Every downloader knows the only way to prevent the copyright trolls from identifying their true IP addresses (and thus sending out DMCA copyright infringement notices, as outfits such as CEG-TEK have been known to do).
In recent weeks, I have heard from various copyright trolls that downloaders are “winning the piracy war,” in that their activities have thwarted the copyright holders from learning who they are. Armed with what is becoming common knowledge of free software which can be configured to stream unlicensed content (e.g., Kodi, formerly XBMC), internet users who wish to “unplug” from the cable companies are able to do so in a way in which it becomes difficult if not next to impossible to be monitored while viewing streamed content**. Not only this, but many have even purchased Amazon Fire sticks which can be altered to allow the Kodi software to be installed on it, and they are watching unlicensed videos from their HDTV without even needing a computer.***
But what is the effect of “winning the war” on those who are left behind and don’t realize they cannot just view their favorite movie, software, or video game? This is the point of the article.
The unintended consequence of end users learning to use basic privacy tools, or migrating away from IP address-sharing networks and towards free streaming services is that copyright holders [who for three years now have enjoyed easy settlement money] are realizing that there simply are not enough people to send DMCA / copyright infringement notices to in order to line their pockets with gold and dirty cash. As a result, it is my experience that they are becoming “less nice” and they are trying to make more money from fewer downloaders. Case-in-point: Girls Gone Wild DMCA notices used to ask for one $300 settlement for a whole page of 60+ videos, but now they are asking for tens of thousands of dollars for that same “click” of a tracker file.
I am also noticing that CEG-TEK is acting differently, perhaps in response to what has been described to me as a steep decline in numbers of “infringers” to whom they can send DMCA notices. In the past few weeks, it has been my experience that Copyright Enforcement Group (CEG-TEK) is now sending multiple notices out to the ISPs for the same download. In one case regarding their Girls Gone Wild client that I mentioned above, CEG-TEK sent literally over 1,000 notices to one ISP for the alleged download of one shared file.
At first I thought this was a glitch in their computer system, but then it occurred to me that maybe CEG-TEK somehow benefits from keeping the numbers of DMCA notices sent to the ISPs artificially high. Is there any benefit to them to be doing this? I have been racking my brain on this topic and I still cannot come up with a reason.
Honestly, here is my concern. When an animal is backed against the wall, what does it do? It attacks. If indeed we are winning the privacy war, I am concerned that CEG-TEK will begin taking on new clients who thrive on stacking their shared files with hundreds of adult films. Those who are sophisticated will understand exactly who I am speaking about.
They will then trap the unsuspecting internet user who “clicks on a file” in their spider web, and that user will receive hundreds of DMCA notices which will scare the b’jeebies out of him. Then they will give in to the urging of their less-than-ethical client, and they will agree to start charging more than the $300 per title that they currently do (remember, at one point, CEG-TEK used to charge $200 per title, and then at what I understood to be the urging of their client, they raised the settlement amount to $300 per title). So they are pliable, as we have seen in the past.
In the end, just as we saw hints of this with the recent Girls Gone Wild debacle, CEG-TEK will morph from a $300 per title copyright enforcement outfit (lamb) into a $3,500 per title shakedown outfit (wolf) where they base their settlement amounts on the client’s ability to pay rather than what they believe is a “fair” amount to compensate the copyright holders.
Last, but not least, I learned that CEG-TEK threatened an accused downloader with criminal prosecution this week. For those of you who know me, I have spent almost every day since 2010 working on copyright infringement cases. NEVER until last week have I seen a copyright holder threaten an accused internet user with criminal charges for a copyright infringement matter.
In sum, the times they are a changin’. If we are indeed winning the war, what will CEG-TEK turn into in order to survive? And, what will their copyright holders (who for the most part have been docile and lazy these past few years) do when their easy income stream dries up?
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*[UNRELATED PERSONAL NOTE: I am a fan of such privacy tools not because they make illegal file sharing more difficult to detect, but because I believe strongly in a person’s right to be private. The amount of snooping that happens with internet trackers, cookies, and newer methods literally sickens me, and I do not believe that advertising companies and ISPs should have so much knowledge about their customers. For this reason, I have nothing wrong with internet uses making use of these privacy tools. Just be sure to have some mechanism in place that if your connection goes down, even for a second, that your real IP isn’t exposed to whatever site you happen to be visiting, or to whatever server you happen to be connected to. This is called a “DNS leak,” and there are easy ways to configure your system to lock down the connection if or when the internet goes down, even for a second.]
** NOTE: There is a popular software which I am sad to share has given our firm many clients who have been caught downloading mainstream movies (e.g., The Dallas Buyers Club cases, Voltage Pictures’ Fathers & Daughters Nevada, LLC cases, and most recently, Millennium Film’s London Has Fallen (“LHF”) movie cases, etc.). Most recently, I have been seeing new CEG-TEK notices for Millennium Film’s “Criminal” movie which the copyright holders have already started suing in “Criminal Productions, Inc. v. John Doe” copyright infringement lawsuits . The reason for so many getting sued is that such software allows you to stream video content, but it employs file sharing as its back-end to download the movies.
*** NOTE: The Amazon Fire sticks which have Kodi installed in my opinion can still get you caught for copyright infringement. The reason for this is that they connect directly to the internet sharing your IP address.[2023 UPDATE: Unfortunately because of online censorship by those who list our websites on the search engines (and who employ methods of de-listing websites), I had to edit out a lot of useful [and in my opinion, innocent common sense] content from this article. I apologize for doing this; I am simply trying to get my censored articles back online, even if they are now missing my unedited thoughts on what is common knowledge today.]
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