Five top game firms are planning to fine 25,000 British gamers for illegally downloading their software through file-sharing networks.

Codemasters, Atari, Reality Pump, Topware and Techland are seeking £300 in damages from each of the 25,000 - racking up a massive £7.5 million in total.

The firms are currently asking ISPs for contact details and are prepared to take the first 500 refusing the pay the fine to court.

This comes after a landmark court-ruling earlier in the week saw a gamer who downloaded Dream Pinball from a file-sharing site being ordered to pay £16,000 in damages to the game's US developers, Topware Interactive.

Legal firm Davenport Lyons is representing the five companies in this case.

Roger Billens, a partner at Davenport Lyons, said about the Topware ruling: "Our clients were incensed by the level of illegal downloading. In the first 14 days since Topware Interactive released Dream Pinball 3D it sold 800 legitimate copies but was illegally downloaded 12,000 times. Hopefully people will think twice if they risk being taken to court."

The report by The Times newspaper suggests that over six million Britons have illegally downloaded games - with it being the hot topic of the moment to sue on, better make sure you aren't one of them.