Scammer's Logic: How To Pretend You're Offering Legal Music And Movie Downloads

from the scammer-doublespeak dept

It’s always amusing to see how certain scammers try to justify whatever scam they’re selling as legal. So, while most discussions of this story will focus on how the FTC has (at least) temporarily banned a website from claiming it offers “legal” entertainment downloads, it’s much more fun to look at the specifics, and see why the guy thought he could get away with it. In short, it looks like he was using scammer doublespeak — which, while being technically correct, was obviously designed to mislead. In this case, the guy behind the site claimed that: “Best of all people are not getting sued for using our software. Yes! It is 100 percent legal.” The operative doublespeak word here is: “our.” He’s talking only about the “software” that his site directly offers. However, he wasn’t actually offering “software.” He was selling a “tutorial” on how to download music and movies. So, he was technically correct. No one was getting arrested for using his “software” because it wasn’t illegal by itself. That “software” was just a tutorial, telling people how to take part in unauthorized file sharing offerings — for which the user would very likely be breaking the law. Of course, this raises another big issue. In an age where “inducement” to infringe is illegal does just writing about ways to share unauthorized files trip the inducement line? It would seem like someone could make a free speech claim on that. However, that doesn’t apply in this situation, where it’s clearly a case of misleading advertising designed to trick people into paying for something that isn’t at all what they were told.

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Comments on “Scammer's Logic: How To Pretend You're Offering Legal Music And Movie Downloads”

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Etchy says:

This isn't new...

First of all, I’m glad this scammer got his website banned. Misleading is misleading plain and simple. You can’t create a document and call it “software.”

Secondly, he probably could have done this legally, if he had just been upfront and honest and offered it not as a “how-to” but as a book on how piracy schemes and file-sharing formats operate.

There are plenty of militia and anarchist books out there that just offer information on bomb-making and general mayhem. Obviously using those tactics would be illegal, but just offering the info is still protected free speech.

Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

Got a friend of mine

A friend of mine called me over the weekend to ask me about the new music servie he had signed up with. It was a $22 one time fee you got unlimited access to download music to your hearts content with no monthly fees and no expiration date.

This friend is deadset against doing anything illegal online (because that will bring you to the government’s attention and he doesn’t want those pesky revenuers poking their nose into his business) and so he was happy to find a legal music site that was so cheap.

I thought that sounded too good to be true unless it was limited to some obscure music you never heard of, so I asked for the link. It wasn’t the same one listed in this article, but it was very similar.

I went to the website to check it out and found that they provide you with links to Limewire, eMule and other P2P file sharing systems and they provide instructions and tutorials on how to use these systems to find the music you want.

A disclaimer at the bottom of the page reminds people to please respect copyright and to please not download or share music and other files that are copyrighted.

They offer a 7-day money back satisfaction guarantee – I encouraged him to hurry up and request it before the 7 days were up.

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