Activision Suing Private Citizens RIAA Style?

Earlier in the week, Global Tech News reported on lawsuits Activision filed against alleged game pirates. Court documents lead us to believe the defendants were doing more than using P2P file sharing programs for their piracy. Activision’s lead attorney on the cases, Karin Pagnanelli, went out of her way to alleviate concerns that Activision may be suing file-sharers stating, “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.”

Gamecyte investigated this story further and uncovered the other side of the story. Speaking anonymously, one of the defendants has revealed the amount of money paid to Activision was far less than what was published in the lawsuit, and that the numbers may have been inflated to increase shock value. The contact explained how Activision’s attorneys determined how much to sue based not on the actual material infringed, but on his purchase history, the equity on his home, and the number of cars in his driveway. They also told him if he were to get an attorney, he would have to pay even more.

In many of the lawsuits Call of Duty 3 for the Xbox 360 was often mentioned as one of the games that was pirated but when asked why he chose Call of Duty 3, the contact told Gamecyte that the title was not involved, and was something Activision had come up with all on their own.  According to the contact, “They told us they had strong evidence, but they never showed it or proved they had it.”

Gamecyte contacted a second defendant and confirmed that he too paid “much less” than the amounts claimed in court documents. Fearing reprisal he had one statement for Gamecyte.

I wasn’t doing anything more than an average college student does with torrents or MP3s, so it’s surprising companies like this are wasting time on people with little money.

The implications of this statement are profound as it may indicate Activision is quietly suing private citizens in a manner similar to the RIAA and then using scare tactics to keep them quiet.

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