New Twist On Mass Pre-Settlement Copyright Shakedown Letters: Porn Company Asks Downloaders To Confess... And Pay

from the yeah,-good-luck dept

We've been covering how tons of porn companies have jumped on the bandwagon with these mass pre-settlement shakedown operations, in which they threaten thousands of people for the possibility that they might have infringed on their copyrights, and ask them to pay up to avoid a lawsuit. Over the last few weeks, TorrentFreak has been following how Liberty Media has been gearing up for just such a plan, with a few twists. First, there was the really bizarre lawsuit and settlement, where some guy was sued and settled in just a few days, giving Liberty Media the ability to claim he settled for $250,000, while the fine print suggested that he's paying a lot less (if anything). Then, the company started suing intermediaries, like Paypal and Hotfile.

But the latest move appears to be an attempt to turn this whole circus into a way to sign up more users. That's because the studio is now offering an "amnesty program," for people who 'fess up to downloading its movies. But unlike typical "amnesty" programs, you have to pay $1,000. Yes, the studio is asking people to effectively voluntarily agree to pay $1,000 so that they won't sue them, on the off-chance that there's actually evidence pointing to them (and that it can actually successfully sue a bunch of users -- which has proven problematic for others). But, here's the kicker: for those who do pay up, you get a one-year "paid membership" to the company's websites. In other words, it's a shakedown-turned-marketing plan.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Atkray (profile), Jan 27th, 2011 @ 4:37pm

    Is it too late to patent "Shakedown-turned-marketing plan"?

     

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

  2.  
    icon
    thestevetorres (profile), Jan 27th, 2011 @ 5:09pm

    Genius

    Wow... just wow.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    DCX2, Jan 27th, 2011 @ 5:59pm

    WTF

    Are you sure this isn't citing an article from The Onion?

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2011 @ 6:22pm

    I just realized this is the exact opposite of banning someone from your services as a settlement condition. Many advocates of much harsher IP protection like to compare infringement with theft of tangible goods. By that line of reasoning, this would be the equivalent of Costco suing a shoplifter, then including a Costco membership in the settlement.

     

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

  5.  
    icon
    average_joe (profile), Jan 27th, 2011 @ 6:23pm

    Huh?

     

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

  6.  
    icon
    Joe (profile), Jan 27th, 2011 @ 6:40pm

    Re:

    Yeah, y'all com back now, ya hear!

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2011 @ 6:46pm

    You have to give it to the p0rn industry, they have always been groundbreaking! (And no, I am not being facetious)

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2011 @ 7:23pm

    Re:

    What?

     

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

  9.  
    icon
    average_joe (profile), Jan 27th, 2011 @ 7:34pm

    Re: Re:

    I don't get it. Who would possibly fork over the grand?

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    DogBreath, Jan 27th, 2011 @ 9:20pm

    Re: Genius

    And now we finally know the pron industries strategy to: CwF + RtB

    1) Threaten to sue

    2) Offer discounted settlement along with free membership (charged annually and automatically to your credit card)

    3) PROFIT!


    If only the MPAA or RIAA had thought of it first (Forcing Itunes, Netflix, etc), but they're too slow. You can almost bet this will be a business method patented by the pron industry now.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2011 @ 11:51pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Scared people who are clueless about the law that is who and there is a lot of them out there.

    I think they don't realize they should treat lawyers of any kind as hostile relationships, same goes for the police.

    Don't ever talk to them directly, don't send them letters explaining anything, the right place to do all that is when you are inside a court room with witness and records being made.

     

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

  12.  
    icon
    Pontifex (profile), Jan 28th, 2011 @ 12:19am

    It's the Porn industry; of course they're screwing their customers.

     

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

  13.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Jan 28th, 2011 @ 1:01am

    Re:

    In this case, they're bending potential customers over with one hand, then giving them a camera to watch with the other. IT's either genius or madness, and frankly, i couldn't tell you which.

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2011 @ 4:07am

    This might work if it was a smaller fee. $1000 is way too much and a huge burden on anyone.

    $50-100 or so? I don't know. It gives you that mafia style protection paired with some content. I think they'd actually have significant sales then.

    In fact, with a letter from a lawyer and a low price point, I'd bet they'd get 50% compliance even if people weren't guilty.

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2011 @ 5:01am

    Re:

    I think $1000 seems reasonable for what they are offering, I mean typically these sites charge $30+ a month, so a year's membership is $350ish dollars or more. So basically they are saying for $650 they will not involve you in frivolous lawsuits that will waste your time and quite a bit more money.

    On a side note, Can someone setup a national "Do-Not-Sue" list where people can simply opt out of these stupid lawsuits... it could be run similarly to the "do-not-call" lists

     

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

  16.  
    icon
    Mr. LemurBoy (profile), Jan 28th, 2011 @ 7:22am

    Re:

    They should just set it up to be the opposite of Hadopi. Instead of '3 strikes and you're banned' it can be '3 strikes and you're signed up'

     

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

  17.  
    icon
    average_joe (profile), Jan 29th, 2011 @ 9:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Scared people who are clueless about the law that is who and there is a lot of them out there.

    I think they don't realize they should treat lawyers of any kind as hostile relationships, same goes for the police.

    Don't ever talk to them directly, don't send them letters explaining anything, the right place to do all that is when you are inside a court room with witness and records being made.


    You think there are clueless people who are just going to hand over a grand even before they've even been accused of anything? I seriously doubt it.

     

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

  18.  
    icon
    hmm (profile), Mar 11th, 2011 @ 2:24pm

    ah poor joe

    poor average joe...you haven't met these people who send 10s of thousands of dollars to nigerian princesses with eleventy billion dollars JUST FOR YOU.......and they do it after one single email................

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Barry, Mar 4th, 2012 @ 8:12am

    I guess I'm not the only one with this problem. I have the same stuff on my laptop "We're at CorbinFisher.com have to take steps to prevent any illegal...bla bla" and I only used it for surfing through informational websites. I did some digging about Marc Randazza and Liberty Media Holdings. Whoever is standing behind this company is a pure evil and has to be stopped. They're sending letters to regular people like:
    "Although we have only caught you stealing one movie, it is our intent to forensically examine every single hard drive and other electronic storage device in the gouse, and to depose all members of the household. Thus far, I have yet to find and intellectual property thief who only steals on movie. In any event, I very much doubt that someone who stole Down on the Farm only stole that movie and not many other adult entertainment films."
    This guy is crazy, now it's absolutely clear. They created piece of art software to manipulate regular guys like me and you and try to beat money out of me and my family. It just cant be left like that. This can't be legal. I'm on my way to an attorney. Could somebody suggest a lawyer who can boost Liberty Media Holdings' ass please?

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This