Guy Agrees To Pay $250,000* Just Days After Being Sued For Uploading Movies

from the *-may-not-actually-be-$250,000 dept

TorrentFreak notes that a guy who was apparently sued for uploading some porn movies from Liberty Media agreed to settle the lawsuit just four days later with a settlement that claims he’ll pay $250,000. What’s odd, of course, is that seems like a rather large settlement — especially done so fast, with no apparently legal fight. However, TorrentFreak noted a little semi-hidden caveat in the consent agreement:

Defendant has an opportunity to reduce the amount payable to Plaintiff if Defendant ceases any further content theft (whether the Plaintiff?s content or anyone elses), and if he makes regular payments toward the judgment on a schedule which will be agreed upon between the parties in a separate settlement agreement.

Reading between the lines, it seems likely that the company and the guy worked out a much lower actual settlement amount, and basically the guy is really paying that. But this way, if he’s found to infringe again, it’ll jump up to $250,000. In the meantime, though, it gives Liberty Media the ability to claim it got a $250,000 settlement, even though it’s unlikely to actually be anywhere near there.

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Comments on “Guy Agrees To Pay $250,000* Just Days After Being Sued For Uploading Movies”

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68 Comments
Marketing Consultant says:

Any advertisement is good advertisement

Although I am not as knowledgeable as you heros and cowards alike it would seem to me that publicity would only be a good thing. Perhaps next time the bigwigs could go back to good old fashioned business strategy and ask before dipping their hand/s in the “cookie jar”.
Besides, here and now it really only matters how the angels and sinners feel. Not the shareholders or special interest groups.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“.torrent = .crime”

Dumbest thing I’ve read all day, and there’s plenty of stupidity to be found everywhere. Clearly from a shill who’s never heard of Linux, Pioneer One, the Humble Indie Bundle, or any current uploader at Mininova, who only now allows legal uploads provided by those who own the rights to do so.

Look around you. See all that color? Life is not so black and white.

Josef Anvil (profile) says:

Eliot Ness lives (AC)

“It doesn’t really matter if it is $1 or $1 million. The point is made. The guy knows he did wrong and is going to work to make it right.”

The only problem with that statement is that he knows he did “wrong”. He broke the current law.

Perhaps all of the AC’s that visit and decree “but it’s breaking the law…” have forgotten about Prohibition in the US. When you outlaw human nature then you set yourself up for an uncontrollable backlash from the population. File sharing networks are the speakeasy clubs of the digital age, and until the laws are aligned with human nature, “piracy” will continue.

Calling people thieves and freeloaders really has no effect on people who don’t perceive they are doing anything wrong ( which is why the guy kept downloading his porn for free ).

Funny thing is that if you look at the actions objectively and then overlay morality, you get a rather interesting picture. If I were to stop downloading music for free and pay for all my music and movies, I would be funding the RIAA and MPAA which lobby Congress. So by ceasing to share (morally correct), I would be funding legalized bribery (morally incorrect).

Karl (profile) says:

Re:

It doesn’t really matter if it is $1 or $1 million. The point is made.

Yep. He’ll never buy anything from Liberty Media again, even if he could afford it after damages.

And since each download is a lost purchase, I’m sure Liberty Media’s sales will just jump up by a thousand units right away. Go ahead, hold your breath waiting.

To get even more sales, they should sue every uploader, and make sure that no Liberty Media porn is ever uploaded to any site ever again. Then, people would have to buy their product. Because without Liberty Media, there would be no porn on the internet.

Point taken!

sam sin says:

i’ll bet this is a publicity stunt, done with an actual employee, purely to make out that they have one a ‘high profile copyright infringing case’. has anyone else heard of a case of this type being settled ‘within a couple of days’ without any sort of fight back/denial of guilt by an accused? i haven’t. this stinks of a set up to me!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I don’t think anyone thinks any of that at all. I am sure they don’t think this guy is suddenly going to become a life long customer (although he may be paying for the rest of his life for doing something very stupid and illegal).

However, with one less source for material, one less initial seeder, one less peer, it makes the material a little harder to get. Because most porn has a small number of initial sources, cutting off those sources may make the material much harder to get in the illegal marketplace, driving some consumers back to actually paying for something.

At bare minimum, other people might think twice about seeding this stuff.

Anonymous Coward says:

Eliot Ness lives (AC)

Prohibition is a horrible example, because the booze was not available legally at any price. It wasn’t a question of choice between free booze and pay for booze, it was booze or not booze.

If piracy magically disappeared tomorrow (and it won’t, let’s not start on this), there would still be all the same movies and music available. It isn’t like the movie and music industries would dry up and die.

So it is hard to compare the moral choices made by people in the two cases, as the motivations are different.

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re:

Funny how the asterisk usually has the more pertinent information that is most relevant to the story.

Such as “I will give you $100mil!!!*”
*Under a ridiculous set of circumstances which would never be able to happen in reality.

Now, what’s more newsworthy? The fact that I offered you $100mil or the fact that I was so trying to falsely play up my philanthropy that I set it all up in such a way that I’d never have to give out that money? What’s more telling about me and about the facts of the story?

Karl (profile) says:

Re:

Ok, after reviewing everything in threaded format, you may be right. The downside to this though, is when something new is added, it’s not as easy to find.

Just FYI, Techdirt uses “Gravitars” for AC’s. That means, that if they have different “snowflake” icons, they’re (probably) different posters. It makes anonymous comments a bit easier to track, even in “flattened” format.

I agree that it’s sometimes a pain to read a big discussion in threaded format, because after a couple of replies, everything is squished up against the right margin. I’m not sure there’s a solution, though.

Karl (profile) says:

Re:

See, the freetards have this meme, .torrent = .crime. Problem is, it’s essentially true, as only .03% of torrent traffic is actually even legal

…says the guy who is afraid of technology.

If it’s true (which I doubt), the solution is to make more legal .torrent files.

Ten years ago, you could say the same thing about people downloading MP3’s. Now iTunes is making a killing, all because Apple had the smarts to legally offer this “pirate” technology to consumers.

In another ten years, distribution via .torrent files will be an industry standard, and they’ll be making more money from the labor of those same “freetards.”

Karl (profile) says:

Re:

Because most porn has a small number of initial sources, cutting off those sources may make the material much harder to get in the illegal marketplace, driving some consumers back to actually paying for something.

Yeah, good luck with that.

For one thing, the internet isn’t lacking for “initial sources.” Once it’s out there, anyone who has a copy can be a source. Some may think twice about “seeding,” but most won’t.

For another thing, I doubt very much that people who wouldn’t get it for free would be “driven” back to actually paying for it. Even if they couldn’t pirate different porn (unlikely), most probably wouldn’t even watch it if it wasn’t free.

I said this in a different comment, but I doubt very much that stopping piracy is even a goal here. I think Liberty Media is just using the court system as a revenue stream.

DH's Love Child (profile) says:

Eliot Ness lives (AC)

Not really. During prohibition, folks could make their own booze for private consumption legally. The basic premise is the same though.

IMHO, most piracy results from the lack of legal availability the content. I will admit to having donned an eyepatch on a few occasions when looking for content that simply isn’t available anywhere else but in pirated form (Harry Potter ebooks, for example).

teka (profile) says:

i would not be terribly surprised to see some of this kind of language revealed in more of these threat letters, or at least the responses to the people unlucky enough to actually respond to them.

“tell you what, you sign here and here. That means you agree to keep the one dollar a month payment secret. if you don’t keep it secret, we will come back and have a judge force the rest of the two-hundred thousand out of you, got it?”

next day there is another press release about the Dirty Pirate who agreed to pay two hundred thousand dollars because he finally realized he was a villain and a terrorist. huzzah, success, champagne all around.

TDR says:

Anonymous, either immediately provide full and detailed evidence of how the sharing of a specific file has harmed a specific artist, and also the specific methodology by which you calculated your figure for the percentage of torrents that are legal, or give a complete retraction of everything you have ever said on this site. Now.

I’ve already begun reporting every post you make, just as I said I would. Ignore me and that will only continue.

Anonymous Coward says:

Eliot Ness lives (AC)

…or stop downloading illegal material and start using legal alternatives that gives you all the rights and freedoms back.

Jamendo is a good place to start.

But there are others places:

Librivox for audiobooks.
Freesound for sounds and samples for your videos.
Creative Commons has a bigger list of places you can also look for.
Archive.og has a big collection of movies, videos, books and other things.
VODO a distribution channel for videos and movies.
Mininova is 100% legal now.
YouTube Shows is a bit hidden but is there and have a lot of stuff.
Miro which is a open source program have tens of thousands of channels throught their Miro Guide and can show you the licenses they use so you can decide what to support or not.

I could go on there is more, much more out there if you choose to look for it.

Anonymous Coward says:

The “Guy” is exactly what they want to find.
A tiny bit of digging shows that he might be someone involved in some sort of ministry/theology.
This lets the amazing leeches apply a whole bunch of pressure.
We are going to out you, we are going to ruin your life unless you agree to sign this document. You will never have to pay us the full amount, and we’ll keep your name between us… promise.
Well his name is out there, and they have their $250k judgment to wave around to scare everyone else.

Had the guy been doing what others sued by Liberty Media had done, I would have no problem. In that case, that i recall, someone was compiling and eBaying homemade DVDs of the content. They were actually who copyright law is meant to stop. Someone actively profiting off of someone else’s work.

But this guy committed the ultimate sin of liking something so much he opted to share it with others. He made no money from doing this, and by exposing others to some of the productions he might have generated more customers for Corbin Fisher productions.

Just because someone might see your product without paying does not mean it is the end of the world. What can and will hurt your bottom line is outing someone so you can have a new big stick to run around with scaring people into paying you “settlements” because they have your IP address on a list. You can offer the hottest guys anywhere, but if the perception of your target audience is your a flaming douche bag, your going to have a hard time making that sale at any cost.

They have no problem handing over customer information to other people based on an IP address. They have no problem lying to get you on the phone with their lawyer. Do you think when people become aware of the tactics being employed that even people who don’t share might start avoiding your site. With the number of “false positives” in the IP collection methods used, there is a good chance someone innocent will end up being targeted and outed.

The “they have a right to get paid” crowd will go on about how this is fair game for pirates. Does their “right” to be paid include setting other people up to face threats and violence? Or can you not wrap your mind around the idea that someone closeted might have some worry about outing themselves to their credit card company or other payment service? Because there is no way your “personal” information can end up in the hands of data brokers. And no insurance company has ever dropped anyone for being gay. And the tooth fairy is real, and lives next door to the easter bunny.

Copyright law is broken in this country.
Huge judgments were meant to protect against others making fakes of your product and selling it as their own.
Now you can’t forward an article you see to a friend or re-post a section to your blog without worrying if your going to be sued for a stupid amount of money.
You need to have a lawyer make sure any noise in the background of your babies first steps video does not include a song, movie or tv show.
Intellectual property has been elevated to a stupid status in this country, it is our most valuable thing.
As I have pointed out before IP in the US also includes a masturbating bear in a diaper.
If that is the pinnacle of IP needing protection with $500k judgments, we need to be smacked.

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