from the transparent-bullying dept
Despite all the noise Rightscorp makes in the media and in the courts, it's not very good at being a copyright troll. The company's latest earnings report suggested the company is losing more money than ever, spending $1.24 million on legal fees and other costs last quarter to collect just $308,000.
ISPs are under no obligation under the DMCA to forward copyright infringement notices, though most ISPs do so anyway. However, on principle many ISPs (like Comcast) refuse to pass on Rightscorp's early settlement notices, which demand users pay an upfront payment of $20 to avoid legal escalation (which usually never comes). On behalf of its client Rotten Records, Rightscorp is now suing two Comcast users for sharing an album each and ignoring hundreds of settlement notices:
"Distancing themselves from any accusations of wrongdoing, the lawsuits state that neither Rotten Records nor Rightscorp were the original ‘seeders’ of the album and at no point did Rightscorp upload the albums to any other BitTorrent users. However, the company did send warnings to the Comcast users with demands for them to stop sharing the album.Rightscorp is seeking an injunction forbidding further online infringement in both cases, deletion of both works, statutory damages of up to $150,000 for each album, and attorneys' fees. It's a one-two punch; trying to reveal the names of the offenders while attempting to punish Comcast for refusing to pass on settlement demands. If it wins, Rightscorp hopes the ample press will scare other settlement notice recipients to pay up.
"Rightscorp sent Defendant 288 notices via their ISP Comcast Cable Communications, Inc. from December 14, 2014 to May 12, 2015 demanding that Defendant stop illegally distributing Plaintiff’s work. Defendant ignored each and every notice and continued to illegally distribute Plaintiff’s work," the complaint reads."
Oddly, while the cable company everybody loves to hate is standing up for users, an ISP that's been a bit of a hero for bringing some much needed competition to the broadband market has been playing along with Rightscorp. Google Fiber has been taking some heat the last few weeks for the news that it's passing on Rightscorps' full settlement demands to users. When pressed for comment as to why companies like Comcast strip out the demands to protect its customers and Google doesn't, the company claimed it was just trying to be as transparent as possible:
"When Google Fiber receives a copyright complaint about an account, we pass along all of the information we receive to the account holder so that they’re aware of it and can determine the response that’s best for their situation," a Google spokesperson tells TF...."Although we think there are better solutions to fighting piracy than targeting individual downloaders, we want to be transparent with our customers,” Google’s spokesperson adds."Of course, if Google truly wants to be "transparent" with users, it might consider adequately informing them they're being shaken down by a particularly hairy copyright troll.