Company That Sends Out Almost-Extortion-Like 'Pre-Settlement Letters' Sees No Problem With Almost-Extortion-Like 'Pre-Settlement Letters'
from the business-as-usual dept
Germany-based DigiProtect has a long history of using a machine-gun approach to “fight piracy”, in which it sends out tens of thousands of letters to people it says have illegally downloaded its clients’ content, and demanding a “pre-settlement” payment to stop them from being sued. The big problem is that the company’s net catches lots of innocent people, and it’s been condemned by all sorts of people, even including the British equivalent of the RIAA. The BBC has been asking some questions of DigiProtect, and as you might expect, the firm sees absolutely nothing wrong with what it’s doing, calling its method “the only proven effective proceeding” for dealing with piracy. How, exactly, is the method effective? Because as far as we can tell — and as far as the recording industry is concerned — the amount of illegal downloading going on really isn’t slowing down much. What it’s effective at is generating revenues for DigiProtect, which tells the BBC that after deducting costs, it pays rightsholders at least 50% of the remainder of the “pre-settlements”, leaving it a nice commission. These answers from Digiprotect are completely unsurprising, and it’s not clear if the BBC expected the company to have some sort of epiphany and shut down or what. After all, another company using a similar model in the UK called it quits last week, saying it was “surprised and disappointed by the amount of adverse publicity that our firm has attracted in relation to this work.” I mean, who in their right mind would think that sending out these bully-like letters, particularly to lots of innocent people, would upset anybody?