Tag Archives: Rightscorp

Rightscorp business model of sending DMCA settlement demand letters just succeeded.

Rightscorp‘s business model just took an unexpected positive turn, as the BMG v. Cox lawsuit just had a surprising outcome — Cox just settled with BMG, paving the way for the DMCA settlement demand notices to gain some teeth.

Years ago, I wrote articles about companies like Rightscorp (Digital Rights Corp), CEG-TEK, and Rights Enforcement who were changing the “playing field” (in a bad way) by allowing copyright owners to track and sue downloaders who downloaded their copyrighted videos, films, movies, adult films, or music using bittorrent.

The account holders (often the parents of the downloaders themselves) would receive a notice either in the mail or in their ISP’s e-mail inbox informing them:

  1. that they have been implicated as having downloaded one or more copyrighted materials,
  2. that using bittorrent to download copyrighted materials was a violation of that ISP’s terms of service, and
  3. that the account holder could forego a potential copyright infringement lawsuit in a federal court by vising the website of the Rightscorp (Digital Rights Corp) copyright enforcement entity, paying a small fee (from $20-$30/title [or with other copyright enforcement entities, from $300-$750/title]), thus settling the claims before a copyright infringement lawsuit was filed.

The obvious problem is that by the time the account subscriber received the settlement demand notice, the Rightscorp or CEG-TEK or Rights Enforcement entity racked up tens, or sometimes hundreds of violations. Then there were class action lawsuits against the copyright enforcement entities (e.g., for robocalling) and other “bad things” that these companies did to maximize their per-title settlement.

However, for years, these entities have been quiet, and I know why. BMG v. Cox Communications.

I was told years ago that the success of the “copyright trolling” settlement demand notice business model would be based on whether a copyright holder could force an ISP to 1) forward their DMCA copyright infringement notice (a.k.a. “settlement demand letter”) to their subscribers, and 2) whether a copyright holder could force an ISP to shut down a repeat infringer’s account (something Rightscorp was accused of doing in 2014). At the time, there was the “Six Strikes” system in place (now, I understand it to be defunct), and under it, Comcast stopped forwarding the “settlement demand letter” portion of the infringement notices; rather, they forwarded just a snippet of the infringement notice telling the account holder to stop downloading illegal content.

However, there were also ISPs who stopped forwarding the notices altogether. To the dismay of various copyright enforcement entities, I understand that Cox Communications was one such ISP, although the BMG lawsuit appeared to stem from Cox refusing to shut down the internet accounts of repeat infringers.

The funny thing about COX Communications was that Cox was supposed to be the “golden goose” to the copyright holders, simply because of the large subscriber base it could reach. “If only 1% of infringing users pay a settlement fee… imagine the money that could be made…”

Further, COX Communications provided their subscribers ONE STATIC IP ADDRESS, which meant that whatever the downloaded did in the past (whether the downloader was caught, tracked, or not), could be later attributed to the accused account holder to multiply the list of infringements. This love-hate relationship between the copyright holders, the ISP, and their customers was only temporary, and as a result, COX Communications found itself at the center of a lawsuit for protecting its customers against copyright enforcement entities such as the RIAA and Rightscorp.

Fast forward a few years to today. The “new” news is that the BMG v. Cox Communications lawsuit has been going on and on, but it appears that in the past few days, it has come to an end. Apparently Cox settled with BMG, awarding a “win” for the copyright holders.  The question is… was the settlement only a MONEY settlement?  Or did Cox agree to shut down the accounts of repeat infringers?

What this means moving forward (and I am still hashing this out with the limited time that I have to devote to this topic) is that copyright enforcement / copyright “monetization” copyright holders such as Rightscorp (and perhaps now CEG-TEK again, Rights Enforcement, the RIAA, and other new companies join the “copyright monetization” bandwagon) will now start sending DMCA notices once again to accused downloaders. The difference is that their requests to the ISPs to forward their settlement demand letters will now have some “teeth,” as I understand that ISPs might start shutting down internet accounts of those subscribers who are “repeat infringers.”

Obviously this topic is still evolving. However, whereas we at the Cashman Law Firm PLLC thought that the days of the “DMCA settlement demand letter” notices were numbered, I suspect what happened from 2010-2016 was just a first wave of what is to be an even larger wave of infringement notices to be sent to account holders for the unlawful downloading of copyrighted content. Couple this with the resistance I have received in the past from companies such as Rightscorp, this is likely going to cause some trouble.

FOR IMMEDIATE CONTACT AN ATTORNEY: To set up a free consultation to speak to an attorney about Rightscorp DMCA letter or subpoena, click here.  Lastly, please feel free to e-mail me at [email protected], or call or SMS 713-364-3476 to speak to me now about your case (I do prefer you read the articles first), or to get your questions answered.

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Rightscorp settlement attorney considerations for a set of DMCA notices.

I was editing the “All I Know About Rightscorp in One Page” master article, and I got into a discussion about the awkwardness of hiring a Rightscorp settlement attorney because of the disproportionate fees paid to our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC to facilitate and handle the settlement versus the sometime miniscule actual settlement payment that ends up being paid to Rightscorp.  Because that discussion took too much space on that article, I cut it and pasted it here.

Rightscorp vs. CEG-TEK Settlement Amounts

When representing a client in a CEG-TEK DMCA settlement demand notice, clients would come with 3-20 notices (and at $300/claim, the settlement asking price was $900-$6,000 before settlement negotiations).  Thus, representing a client and having the client pay our fees made sense.

Not so with a Rightscorp accused downloader who received those same 3-20 notices.  At a promoted $20/claim [if the accused downloader foregoes using an attorney to negotiate the claims against them], the settlement asking price appears to be only $60-$400.   The later request for “additional titles downloaded” and whatever else is to follow after the settlement is paid is not immediately apparent to them.  Thus, when representing a Rightscorp client, our fee appears to be disproportionately large to what appears to be only a $20 problem.

Why to hire a Rightscorp settlement attorney for even ONE (1) Rightscorp DMCA notice.

Rightscorp has recently adopted the practice of attempting to lure the accused downloader with a lower settlement amount ($20/instance of infringement vs. $75/infringed title) if he foregoes retaining an attorney.  However, that $20 is deceptive, because it is “per instance of infringement,” along with all of the other reasons Rightscorp is likely not your friend (click here and scroll to see what Rightscorp has done in the past to see how friendly they really are).

In the end, even for a Rightscorp client who received only one DMCA settlement demand letter (where there is no negotiation), the end cost — even at $75/title — ends up being significantly less, especially with settlement negotiations, although it is difficult for me to prove this.  In sum, I wrote this article because the potential client who received even one (1) DMCA notice should be aware of the reasons why they are hiring our firm.

[DISCLAIMER: ***Just To Be Clear*** When I use the phrase “Rightscorp settlement attorney,” in no way do I imply that our law firm has any affiliation with Rightscorp, nor do we represent their interests in any capacity.  The term “Rightscorp settlement attorney” was simply a convenient way to put this article in front of someone who receives a Rightscorp DMCA settlement notice for songs downloaded via bittorrent, and they are trying various search engine keywords to learn which attorney can facilitate an anonymous settlement.  “Rightscorp settlement attorney” seemed to capture the essence of the audience we intended to write for, namely, internet users who want to settle claims of copyright infringement from the Rightscorp DMCA notices they received.]

Why you are not hiring an attorney:

First, benefits a client receives… but these are NOT why they are hiring our firm.  For a Rightscorp defendant who received one (1) DMCA notice, you are NOT hiring a Rightscorp settlement attorney to:

1) negotiate the settlement amount (paying an attorney sometimes to negotiate a $75 settlement to possibly $65 or $50 is silly);

2) to settle anonymously (technically, you do not need an attorney to accomplish this goal, as you can purchase a VPN subscription and pay your settlement using a credit card obtained without your name on it).

Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > > >

Why you ARE hiring an attorney (even for one (1) DMCA Notice):

Obviously when we can negotiate the settlement price, we do.  And, the settlement negotiations are negotiated anonymously, and are paid anonymously, meaning that Rightscorp will never learn your identity or that you settled the claims against you.  That way, they will never be able to contact your ISP to shut down your account claiming you are an infringer, and they will never be able to vindictively harm you after a settlement or ask you for more money.  However, these are not the reasons you hired our law firm to handle the DMCA notice(s) you received from Rightscorp.

You ARE hiring a Rightscorp settlement attorney to facilitate and handle the settlement in a way that does not admit guilt on your behalf (when needed, we will negotiate the terms of the agreement to suit your circumstances). More importantly, we settle the claims against you in a way that puts Rightscorp, and their BMG Music, Sony Records, and the other music copyright holder clients ON NOTICE that the settlement we processed on your behalf was done by our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC.

What is the benefit of putting everyone ON NOTICE that you are represented by an attorney?

Putting everyone ON NOTICE means that all future communications will need to come directly through our firm, and not to you.  Should these companies’ lawyers contact you directly, this would be a breach of the ethics rules which could cost them their law licenses.

Preventing other “games” played against those who settle.

Most importantly, by having a Rightscorp settlement attorney such as myself settle the Rightscorp claims on your behalf, this prevents any further “games” or activities that may occur (e.g., asking for additional settlement money for other titles allegedly downloaded, robocalling, or contacting the ISPs to shut down the internet accounts of those who paid a settlement to Rightscorp).

Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > > >

Why $75/song is comparatively better than the alternatives (even the $20/infringement if you forego using an attorney).

In sum, representing a Rightscorp client still takes time, but the fact that the accused downloader is only paying a $75 settlement amount (or some minuscule dollar amount compared to the thousands of dollars which are paid in the movie lawsuits and DMCA settlement demand notices), this should be a happy fact.  Why happy?  Be happy that you were not sued, that you are not dealing with a CEG-TEK or RIGHTSENFORCEMENT ($300/movie title) scenario, and that you were merely caught downloading just a few songs, where the settlement amount will be $75/song.

I don’t know where to put this in the article, so if you have read to the end (here), you get my personal opinion.  Personally, I think it is slimy for Rightscorp to charge you $75 per song if you use an attorney.  However, based on what they have done in the past, I half expected them to try to devise a way to lure and trap defendants into their settlement scheme, and having me contact them is definitely on behalf of a client is definitely a monkey-wrench in their plan.  If you wish to contact me about your Rightscorp issue, please click here for instructions on how to contact me.  If you would like to jump directly to scheduling a phone appointment for us to speak about your matter (I do not charge for these, but these are not sales calls and my time is limited), please click here.