DigiProtect Now Handing Pre-Settlement Threat Amounts Over To Collections Agencies

from the that's-not-good dept

We've covered how various companies in Europe have built up an extremely profitable business by purposely seeding content they have the rights to on file sharing networks, and then sending "pre-settlement" letters demanding money from the holder of any IP address that connects to them, even if the IP address is not accurately indicating who was involved. They're now sending out these letters at a massive rate, and while they're not actually filing lawsuits, it appears that at least one of the firms involved, DigiProtect, is getting a collections agency involved in some cases. That seems pretty nasty. There's no actual debt here, because the person has not agreed to pay up, but by handing it over to a collections agency, the person will now get hounded with demands for payment. It's difficult to see how this is even close to legal.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Cynix, Dec 8th, 2009 @ 6:25am

    Protection racket

    This is a protection racket, pure and simple. At some point they'll hit on a lawyer who'll sue their asses off.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 8th, 2009 @ 6:27am

    FDCPA

    I believe you have 30 days from the day receiving notice from the collection agency to contest the debt under FDCPA 15 USC 1692g.

    Probably the biggest question is if you contest the debt, should you expect DigiProtect to take you to court?

    This whole thing seems quite wrong.

     

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  3.  
    icon
    drewmerc (profile), Dec 8th, 2009 @ 6:32am

    Re: FDCPA

    the first line "various companies in Europe" what the fuck has "FDCPA 15 USC 1692g" got to do with anything
    damn i hate ignorant amerifags who think the usa is the world

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 8th, 2009 @ 6:41am

    I got a notice from a collections agency once about an un-paid parking ticket. I simply asked if they had a court order or any other legal ground that proved I owed money other then their client saying I do? When they could not answer me I said I am recording this phone call and if they attempt to contact me again other then through my lawyer I would consider it harassment.

    Never heard from the collections agency again.

    I also followed up with my local drive licenses plate provider on how come they release my private information to a company with out a court order but only by the accusations from a private company. I reported their release of my private information to the privacy commission and filed a formal complaint.

    As in this case how did the company resolve who owes the IP address for that given time? Is it provable in court? Was it proved in court? Why would the ISP release private information to another company with out a court order?

    People need to start fighting this guys. The government needs to work for the people and take down this protection racket scheme.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 8th, 2009 @ 6:41am

    Re: Re: FDCPA

    You don't have similar legislation in the EU?

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    MRK, Dec 8th, 2009 @ 6:47am

    So in the UK you can just call up a debt collection agency on anyone? That's great! I'm moving to the UK and sending out bogus pre-settlement letters to random people, then calling a debt collection agency when they don't pay up. My original plan was the move to the UK and mug people with a stale baguette and a strongly worded letter, but with this I don't even have to leave the apartment!

     

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  7.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 8th, 2009 @ 6:47am

    Forget the harrassment...

    What can REALLY be a concern is if the collection agency is pinging these people's credit reports several times a month, causing harm to their credit score. What'd be fun, however, is if that type of thing happened and the person could show both that the rights holders both seeded their own content, comitted mail fruad or extortion by trying to collect money for legal behavior and misrepresenting the actions as criminal in nature, AND that they caused measurable monetary harm because of the credit score effect.

    Then it's just a matter of piling on the charges....

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Alex, Dec 8th, 2009 @ 6:47am

    Re:

    If this is in Great Britain then there is no privacy violation - when you apply for a driving license you sign a form that states that the DVLA can do that and any registered company can for a small fee (about £2 per application IIRC) request data on any number plate. This is why you should read all forms before signing them!

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Mr. America, Dec 8th, 2009 @ 6:52am

    Re: Re: FDCPA

    Last time I checked the USA was "The World".
    And maybe that's the problem.
    Every time some snot-head neighbor of yours gets in your face or you have an earthquake or flood or tsunami you come crying to the USA to save and help you.
    The money/services/equipment sent to other countries to aid for the last 10 years from the USA could buy almost any mid sized country in Europe.
    We don't want to live there.
    /Rant
    Yes the AC is a result of our great American education.
    Please excuse his/her ignorance just as we ignore your silly accents.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 8th, 2009 @ 7:02am

    Re: Re: FDCPA

    Sorry for pissing you off. You see, Starbucks didn't have "Light" drip roast today, and I had to go with a French Roast, which as any coffee connoisseur knows, has less caffeine.

    Admittedly, I missed the Europe/UK sentence. I'll do better after my third cup. Promise.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 8th, 2009 @ 7:12am

    The future.

    Today they are trying all this schemes.
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20427375.200-net-piracy-the-people-vs-the-entertainm ent-industry.html?full=true

    But I don't think in the future it will matter because what is to come will definitely kill all hope of containing anything.

    Fast memory that can hold your entire life in video could be just around the corner.
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20427370.600-five-ways-to-revolutionise-computer-memo ry.html?full=true

    Then you have the new paradigm called "augmented reality" when people start using glasses or googles or even full masks(frog concept) that will enhance how you see and interact with the world and will be capable of seeing what you see and storing that information, then everyone will have a perfect copy of what they see and it could be even stored in 3D format and all those people will be pirates then.

    It is not getting more difficult to copy data is getting easier every year, next year is coming out(maybe) the first 802.11n(150Mb/s) equipment and after 2012 the 802.11ac which promises Gb/s is in already being planed.

    Soon people will have gigabit connections and it will come the day that to transfer a whole Bluray it will only be a matter of seconds.

    Encrypted channels with morphing protocols that simulate other protocols will kill deep packet inspection.

    I feel sorry for those people who think they can try and stop anything it ain't gonna happen dude!

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 8th, 2009 @ 7:13am

    Re: Forget the harrassment...

    I can't wait to see who you are going to call 'Sparky' today. I love that the worst thing DH could call you is Sparky.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 8th, 2009 @ 7:21am

    Re: Re: Forget the harrassment...

    "I can't wait to see who you are going to call 'Sparky' today. I love that the worst thing DH could call you is Sparky."

    Easy there, Sparky....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Benjie, Dec 8th, 2009 @ 7:39am

    Collections

    I had a few friends get out of mortgages because their bank went under, got bought out, and their mortgage signatures got lost in the acquisition.

    Since the bank could not produce the required legal papers, my friends got the full debt dropped and a good chunk of a free house.

    I say do the same and request proof of your debt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    WammerJammer (profile), Dec 8th, 2009 @ 7:49am

    DigiProtect Now Handing Pre-Settlement Threat Amounts Over To Collections Agencies

    I hope these idiots are in America. We will file a class action suit on them that will tie them up in court forever.
    Sue the collection agencies too. Track 'em and smack 'em back.
    If they come creeping around our servers I will corrupt their entire system. I buy every book I can find on hacking and also have many you can't buy. The hacker is the enemy to my corporation and we will have take every measure to nail them.
    Also we have setup a sweet Honey Pot Data NET that grabs hackers and lets them think they have a system to hack while we log every move. Smack 'em back. We donate a whole group of servers to this and I am happy to say I have nailed several assholes who try to subvert our databases. When they mess with our servers I have a tendency to treat them like burglars and I will send them the nastiest stuff I can find for them. I call it my extended firewall.
    On to the case at hand. Any company that fraudulently attaches a charge to any person and saying that their agreement to charge them is their IP address I really hope they do it to me. I am lucky enough to be able to pay cash for the things I want. So I have no credit. Car paid off, House paid off, large screen paid off plus I am the CTO of a small company but with enough resources to smack 'em back.
    This is serious stuff and is so unfair we need to attack it now.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 8th, 2009 @ 8:14am

    It isn't legal. Period. If Digiprotect had legal permission from copyright holders to distribute content freely as they did, then one does nothing whatsoever illegal by downloading it from them (and it's trivial to shut off uploading in any BT client, if that's what one is concerned about, although that puts a cap on one's download rate, generally speaking). If a collection agency calls, one can perfectly truthfully deny owing them anything. The most you'll have to do is sign an affidavit that testifies the truth of that statement and it will be over.

    Having worked for a collection agency once when I was a lot younger, I know a little about what they are legally allowed to do, and if a person is prepared to make a statement, under court oath, that they do not owe that money and there is no existing proof to the contrary (and there can't be in this case), then the collection agency will stop calling them. If they do not, the collection agency can be sued for harassment.

     

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  17.  
    icon
    aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile), Dec 8th, 2009 @ 8:19am

    Re: DigiProtect Now Handing Pre-Settlement Threat Amounts Over To Collections Agencies

    Read the first line of the blog post

    "We've covered how various companies in Europe"

    They aren't in the U.S.

     

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  18.  
    icon
    Kyros (profile), Dec 8th, 2009 @ 8:21am

    @DigiProtect Now Handing Pre-Settlement Threat Amounts Over To Collections Agencies

    So, ya bought "every book I can find on hacking and also have many you can't buy". You must be some kind of uber leet hacker, huh? Oh, yeah, that "Honey Pot Data NET" must just be the greatest thing ever, I'm sure none of the script kiddies can get past that with their Metasploit kits.

    I think we should start doing the same thing as these guys - seed our legally owned content, and then when one somebody at one of these collection groups downloads it, slam them back and get another collection group after them. It would be entertaining.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    Thomas (profile), Dec 8th, 2009 @ 8:24am

    Much easier..

    to steal money via lawyers than with a gun.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 8th, 2009 @ 8:29am

    Re: Re: DigiProtect Now Handing Pre-Settlement Threat Amounts Over To Collections Agencies

    I'm sure you read the entire thread before posting that, so...

    Pot, meet kettle.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 8th, 2009 @ 8:31am

    Re: @DigiProtect Now Handing Pre-Settlement Threat Amounts Over To Collections Agencies

    "You must be some kind of uber leet hacker, huh?"

    Zero Cool told me that he hacked a Gibson, so I'd be careful....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    VMD, Dec 8th, 2009 @ 8:37am

    Re: FDCPA

    By law in the US you have 30 days to be provided VOD (Verification of Debt). In which time you cannot be contacted by the agency until that is provided. If they cannot provide you the VOD you do not owe the debt. Yes I work for a collection agency.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 8th, 2009 @ 8:40am

    Re: The future.

    There already are Linux distros for secure encrypted media sharing and ripping. Mix that up with a couple multi Tbyte USB drives and you are pretty much on your way to the future you described.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 8th, 2009 @ 8:44am

    Re: Re: @DigiProtect Now Handing Pre-Settlement Threat Amounts Over To Collections Agencies

    "Zero Cool told me that he hacked a Gibson, so I'd be careful...."

    yeah it was easy the admin used the password "god" ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile), Dec 8th, 2009 @ 8:57am

    Re: Re: Re: DigiProtect Now Handing Pre-Settlement Threat Amounts Over To Collections Agencies

    Prove I didn't.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile), Dec 8th, 2009 @ 9:01am

    Re: Re: Re: @DigiProtect Now Handing Pre-Settlement Threat Amounts Over To Collections Agencies

    “God” wouldn’t be up this late.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 8th, 2009 @ 9:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: @DigiProtect Now Handing Pre-Settlement Threat Amounts Over To Collections Agencies

    Hack the planet....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile), Dec 8th, 2009 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: @DigiProtect Now Handing Pre-Settlement Threat Amounts Over To Collections Agencies

    HACK THE PLANET!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 8th, 2009 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: @DigiProtect Now Handing Pre-Settlement Threat Amounts Over To Collections Agencies

    My only crime is curiousity....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    william (profile), Dec 8th, 2009 @ 9:33am

    Re: FDCPA

    Uhh... shouldn't the first question is that...

    Do you actually have DEBT they are trying to collect?

    I am sure any "rational" country would have law to punish people who try to collect non-existant debt on you.

    at least I hope that's the case...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Jesse, Dec 8th, 2009 @ 10:04am

    Alright, so I'm going to have a garage sale. I'll put out my valuables with a sign "Free Stuff," and covertly take pictures of anyone partaking. Then I will send them a huge bill, well over the value of the goods. I'll threaten them with a lawsuit if they don't pay, and then hand them over to a collections agency.

    Only in the IP world do people accept this as okay.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 8th, 2009 @ 10:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: @DigiProtect Now Handing Pre-Settlement Threat Amounts Over To Collections Agencies

    "My only crime is curiousity...."

    no your crime is your fashion sense .... that black hat is so late 80's ... you should wear a tux like me .... ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 8th, 2009 @ 10:45am

    Re:

    Differece is, in the IP world all your stuff is still on your lawn...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 8th, 2009 @ 11:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: @DigiProtect Now Handing Pre-Settlement Threat Amounts Over To Collections Agencies

    "no your crime is your fashion sense .... that black hat is so late 80's ... you should wear a tux like me .... ;)"

    I accept no criticism from birds that can't be bothered to fly....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    senshikaze (profile), Dec 8th, 2009 @ 2:18pm

    Re: Re: FDCPA

    amerifags?
    really?

    lets try this again without the grade school-like name calling.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    icon
    senshikaze (profile), Dec 8th, 2009 @ 2:19pm

    Re: Re: FDCPA

    wow. you need to get a better job.
    working for a devil just can't be good for the ol' morale.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    icon
    senshikaze (profile), Dec 8th, 2009 @ 2:22pm

    Re: Forget the harrassment...

    one of the reasons i try my damnedest to never need my credit report. buy as much as i can with cash or checks. I am not a huge fan of the American debt, er...credit, system.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    senshikaze (profile), Dec 8th, 2009 @ 2:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: DigiProtect Now Handing Pre-Settlement Threat Amounts Over To Collections Agencies

    prove you did.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    senshikaze (profile), Dec 8th, 2009 @ 2:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: @DigiProtect Now Handing Pre-Settlement Threat Amounts Over To Collections Agencies

    they can fly!

    i have a catapult and a ticket to the local zoo. i can prove it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    senshikaze (profile), Dec 8th, 2009 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Re:

    you know....


    IP law is retarded if you think it in that light.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Dec 9th, 2009 @ 3:44am

    OP

    Why don't we set up a list of those who've been contacted by collections agencies regarding this? That way, we can file a class-action on extortion and mail fraud charges.

    Also, this is illegal, as the collections agencies have not provided hard proof of failure to pay, and they cannot be set on you without:

    a) A Possession/Seizure order; or
    b) A valid credit agreement.

    Under UK law, they have two months to provide you with a HARD COPY of the credit agreement/court order, or their claim is void.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    icon
    Almost Anonymous (profile), Dec 9th, 2009 @ 9:49am

    Re: Re: Forget the harrassment...

    Yeah, watch yourself Punky***.

    *** Borrowed without permission from AngryDude

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Lisa, Jan 14th, 2010 @ 2:34pm

    Yes Rackateering is a nice way of making money until you get prosecuted. There is a collection agency in US Fein such Shepard, they were charged with mail fraud and rackateering in Connecticut and in Illinois for fraud for suing people at former address obtaining default judgments because these people were never served at a valid addressd and threatning to throw them in jail unless they pay up the fraudelent judgement.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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