It's no secret that the real strategy of many of the porn companies who have turned into copyright trolls is to use public shame into the game as a way to pressure people into settling. As per usual, these companies almost never follow through on actual lawsuits against people. They do just enough to get ISPs to cough up identifying information and threaten to file the lawsuit. In some cases, the threat of having to fight a lawsuit is enough to make people settle (even if they're innocent). However, often enough, it seems that the companies know that merely the possible embarrassment from publicly claiming someone downloaded porn will make them settle. It seems that one German copyright troll, Urmann and Colleagues (U+C) is skipping the legal middleman, and is just going to start posting information it's collected on people it accuses of infringement directly on its website
, hoping this will create incentives to pay up, without the company having to go through any actual legal process. Of course, threatening to expose information about you unless you pay up, sure sounds an awful lot like extortion...
The article also notes that some legal experts believe that this move will violate Germany's (somewhat strict) privacy laws. Either way, U+C claims that it has a list of 150,000 people who it wants to pay up. I actually wonder if a list quite that large actually makes it counterproductive. When you're in the company of so many people, perhaps it's not quite so embarrassing... Of course, given that, perhaps it's not surprising that U+C has indicated elsewhere that it's going to be releasing the info in drips and drabs, and will be targeting those who have the most to lose
if it's exposed that they were downloading hardcore porn.
According to comments an Urmann insider made to Wochenblatt, the law firm is planning to target the most vulnerable people first – those with IP addresses registered to churches, police stations and – quite unbelievably – the embassies of Arab countries.
How nice of them.