you have that power.


  13. E. Zachary Knight says:
  14. Barb1 says:

    Hi!  My name is Barb and I am a mom my son play video games.  I registered but my email never came.

    I think it’s great that these video game companies are cracking down on illegal game sellers, but nobody should be selling games, they are bad for children.  They are ruining my son.

    God bless!  Barb.

  15. Nekojin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Sadly, that’s not plain as day. That’s the same verbiage used for file-sharing. It’s legalese for, "Infringed our copyright by making what we view to be illegal copies." It could mean any of a half-dozen things.

  16. Anonymous says:

    It says it clear as day in the leach pdf.


    [i]"Plaintiff has alleged that defendant distributed and/or reproduced a copyrighted video game owned or controlled by the plaintiff, without plaintiffs authorization"[/i]


    Plain and simple, These dudes are selling backup discs and/or systems "preloaded" with games

  17. Nekojin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    You make a lot of good points in your posts, hcf. Don’t spoil it with ignorance. There are such things as "white collar" prisons. They’re officially known as, "minimum security," facilities. If you want to look one up, there’s one in Southern California called Wayside Honor Rancho. One of my mom’s boyfriends (back about 20 years or so) worked there.

  18. Anonymous says:



    This is irrelevant! There are ways to bypass console-only issues!


    What do you have to say to that, Wright?!

  19. Anonymous says:

    HOLD IT!


    You couldn’t have missed the fact that those were console games.


    This should have been obvious from the start!

  20. Anonymous says:

    *claps* that was brilliant, we need more comedy and humor such as that (though the ending didn’t have as much of a punchline as I was expecting)

  21. Chuma says:

    Welcome to British humour πŸ™‚  I do occasionally wonder how many Americans who are watching House MD have ever seen him putting on the same fake accent 20 years ago in that sketch show.  I bet it would come as a bit of a shock πŸ™‚

  22. hcf says:

    It’s possible they will never pay the damages, OJ still hasn’t.  But the debt will remain on their shoulders, making it very difficult to qualify for credit cards or own property.

    The prices look to me to vary by geographic location.  It might take someone living in those regions 5 years to pay the fine (the $1k case looks to be an odd corner condition), paying off 20% of their yearly income per year (basically not saving anything for retirement).

    It’s kind of like the mythical white collar prison.

  23. thefremen says:

     How exactly do they come up with the huge sums of money anyways? "you sold five copies of COD 3, you have to pay us a million bajillion dollars lol"

  24. lordlundar says:

    Considering it was CoD3 that they wa being named, I’d bet selling bootleg copies for modded systems.

    I was figuring the file sharing would be a stretch considering CoD3 was a console only title.

  25. chadachada(123) says:

    But you shouldn’t ruin their lives like the RIAA does. I think it should be 3/2 or double of the losses. A deterrent and something that won’t RUIN them.

  26. cppcrusader says:

    Ok, apparently I’m being way too subtle.  With a mod chip you can play illegaly downloaded games which would fall under the filesharing category.

  27. Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    How do you tell if a lawyer is lying? His lips are moving!

    But seriously…

    I’m kind of torn on this. Charging actual losses does seem like the fair thing to do, at least for the person who comitted the crime. On the other hand, I can easily see how some amount of punitive award is necessary in order to give a bit of a smackdown to the person so they don’t do it again. If you only charge them actual losses, they just get a little smarter next time around. If you beat them over the head with it, they might think twice about even trying it again.

  28. Geoff ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Would still like more information ’cause this guy could be lying.  He is a lawyer after all.

    So long as the amount they are settling for is comparable to the actual crime (ie selling lots of copied games out of a garage) then I don’t have a problem with it.  It’s when they get people to pay up to 100,000 dollars for making and selling, like, two copies of the game that I start to cry foul.

  29. Geoff ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yeah, I think I’m going to call "troll" on this as well.  The "God Bless" was a cute addition.

    If not, well, maybe she should be a parent and monitor her child instead of wasting time on this webpage.  Just a thought.

  30. Anonymous says:

    10 bucks says they were selling burned copies of games and/or systems "preloaded" with games on ebay/craigslist. The fines are likely what they ended up making in profit from the endeavor.

  31. djnealb says:

    My guess is that the defendants were probably being stupid and selling those games out of their garages or something.  That still makes me wonder about the girl who only had to pay $1000…

  32. chadachada(123) says:

    Well then, perhaps Activision is in fact justified in charging 1-100k, in which case, kudos to standing up against pirates/whatever that make money off of this. Assuming that’s what they did.

    But…if they ever come to the point where they ruin lives like the RIAA does, then I’ll lose my respect for them.

Comments are closed.