Activision Suing Video Game File-Sharers (Updated)

Updated: GamePolitics is now reporting that the lawsuits are not related to file sharing, according to the attorney representing Activision.

Original story: Game publisher Activision, the house of Guitar Hero (X360, PS3, PS2, Wii, DS) and Call of Duty (X360, PS3, PC, Wii), is suing individuals for pirating Activision games, garnering large cash settlements and agreements to stay silent.

Edge reported today that Activision has sued New York man James R. Strickland in federal court for copyright infringement, specifically mentioning the Xbox version of Treyarch's Call of Duty 3.

In response, GamePolitics uncovered "that Activision has engaged in a pattern of such federal suits, in most cases garnering big settlements from individuals who are not represented by attorneys and who, as part of their settlements, agree not to discuss the case."

The report continues, "Activision's court filings do not specify the manner in which their copyrights were violated, or how they came to learn of the violations."

Activision's legal tactic may sound familiar to the one used by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) against filesharers. GamePolitics found a solid connection to those suits: "Activision's lead attorney on the cases, Karin Pagnanelli, has worked on numerous file sharing cases on behalf of clients in the music business."

GamePolitics' sampling of settlements, reproduced below, follows:

  • John Doe of Washington. Doe, unrepresented by counsel, settled with Activision.
  • Chris Hyman of Abbeville, South Carolina. Hyman, also unrepresented, agreed to pat Activision $25,000 to settle the case. (CoD3 Wii, Tony Hawk's Project 8, Xbox 360).
  • George Laflin of New Jersey. Laflin, apparently the only defendant who had an attorney, agreed to pay Activision $100,000 (CoD 3 Xbox 360).
  • Maryanne Leach of Northome, Minnesota. Leach, with no attorney, agreed to pay Activision $1,000.
  • Kenneth Madden of York, South Carolina agreed to pay Activision $100,000 (CoD 3 Wii, Cod 2 The Big Red One PS2, Tony Hawk's Project 8, Xbox 360). He too was unrepresented.
  • James R. Strickland, aka Ryan Strickland of New York State; case is still active (CoD3 Xbox 360).