from the barely-legal-trolls-stripped-bare-and-humiliated! dept
German copyright troll U+C (Urmann and Colleagues) recently upped its trolling game by sending out settlement letters to German Redtube viewers who had the misfortune of watching some rather generically-titled porn under its nominal control. U+C's previous trolling efforts had concentrated on P2P file sharing, so this new move, targeted at viewers of supposedly infringing streams raised several questions.
First and foremost: how did U+C acquire the names and addresses of those who had viewed the streams? Streaming viewers don't leave IP addresses exposed like P2P sharers do. Redtube denied turning over any user data. The theory arose that U+C had misled the courts by presenting Youtube as a "swap meet," i.e., a file sharing site. Obviously, Redtube is not in the business of file sharing and under German law, those viewing streams -- even if the streams themselves are infringing -- cannot be held liable for infringement. The other theory mooted was that U+C was utilizing some sort of malware to trap IP addresses, but no evidence has surfaced that this is the case. (Although, it should be pointed out that Google indicates Redtube "might be hacked.")
A few German lawyers stepped into the fray, offering their assistance and telling those served with letters to ignore them until further notice. Now, Redtube itself has weighed in on the matter via a press release, and it sounds thoroughly irritated by U+C's shady activities.
RedTube, the leading provider of adult content with 25 million daily users, refutes the matter in which thousands of RedTube users have received so-called "cease and desist letters". RedTube stands by its firm opinion that these letters are completely unfounded and that they violate the rights of those who received it in a very serious manner.So, Redtube's got your back, Einhänders. It remains to be seen what the court U+C misled will do once this information makes its way back to it. It may have very little effect on what's already been done, but it will (hopefully) guide its interactions with U+C in the future. In the meantime, those who have been sent letters asking them to pay up are probably safe just running them through the shredder. There doesn't seem to be any German law under which U+C can hold viewers accountable for streaming allegedly infringing material.
RedTube reaffirms its position that the Company takes all its customers personal data very seriously and applies the highest privacy standards for its visitors on an on-going basis.
The Company goes on to emphasize that RedTube certainly did not submit any personal data to any law firm or any authority or entity, and that it seems very likely that the data was obtained by using dishonest measures.
"Serious allegations have surfaced in the media recently," stated Vice President Alex Taylor, "rest assured that our counsel received an immediate mandate to pursue all necessary actions to make all related entities accountable for the damage that has been caused." Taylor continued, "In 2013, blackmailing and violating the privacy of German citizens' private domain should not and will not be tolerated."
Redtube would like to reach out to its viewers who have received one of the spamming letters, and ask they get in touch with Redtube immediately. If you have received one of these letters, please let us know by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.