Last week we wrote about claims that copyright holders were purposely putting their own content online
to see who downloaded it, and then suing them. In that post, we mentioned a post from last year, about one of the companies that's been hired to track down file sharers, DigiProtect, and how its contract
seems to suggest this is exactly what the company does. After that came out, there was some talk about how that contract clause really was only used to make sure the company had the right to investigate infringement. However, the company now appears to be quite forward in admitting that it puts files online
specifically to catch downloaders:
"We get the legal rights from the companies to distribute these movies to stores, and with these rights we can sue illegal downloaders. Then we take legal action in every country possible, concentrating on the places where such action will be profitable."
Of course, this seems questionable on a variety of levels. First, if it's getting the distribution rights to the content, then the distribution is authorized
, and not infringing. Second, DigiProtect makes it quite clear that its focus is on figuring out the most profitable way to do this -- not the best way to cut down on infringement. The company apparently doesn't pay anyone on a fixed salary, but everyone shares in a cut of whatever is "collected." In other words, the program is not at all about stopping unauthorized file sharing, but figuring out the best way to profit from sending threat letters to people. The company even admits that the numbers it demands from people, and the numbers used in lawsuits have nothing
to do with actual damages, but are entirely about what they think is mostly likely to get them paid. That sounds an awful lot like the what most people call extortion.