European Rights Holders Drastically Increase Borderline Extortion Pre-Settlement Letters
from the this-won't-last dept
A new report in Germany is suggesting that DigiProtect and a few similar firms in Europe may have sent out 450,000 such letters last year. Unfortunately, NewTeeVee, in reporting on this, claims that each of these are "P2P lawsuits," but that's not true (and a large part of the problem). Nearly every one of these letters are sent without any corresponding lawsuit. The whole idea is to shake people down by threatening a lawsuit, but never having to go through the expense of filing one (or the trouble of actually proving the infringement -- which is a big deal since many, many, many bogus letters have been generated, snaring many innocent users). But, with little in the way of penalties for such bogus pre-settlement letters, there's simply no reason not to keep sending them. Apparently, enough people just pay up to make this an incredibly profitable business.
However, with the massive increase in such letters, and increasing scrutiny about the whole practice, you have to wonder when European governments will start to crack down on this behavior. It's difficult to see anyone defending these actions with a straight face. They clearly have nothing to do with preventing file sharing or unauthorized use of content, but are very much about just getting people to pay up under the threat of a lawsuit.