GamePolitics readers may recall an August report that several British game publishers were targeting alleged file-sharers with heavy-handed, RIAA-style enforcement tactics (see: UK Game Publishers Get Medieval on File-Sharers).
The BBC now reports that some innocent people have been caught up in the controversial anti-piracy campaign. Citing a story in Which? Computing, the BBC reports that a couple from Scotland, Gill and Ken Murdoch, were accused by Atari of file-sharing Race07. The Murdochs dispute the claim, which was apparently based on an analysis of IP addresses. From the BBC story:
In the case of the Murdochs, a letter was sent giving them the chance to pay £500 compensation or face a court case. Gill Murdoch and her husband, aged 54 and 66 respectively, told Which: "We do not have, and have never had, any computer game or sharing software. We did not even know what ‘peer to peer’ was until we received the letter."
…The case has now been dropped by Atari, although the firm is yet to comment on the reasons why. According to Michael Coyle, an intellectual property solicitor with law firm Lawdit, more and more people are being wrongly identified as file-sharers…
Most commonly problems arise when a pirate steals someone else’s network connection by "piggybacking" on their unsecured wireless network, he said.
The BBC report also mentions that, in an effort to confuse investigators, file-sharing group The Pirate Bay inserts random IP addresses into the list of users who are swapping files.