UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In File-Sharing Case

August 19, 2008 -

A British woman who uploaded a PC pinball game to a file-sharing network has been ordered to pay publisher Topware Interactive £16,086 (roughly $30,000).

As reported by the BBC, Isabella Barwinska's troubles began when the London woman uploaded a copy of Dream Pinball 3D (retail value about $30). The case was heard at London's Patents County Court. Victorious Topware lawyer David Gore said:

The damages and costs ordered by the Court are significant and should act as a deterrent. This shows that taking direct steps against infringers is an important and effective weapon in the battle against online piracy. This is the first of many. It was always intended that there would be a lot more.

IP lawyer David Harris, who has no stake in the Topware case, told the BBC:

This is a proper Intellectual Property (IP) court that has made this judgement. The previous ones were default judgements where defendants never turned up. It's a much more interesting case in that respect.

Becky Hogge, director of the UK's Open Rights Group commented on the ruling:

An open court process with a full report is certainly preferable to justice of the type being mooted by the government on P2P, where activity takes place behind closed doors through industry action... In relation to the orders for release of personal data, it is important that court processes do not become rubberstamps for industry action but retain judicial safeguards and independence.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports that the defendant is an unemployed Polish immigrant and mother of two from London's downscale East End. As GamePolitics reported last month, four alleged file sharers made lesser settlements with Topware.


Comments

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

I'm all for freedom of ttnet vitamin speech and allowing rent a car game makers to put whatever they want in games, but there's one thing about this app that has me scratching my head.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but from araç kiralama the previous article araba kiralama on this I gathered that players can use Google maps in-game to find the other (real-life?) dealers in their area.  If this is the case, has travesti anyone considered what's stopping someone from using this app to actually move drugs between hands for reals?

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

To be fair, Topware did do Xpand Rally, didn't they..? That was actually a really good rally title, so the games aren't horrible, just. this one.

---- There is a limit for both politicians against video games, and video games against politicians. http://www.goteamretard.com

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

I've never downloaded a pirated game in my life, but from now on, if I see a game by Topware (and assuming I want it, which is doubtful), I think I might look into getting it for free.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

It's a pinball game, you can get thousands of these things online if you had some fetish for them.
Not worth the time and money of the courts to drag this case through them, much less is anything in that game likely worth $30.000. Not the code, not the graphical work, not the packaging...nothing.
IP is IP...but sometimes this shit goes too far.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

Here's a question nobody has asked yet... Did the woman even KNOW that she was breaking the law?

Cuz... if you use "videogames" and "law" in a single sentence, most people go "buh!?"

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

Here's a question nobody has asked yet... Did the woman even KNOW that she was breaking the law?

Cuz... if you use "videogames" and "law" in a single sentence, most people go "buh!?"

Ignorance is not a valid reason to break the law regardless.

---- There is a limit for both politicians against video games, and video games against politicians. http://www.goteamretard.com

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

And I'm not denying that it's an excuse for breaking the law... I'm just thinking why so harsh over something that 99% of the populous doesn't even know about?

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

Well actually, under UK Copyright law if you didn't know that you were breaking the law then you don't get punished for it.

SetoChaos

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

Citation?

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

When software and movie companies start targeting the pirate industries in China and SE Asia, I'll take them seriously on their 'hard line stance against piracy'.

Until then, they're just potting small game.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

If she didn't want to pay the fine, nobody was forcing her at gunpoint to illegally upload this game - crappy or not - to a torrent site.

It's more of a case of disproportionate fines. I see a bigger problem with the fact that the courts decided to act as a punishment for a civil case, rather than a criminal case. Quite simply, she should be fined, no problem with that, but what is the actual DAMAGE to having had that game uploaded? Certainly not 6,000 GBP.

---- There is a limit for both politicians against video games, and video games against politicians. http://www.goteamretard.com

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

Don't want piracy, don't sell this stuff for so much money.  Simple as that.  Volume of sales could probably more than make up for lost revenue.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

I suspect there is no price point at which some pirates will change their minds.

I used to be in the trade with my own high street store back in the 8-bit days.  At the time I was selling Spectrum and C64 games for £1.99-£9.99 (Amiga and ST games were just beginning to appear at £24.99) - having pirated copies being handed around the local school playground didn't do much to help put dinner on the table.

 

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

How bizarre to see people defending her.

If she didn't want to pay the fine, nobody was forcing her at gunpoint to illegally upload this game - crappy or not - to a torrent site.

If you want a game, buy it. If you don't want it, don't buy it. If you want it but don't want to pay for it, tough.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

Most of the complaints seem to be about the amount of the fine rather than the verdict. In reality, she probably didn't cost them £6000 in lost sales (the fact that they were willing to settle for so little suggests this). Even if you assume that each upload cost them the full retain value of the game, we're assuming 400 copies uploaded, but much less than that and it would have gone to the small claims track where they wouldn't have been able to claim legal costs. Civil suits are simply to put the victim back in the position they would have been in had the perpetrator not acted.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

to be honest im not defending her per se im questioning the judgement of the courts for putting a fine on someone who obviously cannot pay it (they could treated like any other theft and charged her appropiately to her crime)

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

Wow. $30,000 huh?

All that money, all this hassle, all this off-point arguing about how much piracy really does to the industry...

Kind of makes paying thirty stupid dollars for your entertainment seem like a good idea, doesn't it?

Buy your games, people. It's not hard.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

This on toast. Can't afford £40 for a new game? Rent it, wait a few weeks for it to come down in price, or look for it second hand.

I wonder how many pro-piracy people get shirty when someone steals their LiveJournal icons.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

LJ is for chumps, chodes, and chavs. Us hardcore internet terrorist gangster gypsies just bitch anonymously on other people's boards.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

I am sorry but until the industry comprehends that they can get at most retail price for each file these high fines are laughable and show how out of touch they are.

I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=
http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/
(in need of a bad overhaul)


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

I understand industries and companies need to protect their properties too, but they always seem to nail the "wrong" people. It's not like she was the head of a large software pirating ring in Hong Kong or something.

Also how many people would have downloaded it? Like TWO? Just charge her 60 bucks.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

Looks like a case of going for a soft target really.

 

But seriously, who exactly are this company, what other games have they done?

 

And finally, 6k fine and 10k costs? Damn, their lawyers are making more through this one case than the game is likely to at all!

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

"This shows that taking direct steps against infringers is an important and effective weapon in the battle against online piracy. "

How? This doesn't prove ANYTHING. This isn't results or data this is just you suing for a ludicrous amount of money. Oh and the deterrence thing probably won't work either.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

Virtual Pinball is such a huge market isn't it?   I mean to be able to win a case and claim (approx) $8500 USD in damages for lost business.   Was the lady wrong?  Probably to defiantly.   But to slap her with a fine that she cannot pay in 10 years (disregarding her children and thier care) does not seem... practical or realistic.   Oh well I am the sure there are some having orgasms over this bull.   And they wonder what happened to common scene.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

OFF.WITH.HER.HEAD!!!

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

"Stop! Stop! Executioner, hold your axe!"
"Now you tell your men to let go of my buddy or I've just found myself a new pincushion.."
"Let go of my budd-- I mean.. Let go of the prisoner!"

(I like that movie.. >>)

 

---- There is a limit for both politicians against video games, and video games against politicians. http://www.goteamretard.com

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

Well, I know who not to buy games from now. This is pathetic in my opinion, she was umemployed, not only that but the fact that she is a Mum implies that she has kids. What are they going to do when their Mum can't pay? Get adopted. Damn, Topware Interactive is pure evil.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

Not that I agree with how much she has to pay but perhaps if you're unemployed and broke, you shouldn't go posting illegal copies of software online.  Just a thought.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

As I posted in response to the first comment, she had a choice, pay an 'on the spot' settlement of £300 or go to court and probably lose a hell of a lot more. She chose the latter.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

She prob didn't have the 300 pounds to pay, so they took her to court and won 16,000...and she still can't pay.....imagine that one...

Sortableturnip's Law: As an online discussion of video game violence grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Jack Thompson approaches 1

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

That's pure speculation at best.  Even if you're really broke, it's not hard to find a way to put together a few hundred dollars quickly if you have to.  Trust me, I've been in such a position before.  Like I said, I don't necessarily agree with the treatment she got from the UK courts of TopWare but we're talking about someone who illegally posted software online for people to download.  Sorry but you don't get to do that.  That there are better uses for the court's time doesn't excuse the fact that she broke the law.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

Even though I disagree with her losing the case (and I seriously wonder if she actually fought it, or just couldn't afford a decent lawyer), if the piece of software cost $30 and she was illegally seeding it for any decent amount of time I think it's fair to say 1000 were downloaded. It's still a crap ruling, but the punishments makes sense.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

I agree, but 16K is too big of a fine.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

I'd love to be in the room when that company finds out it won the suit... "Hey guys, our game is finally going to turn a profit!"

---
The Mammon Industry

---
Fangamer

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

Clearly the 30 k can be made via selling her into some sort of slavery or sexual servant position at 3$ an hour for 10 000 hours. If she's unattractive they could also trying selling her children for physical labour/food

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

Here is the company site just if you want to leave some comments.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

They are going to get $30K from an unemployed woman for a pinball game nobody has ever heard about...

To me this is just one big advertisement for the game, and they still get money off of it.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

That's my whole problem with it. Topware most definately did not LOSE that much money from her 'making available'. So why are they getting paid more than the amount 'lost'?

---- There is a limit for both politicians against video games, and video games against politicians. http://www.goteamretard.com

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

No, but they will likely loose that much money on bad publicity on this whole thing.

Topware, EA - the list of companies I refuse to buy from now is ever growing. I do IN FACT pay for the games I play. Long ago, I found that the hassles of downloading 'cracked' games was something I just didn't have time for.

I was really tempted to check out Warhammer - but with it being an EA game... ummm, ehhh.. probably not.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

Activision are far worse than EA these days. You gonna pick up Guitar Hero: Nickleback or Call of Duty 12?

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

Thank god for used games and Ebay although for those to work somebody had to buy the game new.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

Fuck that, go Pirate Bay!

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

If you read the article you'd see that £6k was awarded for actual damages and the remaining £10k was for costs incured by the law suite.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

Okay, even still.. six-thousand for the actual damages... I doubt she allowed others to copy the game 375 times (at the listed value converted back to GBP), or more accurately 750 times at it's current 8 GBP value. The fine is disproportionate.

My car gets broken into, or something stolen from me, I don't get to claim that my window on my car is replaced, plus some to 'punish' the person responsible. It is replaced at their cost and done with. Even still, if Topware were to go after the uploader (in this case, they did), and the downloader, they'd get the damages twice in the first place.

Does anyone else see where I'm going with this? Topware should not be profitting off of the 6,000 GBP fine at all.

---- There is a limit for both politicians against video games, and video games against politicians. http://www.goteamretard.com

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

$30k is prob what it cost to make the damn pinball game...I mean it's not like they're re-inventing the wheel here....IT'S PINBALL FOR PETE'S SAKE!!!!!

Sortableturnip's Law: As an online discussion of video game violence grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Jack Thompson approaches 1

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

If they do collect - it will likely double their profits on the game. Perhaps even more than double....

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

so were going to collect 30k from an unemployed woman . . . how?

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

Debtors' Prison or she's sent to the Virginia colony.

Re: UK Court Levies $30K Fine Against Unemployed Mom In

lol!

Ship 'em off to Australia I say!

 
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