Another $100K Piracy Settlement for Activision

October 8, 2008 -

Another alleged game software pirate sued by publishing giant Activision has agreed to a $100,000 settlement, according to federal court documents obtained by GamePolitics.

Last month GP broke the news that Activision was quietly suing - and obtaining large settlements - from private individuals in the United States who were not represented by counsel. A case against a sixth defendant, James R. Strickland, had not been resolved at the time of that report. In the interim, Strickland signed off on a stipulation in which he confirmed that he does not contest Activision's allegations and agrees to pay the publisher $100,000. He also waived his right to appeal and agreed not to make public statements about the case.

Strickland signed the document in pro per, a legal term which means that an individual is representing himself.

Activision was represented in the case by attorney Karin Pagnanelli of Los Angeles firm Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp. As GamePolitics previously reported, Pagnanelli has an extensive legal background involving anti-piracy matters for clients including the Recording Industry Association of America. The RIAA's tough tactics against music file sharers have been a source of increasing controversy in recent years. Pagnanelli, however, told GamePolitics last month that the Activision cases do not involve file sharing.

That being the case, the exact nature of the allegations against Strickland remain unclear. A document filed by Activision with the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress names only one game, the Xbox 360 version of Call of Duty 3. COD3 was named in several of the earlier cases as well. It is unknown what connection, if any, may have existed among the six defendants.

Also unclear is just how firm the $100,000 figure specified in court records might be. GameCyte reported last month that an unnamed defendant in one of the earlier cases claimed that the $100,000 amounts were inflated for shock value, while still terming the monetary loss "substantial."

The Strickland settlement appears to bring to a close this round of piracy lawsuits by Activision. Neither the company nor the defendants are saying much, so we don't know what form of copyright violation took place. Also unknown is whether these cases were an anomaly or signal a new, aggressive anti-piracy strategy for Activision.

Read the stipulation document here.


Comments

Re: Another $100K Piracy Settlement for Activision

I mentioned this earlier, but Activision is only doing what it thinks is necessary to protect its intelectual property. What worries me is that the ECA seems to be sitting this one out. If the Electronic Consumers Association is worried about this, then try to get ahead of Activision. Boot up the PR system and get the word out that the ECA will be willing to help anyone who is a target of this type of lawsuit.

The biggest reason most people forego legal council is because it will cost them a lot. These people realize that they did something illegal and don't see any reason to get a lawyer just to drag it out when Activision is "offering them a deal." Maybe the ECA could offer to help these people with the legal fees in order to gain more information on what seems to be Activision's new anti-piracy policy.

The ECA might also want to release a document or series of documents that explain the tricky legal terms and tell consumers what their rights are as gamers. What are the exact rules for having copies of games? How does ownership of a game work? No one complains when my friend gives me one of his old games, why is that? And should someone have a lapse in judgement, what legal recourse does that person have?

There are a number of actions the ECA could (and should) be taking in response to Activision. We as gamers need someone with a greater understanding to show us what exactly is happening. Dennis has done an amazing job of bringing this story (and many other stories) to our attention. Now the ECA needs to show us the results of how we conduct ourselves before they become just another story on GamePolitics.

Re: Another $100K Piracy Settlement for Activision

Keleron,

While helping people with these cases sounds like a good idea I just don't think its feasable. I'm not sure how the EFF does what they do but it involves lawyers volunteering time. Maybe the EFF and the ECA join forces to get answers.

I do agree with you on getting the ECA to produce a booklet or something with information people may need if they were indeed sued. This could be a very handy book and if money is the issue you could have IP lawyers in each state help pay for it and list them as people to call if you need them.

Regarding Activision sueing... I can't fault them for that really but knowing why would sure help everyone out.

Re: Another $100K Piracy Settlement for Activision

People you need to get an attorney even if you are guilty and want to plead guilty cause they can still protect you better than you can, unless of course you are an attorney. This guy signed away the right to appeal his case... man what if Activision made a mistake... Shocks me that so many people think they don't need an attorney or have been "forced" to go without one. I'm sure Activision said something to the line of "if you sign here it will be easy and cheap but if you get an attorney it will only make it harder and more expensive".

 

 

Re: Another $100K Piracy Settlement for Activision

It's almost as if corrupt people suing others out of their life savings shouldn't be able to tell them they shouldn't get lawyers.

Re: Another $100K Piracy Settlement for Activision

Exactly. There is no reason not to get an attorney. For one, never trust the opposing council. By hiring your own attorney you may even be able to negotiate a smaller payment.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

Re: Another $100K Piracy Settlement for Activision

Lional Hutz is better than nothing :p

But yeah... they were probably bullied by saying "If you get an attorney, we'll rain hellfire and brimstone upon you", which is very much illegal. Sadly I can see this being used more often than I'd like.

Re: Another $100K Piracy Settlement for Activision

I really don't trust Pagnanelli's statement.  First there is the whole issue of them keeping what the lawsuites were about secret.  Why keep it secret if it's something blatantly illegal like selling lots of copies out of your garage?  Also, after the public backlash the RIAA got for sueing a woman thousands for a handful of songs, I wouldn't hold it past a company to do some preemptive damage control.  What better way to accomplish that then by keeping information about the case under wraps and then assuring people that it's not file-sharing?

If they don't have anything to hide they wouldn't have any issues releasing the information to the public.

 

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Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cook-book! Little Red Cook-book!

Re: Another $100K Piracy Settlement for Activision

You get a virtual high-five from me for the Izzard reference ;)

Re: Another $100K Piracy Settlement for Activision

I don't like how they are doing this in secrecy like they are.

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