When CEG-TEK’s DMCA notices contain duplicate titles. Purposeful luring of defendants or not?

Copyright Enforcement Group’s (“CEG-TEK Int’l”) DMCA letters have been sent out to thousands of would-be “John Doe” copyright infringement defendants to date for the alleged downloading of pornographic films. The problem is that they often ask for MULTIPLE SETTLEMENTS FOR THE SAME DOWNLOADED TITLE.

BACKGROUND: Just in case you did not read my first article on Ira Siegel’s / CEG-TEK’s DMCA Scare LettersI’m including these next two paragraphs to bring you up to speed.

Instead of CEG-TEK’s failed methods of suing hundreds of John Doe Defendants in one bittorrent lawsuit, CEG-TEK has concocted a turnkey method of scaring a would-be internet user into settling their case BEFORE THE PLAINTIFF EVEN FILES A LAWSUIT. Instead of a copyright troll paying a $350 filing fee and proving copyright infringement in front of a judge, and in lieu of hiring plaintiff attorneys to fight the ISPs in order to obtain the names, the addresses, and the phone numbers of would-be defendants (and noting that ISPs are no longer cooperating as easily as they used to), Ira Siegel and CEG-TEK have found a way using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to have the ISP send letters to the alleged infringers, doing CEG-TEK’s dirty work for them.

The notice an ISP subscriber would receive would say something such as “Notice of Unauthorized Use of Registered Copyrights Owned by so-and-so,” followed by a Case #, a password, and CEG TEK International’s long and confusing “scare” letter threatening that if the defendant didn’t settle the claims against them online via their www.copyrightsettlements.com website (I am not including the link for obvious reasons of protecting your privacy; read my other article for details relating to IP address tracking, website failures, etc.), then Ira M. Siegel or one on CEG-TEK’s legal counsel would sue for violation of the U.S. Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 106.

The problem is that even though they are only asking for a settlement of $200 for each title [UPDATE: $500 per infringed title (prices per title for some production companies have gone up)], CEG-TEK IS NOT FILTERING OUT DUPLICATE DOWNLOAD ATTEMPTS.  So, a downloader who downloads a title such as Media Products, Inc. DBA Devil’s Film’s “It’s Okay! She’s my Step-Daughter” or Digital Sin Inc.’s “Fresh Outta Highschool” using bittorrent, and their bittorrent software attempts to connect to these files multiple times, -OR- if CEG-TEK monitors that you have downloaded various pieces of the same title multiple times (even when the IP address is the same), YOU WILL GET MULTIPLE LETTERS FROM YOUR ISP.

The problem I ask is — how does an accused downloader call up Ira Siegel — a KNOWN COPYRIGHT TROLL who has sued thousands of defendants for $150,000 per title, and who has sent out countless “scare” letters demanding thousands of dollars per title — how do you call up Ira Siegel and say, “yeah, I downloaded it,” ***ADMISSION OF GUILT*** “but I only did it once, not three times”???

Thinking with my jaded lawyer mind, part of me wonders whether CEG-TEK Int’l have purposefully left the duplicate titles on their DMCA notices to lure would-be defendants to call them up, admit guilt [that they have done the download, “but only once,” and then CEG-TEK and Ira Siegel would have all the ammunition that they would need to sue that downloader in federal court.

Anyway, I don’t need to say that an attorney (our firm or any other firm) could negotiate down the duplicate downloads without admitting guilt or incriminating you as you might do on your own if you called them yourself.

PERSONAL NOTE: I still hold the opinion that if they really have a claim against you than they should present their claim in the form of a lawsuit in federal court where a judge will make them prove their claims against you (and quite frankly, I am even more of the opinion that they should not be suing downloaders AT ALL [and that they should focus their efforts on taking down infringing content using the DMCA remedies given to them by the law]), but I also understand the economics involved with someone wanting to just make this go away at the early stages.

Once again, if you have not already done so, go back and read my initial article on CEG-TEK Int’l’s DMCA letters and what I think of them.

[2017 UPDATE: Carl Crowell has created a new entity called RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT which has reverse-engineered CEG-TEK’s proprietary DMCA copyright infringement notice system.  Many of you have visited CEG-TEK links thinking that RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT was CEG-TEK, but really they are an ‘evil twin’ competitor.  While they are indeed separate entities, it is still a good idea to learn about what CEG-TEK did so that you can understand how RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT would use the same tactics in similar circumstances.]


CONTACT FORM: If you have a question or comment about what I have written, and you want to keep it *for my eyes only*, please feel free to use the form below. The information you post will be e-mailed to me, and I will be happy to respond.

NOTE: No attorney client relationship is established by sending this form, and while the attorney-client privilege (which keeps everything that you share confidential and private) attaches immediately when you contact me, I do not become your attorney until we sign a contract together.  That being said, please do not state anything “incriminating” about your case when using this form, or more practically, in any e-mail.

20 thoughts on “When CEG-TEK’s DMCA notices contain duplicate titles. Purposeful luring of defendants or not?”

  1. Thank you for this important information! Has your firm settled any cases with CEG TEK or Ira Siegel within the last few months on a per title basis, instead of a per duplicate infingement basis?

    Do you think that in a court of law if would matter guilt or innocence if it was established that one of the movie titles cited as a violation of the DMCA was only 85% complete download (thus not actually viewable) on a p2p sharing network? Or, is it that distributing any portion of a movie, even if it is byte of data, constitutes a violation under the DMCA?

  2. I have just received an email from my isp on behalf of Ceg Tek and I do not know what to do. I am told to either settle or be sued. I have seen my share of scams, but is this really happening? Will I really be sued? and for a supposed video that I cannot even find.

  3. I have received an email today with something similar. I got the email initially from my ISP, and when I logged in the basic information, I supposedly had 10 counts of downloading pornographic movies. There are quite a few problems with that. 1- I DO NOT ILLEGALLY DOWNLOAD ANYTHING 2-nobody has been using my internet to download it, 3- they are trying to get me to settle for $2000. They are using me to try and get money, but I never did anything like it. I don’t know whether to pay or ignore it! Also what is CEG TEK? I’ve never heard of them!

    I did not download anything, I DON’t KNOW HOW! I’m fairly computer illiterate. I use it for my day to day to day stuff. Like social networking. Nobody has used my computer, and when they gave em the dates of downloading all this stuff, half of it was supposedly downloaded before I even bought my computer!

    I have absolutely no idea what to do. I called them from my tracfone, where they proceeded to tell me that the person I needed to speak with was currently unavailable, and that they would contact me back soon.

  4. I just received a letter from them for titles I have never heard of. I only acces the Internet through a work laptop and my IPad. I did put in a call to them but I left a google number for a callback. How should I handle this? I am not sure how to proceed.

  5. I really think that these guys have set up a honeypot to lure and entrap people. I’m not sure if they can be counter sued for entrapment but it would be great if they could. I’m not sure if they have fully disclose how they operate. If someone gets sued, maybe the defendant can ask how they really do their business.

  6. You said “Ira Siegel — a KNOWN COPYRIGHT TROLL who has sued thousands of defendants”. I went to RFC Express and searched for copyright lawsuits by Ira Siegel and then Ira M. Siegel from 1/1/2000 – 3/11/2015. Not a single suit was listed. Did I do it wrong or what? Please explain. Thanks.

    1. No problem. To search on RFC Express, you search for the COPYRIGHT HOLDER. Ira Siegel was the attorney for a number of lawsuits, most of which were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (mostly in 2011). Search for “New Sensations” in RFC Express, and you’ll find one example of Ira Siegel’s lawsuits. Other lawsuits of his can be found by searching for his name (in the pre-CEG-TEK days) back when he was suing defendants in federal court. One article I wrote on his cases (with citations can be found at https://torrentlawyer.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/ira-siegels-california-cases-about-to-go-bust/). Also note, CEG-TEK attorneys also included Marvin Cable, Mike Meier, and Tarik Hashmi.

      1. OK so Ira has sued many people but not while working for CEG-TEK, correct? CEG-TEK copyright holders are all porn companies. Evil Angel is one; Girlfriends Films is another. If you search for them, you get nothing. If you search for CEG-TEK, you also get nothing so the copyright holders don’t sue and CEG-TEK doesn’t sue. Correct?

        How far will CEG-TEK take it’s threat to sue in its copyright infringement notices? I’ve read in a couple of forums that they don’t sue but will they go as far as getting a court order so they can get customer info from the isp so they can call the customer (downloader) and try to scare him into taking the settlement or will they just give up after sending someone a bunch of notices and move on to the next person?

        I just need to know if I should expect a phone call when I don’t take the settlement.

        1. Locutus, I am answering your inquiry with an eye towards Canada since this is from where you are inquiring. Happy to clarify with a bit of history. Ira Siegel used to be a copyright troll where he would sue thousands of U.S. defendants in one law suit (he favored suing the California Northern District federal court). No doubt, he was compensated by his clients for acting as their attorney to do what his clients asked them to do.

          However, CEG-TEK is an entirely different entity. CEG-TEK (where Ira Siegel is one of the founders and I understand he is the principal making executive decisions there) is a U.S. based company that was created for the sole purpose of 1) tracking the bittorrent networks, 2) establishing relationships with various ISPs (now Canadian ISPs like Electric Box and others are on board) where the ISPs are forwarding CEG-TEK’s settlement demand letters. They 3) provide a web portal to facilitate a settlement at http://www.copyrightsettlements.com (make sure to read about this in other posts), and 4) they provide an attorney (e.g., Marvin Cable in Massachusetts) to follow-up with accused downloaders who do not settle. That is IT.

          Rather, instead of suing people themselves (something I understand CEG-TEK is not doing and has no plans on doing), they are forwarding the information the obtain on the accused downloader TO THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER, AND THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER (depending on who they are) HAS HIS/HER OWN ATTORNEY OR SET OF ATTORNEYS to harass, extort money from those who did not settle, or even sue if they choose to.

          I don’t know how to say this clearly enough. Do not be deceived that because CEG-TEK has decided not to sue that the copyright holders or their attorneys will not follow-up with you. This is how things are happening here in the U.S., and I assume they will follow the same strategy in Canada as well.

          So yes, expect a phone call, but not from Ira Siegel. Perhaps yes from Marvin Cable or Dan Davidson, but more likely, from a lawyer who is representing the copyright holder after CEG-TEK is no longer in the picture. As for whether there will be lawsuits in Canada, this is a new development, so we’ll have to wait and see.

  7. CEG-TEK is working with authorities to bring case’s of downloading and or sharing child porn from p2p programs, i just got served with a search warrant three weeks ago & they came in & took computers hard drives & a bunch of other stuff & took it to there lab for forensic testing. i to received the settlement email. I believe they are just gathering evidence & verifying ips address & so on, also getting admission of the file download when you go to there site, i can’t tell ya how messed up my life is and if i can,t beat this im going to prison & will be a registered sex offender, all i did was download porn to watch in the privacy of my own home, after i got the letter from CEG-TEK i shut down the p2p so nobody would download from me & never opened it again, wish i would have deleted the the whole thing but they still can retrieve deleted stuff. I tell ya i,m ready to thrown the towel because of this, even if i beat it my family, friends are going to think im a pedophile, what a way to ruin someones life. good luck to all & i would advise people to not go to that website for there own protection. its a setup as far as i can tell

    1. I do not have pity for you with your situation because you should not be watching child porn. Watching adult films is one thing. Watching kiddy porn is not only not okay, but it contributes to the sexual abuse and mistreatment of children. This is NEVER okay.

  8. I just got a letter from my ISP and Ceg Tek is wanting me to pay up $2700 for multiple files they came from my Wifi connection

  9. I have received a notice from my ISP from CEG-tek stating that I downloaded, shared a movie. I called them from my cell phone where they proceeded to tell me that the person I needed to speak with was currently unavailable, and that they would contact me back soon. then a little bit later i received a call from Dan Davidson. My friend that spent the night downloaded a program called popcorn time and watched the movie London has fallen. they want me to pay $300 to keep from going to court, what should I do?

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