Archive for the ‘Blackmail’ Category

The following extract is from a Porn Director who was so fed up with his work being illegally downloaded that he began his own pay back campaign. Only nobody told him that this would make him look silly and that the tactic was considered a legal form of blackmail. Something businesses don’t want to advertise!

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/09/amounts-to-blackmail-inside-a-p2p-settlement-letter-factory.ars/

When I first read this I thought it was hilarious, long and drawn out at times. But what really made the thread extra sweet was the icing of excuses. You know when someone has been caught out, and the excuse seems totally logical to them, but common sense tells you that it’s a bit of a tall tale.

Ok, very few of them here are silly, but the serious ones, are also laughable but for an entirely different reason. The excuses are so smack in the face honest, it leaves the people who have had their works stolen with no recourse. They could pursue, but any victory would be picric, and probably end up costing way too much in company image!

All the parts in red are extracted from Page 2

But the effects of this operation on those accused of infringement are remarkable. The e-mail trove is stuffed with anguished pleas like this:

I was in total shock after receiving the letter I received from you today as explained in the telephone conversation. I will say that I was not the person responsible for this infringement. The only person who it could have been would be my son who is [name redacted]. I would never entertain the idea of downloading such a thing—in fact I do not even know how to download any type of software. I only use the internet for Ebay and emails. I also go on dating sites and facebook. This is where my knowledge of computers stops. I do not understand what P2P is….

At the time of the download, to my knowledge my son was visiting my home. I have no idea what he was looking at on my computer. I must add that I do not tolerate any such pornographic material. This letter has upset me greatly and I have spoken to my ex husband who also called yourself with regard to this matter.

There is a lot of sympathy in this sort of letter; are parents suppose to know how computers work? Are they supposed to monitor their network? In the eyes of the law, the answer is clear cut, but in these cases, there is a large loop hole!

Most of the notices seem to have gone to parents, as one would expect from a program targeting ISP account holders. But many of the parents seem baffled:

I have today received a legal notification from you that a pornographic film was downloaded from my internet connection in October 2009.I immediately phoned your contact number and was told to put my comments in writing. I am obviously shocked both at this alleged illegal activity and the fact that the title appears to be of an offensive nature. I can confirm that i have no knowledge of this download being carried out at my home address. I have checked my computer and my sons computer for any reference to this file (using windows search function) and have found no trace.I have spoken to my two sons about downloads (They are 8 and 12) but obviously not about the nature of this file and to be honest they know even less than me. My oldest child has used i tunes and downloaded games from a site called friv.com but these claim to be free. Is this true? or will it also result in copyright issues ?

This letter suggests that his wifi network was unencrypted, and what the next sentences are based on. That someone, who may not be technically minded, may not have secured their network and left it opened for everyone to access. Many people would have no qualms about accessing someone else’s network and using their internet, this happens more than some might care to imagine. But still leaves the payee of the bill in charge, and ultimately responsible!

Even if someone has knowledge of computers, and secured their network, it might not be enough. It has been known for some time that WEP encryption can be bypassed in a few minutes. This huge security flaw still remains the default method of encryption for routers. The IT industry may be a clever domain, but sometimes it does make some silly mistakes.

Others are offended at the titles they are accused of sharing:

I am no prude and can see what type of material something entitled Granny F— is. I am the father of 5 children, 3 of these under the age of 7, and to suggest i would have such material on a computer is what i find offensive. May i also add that i am very anti pornography, having been abused as a child by someone who would use porn films before abusing me .this is why i am totally anti porn.

And this is the fundamental problem, that companies that have had their works stolen, don’t know who exactly has downloaded it. The last stop is the person who pays the bill for the internet connection. This looks like another case of someone entering the network illegally, but again who is at fault. Would a company dare pursue this case any further and try to get compensation? I would hope not!

Then come the “innocent infringers,” though some of these explanations can feel a bit… strained.

on the date 16-11-2009 at 16.35 i was browsing the internet namely bt junkie ,without going into a long story i accidentely pressed the download button for the copyright protected file british granny f— 5@6 which then opened my bittorrent client on my pc which the torrent is sent to with the forementioned file is attached. It normally takes a few minutes for the file to start downloading and before it did i realised what i had done and canceled the file preventing any copyright infringement from taking place. just by starting the download process would have been enough to leave my ip address listed. I hereby appologise for any inconvienience i have caused yourself or your client and can swear at no time was any part of the forementioned copyright protected file downloaded onto my pc or shared with anyone else.

(I mean, haven’t we all, at one time or another, accidentally been browsing BitTorrent sites and accidentally clicked on a film called Granny F—?)

Even if a company did pursue this person, by alerting them with a letter, it gives them the ability to cover their tracks. I could easily deny that I have downloaded, and spend the next day wiping the drives of my computer. I would assume that someone who is clever enough to use P2P networks will also know of hard drive wiping tools. This could mean long legal bills for the companies with very little choices and even less proof!

Others took responsibility for their actions:

I am writing in response to the recent letter my father [name redacted] received on the 13.04.2010 based on the subject of infringement of copyright. I would firstly like to state that I am solely responsible for this and I [name redacted] take full responsibility. I have read through all the information that you have supplied and I understand how serious the matter is—since last year 2009 I have not downloaded any material as I understood how it was a bad thing to do and how it is killing out industry.

I do take responsibility for this issue and I would very much like to ask if the required payment of £495 could somehow possibly be reduced. The reason i am asking this is because I am currently a student and money is a big factor and getting by generally is a hard thing to do.

Even when the companies do win, it seems almost cruel and again a picric victory! There is a very genuine quality about this letter, which raises the next question, are the companies going to make him pay? He clearly doesn’t have the funds, is sorry about it, and completely in the wrong, but where does that leave the situation?

Force him to pay, get the money with a negative image on the company’s reputation! Or let him go, and people find out that companies are unwilling to sue, seen as a soft touch and safe to download illegal material! It’s a no win situation!

But personally I am not surprised; it was never a win situation in the first place. Will the lads from The RIAA and the MPAA even realise this? I don’t think so, they are so focused on the bone, they fail to realise their very names produce bile in the mouth!

Indeed, many of the guilty appear to be kids. Some parents figured it out:

I would also like to also say that it was not my sons intention to fileshare this music and was unaware of how file sharing works as am I—I appreciate that this is no excuse but ask you to bear this in mind. As mentioned in previous correspondence from myself I am writing to again explain that my financial circumstances make it impossible for me to pay £400 in one go or even at £40 per month I am in extreme financial hardship with mounting debts and do not have any spare money – if you were to take this to court I would be unable to even pay the basic utility bills or even the necessary food bills.

The other thing about these charges is the cost. What concerns me the most is the high figures that are being asked? Normally a movie, be it blue or main stream, would retail at around £20, so where did they get the £400 or £495 from?

I know it’s probably a fine and calculating the number of people that have possibly viewed the material. But still, if they can’t even exactly identify the culprit, then how do they know how much to charge?

If there’s one great theme running through these letters, it’s the poverty of the respondents. One is a “a single mum living of state benefits who cannot afford to pay any kind of money my daughter is very sorry for any problems caused,” while another lives “in the hold of my bank overdraft my money is never my own. We at present find it very hard to make ends meet, at the moment I am trying to amass funds to pay our utility bills for this month and can not see any change in the near future.” Students plead hardship due to school fees; many people claim to be unemployed.

But perhaps most creative are the letters that make no attempt at argument. These are sheer vitriol. One stands out among the rest:

Go f— your mum you stupid pakistani black jew. You zimbabwean immigrant.

So listen up fat f—, don’t send me another letter. If you do send me another f—ing letter, I will rape your mum against the wall and I will blow up your house and kill you all in a terrorist attack.

In addition, I want a £3500 cheque written to me for the inconvinience [sic] you have caused me.

*If you do not reply to this email with a confirmation that you will pay me, I will hunt you down and stab you in the back and blow your d— up.*

Creative, in an unhinged way. If you had thoughts about going into P2P litigation, consider the sheer migraine-inducingness of getting such messages on a daily basis. Indeed, after reading the correspondence, it’s not hard to see why one paralegal who worked at ACS Law during the summer of 2010 told a friend there was “no chance in hell” she would go back.

(My apologies for repeating the derogatory terms, some people will never learn ??)

As funny as the last letter is, it also leaves you with an unnerving feeling.  The sad fact is that we are all capitalist at heart; all the good things come from hard work, and the bad things from enjoying it too much.

Publishers just want to make lots of money, and because they do, everyone around them gains some benefit. The businesses which support them and the thousands of employees who are able to get on with their lives and enjoy it. But as soon as you take the money out of it. Things go wrong, the business has to migrate into other areas or reduce its size and costs.

It comes down to this point, if all the money is leaking out to piracy; then there is no point to being in business.

While you may feel that Publisher are making too much money. The stark reality for us PC Gamers is that releases are drying up or come with plenty of DRM strings. Tom Clancy’s HAWX2 has been out for some time now, apart for the PC, which will be released sometime this month (October 2010). I have been informed by GameStop that it will be “probably the 15th” (European Release date).

Gamers do have a choice…

Pretend nothing is happening!

Keep illegally downloading!

Do something about!

Wait for the change!

You will have to pick one, of that I am certain!