Rightscorp & CEG-TEK = P2P Monetization Service – Not Law Suits

I decided to write this post as I’m seeing an increase in questions/comments concerning the copyright monetization firms of CEG-TEK and Rightscorp.  I wasn’t sure what was possibly driving this so I did a little research.  The first thing I found was a 20 May 14, press release from Rightscorp stating they had added 500K new copyrights to the already 1,000,000 copyrights they represent (Total of 1.5 million copyrights for which they monitor for).  There is also a 12 Jun 14, Article on Rightscorp in Inside Counsel.   CEG-TEK also appears to be actively recruiting new customers and claimed to be representing approximately 1.47 million copyrights.  CEG-TEK even set up a YouTube page and uploaded two promotional videos.  While I was writing this, attorney Robert Cashman published a piece on CEG-TEK’s client list.  Here is one of the videos – “CEG TEK International P2P Monetization.”  

Both companies are very active in recruiting copyright owners, as well as tailoring their services to extract the most settlements as possible.  I believe their main selling point is by simply signing with them (no cost or low-cost), the copyright owner/holder can receive revenue that they otherwise would never see.  Rightscorp states on its site that they split the settlements with the copyright owner – 50/50.  You can see why this business model would find favor with many copyright owners.  As most of the infringers CEG-TEK/Rightscorp send notices to have multiple infringements, the settlements amount can add up little by little.  As the copyright owners have already done the initial work (and been paid), any settlements are seen as additional profit they never planned for.

These firms do this of course by monitoring the BitTorrent File sharing protocol (Peer to Peer – AKA: P2P), collecting IP addresses of alleged infringers and sending settlement notices via DMCA-emails to the ISP who owns IP addresses.

RC_ProcessSo it looks like both Rightscorp and CEG-TEK are growing and the waves of notices to the ISPs and subscribers are bound to increase.

Rightscorp is even telling people that they have some new tricks up their sleeve.  This is from the Inside Counsel article (12 Jun 14).  Allegedly they have some “proprietary” method of identifying a user without ISP cooperation.  Sounds like a “John Steele” Prenda Law type quote to me.

The ‘seeders’ that Rightscorp is looking for are IP addresses uploading pieces of files through BitTorrent. IP addresses change over time, and that’s where Rightscorp’s trick kicks in. Steele said his company has a proprietary method of identifying particular users, without ISP cooperation, even when IP addresses get rotated over time. Faced with evidence, the ISPs are legally obligated to take action, up to and including cutting off Internet access. Under the DMCA, that’s what those companies must do if they want to keep their “safe harbor” from copyright lawsuits.

Favorite Question Concerning These Companies

Will they sue me if I don’t pay?  Based on the history of these two companies and analysis of their Web sites, my opinion is still NO.  I have said all along that these companies have a business that expressly steers them away from that.  Now saying that, there is always the possibility that a content owner could decide to file a law suit, but I think it is extremely unlikely.  Plus take a look at this gem from the Rightscorp Web site – I wonder how long it will be left up on their site after this article posts?  ;)

Rightscorp_Tech

This does not mean you should just ignore the situation completely and not worry what is occurring on your network.

My standard suggestion is to ensure the illegal file sharing stops on your network – regardless of who is at fault.  Failure to do this could lead to your ISP limiting/disconnecting your service or even becoming a John Doe defendant in a “real” Federal copyright infringement law suit.

Note:  On 14 Jun 14, a person claiming to be Robert Steele, COO, Rightscorp posted to DTD.  I doubt it was him, but I could be wrong.  If that was you Mr. Steele, please reply.  The person claimed –

We send subpoenas every day to infringers who do not respond to the settlement offers. We get ISPs to suspend service to repeat infringers who don’t accept the settlement offers every day. Robert Steele, COO, Rightscorp. 310-751-7510.

I have yet to hear of any court issued subpoena being issued for Rightscorp supported clients.  If anyone knows differently, please point me in the right direction.  As far as ISP suspending services, that is usually only done for serious offenders after multiple DMCA notices are received by the ISP (each ISP is different).

Link to my CEG-TEK/Rightscorp page.

Lastly, here is what to do if you get a notice from these firms.

  • Do not call them – You cannot explain this away – They don’t care 
  • Do not access their Web site from your ‘True’ IP address (home or cell phone) – If you want to go to their site, use a Proxy, VPN, TOR, or a free WiFi hotspot like a coffee shop.   Do not enter any personal data into their Web site.
  • Ensure that any illegal file sharing or other unauthorized activity on you network stops.
  • Resecure your WiFi Internet connection – make sure encryption is enabled and change the password.
  • Move on with your life and chalk this up to a ‘learning experience.’

DieTrollDie :)

About DieTrollDie

I'm one of the many 'John Does' (200,000+ & growing in the US) who Copyright Trolls have threatened with a civil law suit unless they are paid off. What is a Copyright Troll? Check out the Electronic Frontier Foundation link - http://www.eff.org/issues/copyright-trolls
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35 Responses to Rightscorp & CEG-TEK = P2P Monetization Service – Not Law Suits

  1. Anon E. Mous says:

    I love the fact these Trolls went out of the way to put in their ” Educational / Settlement ” letter that they are “Not A Troll” . Obviously the legal landscape is starting to become littered with Troll operations that have been exposed and their methods have been getting picked apart by Defense Lawyers and the educational “Troll Hate Groups” and their Psychopathic followers ( We have juice and cookies now! )

    The fact that the put that in their settlement letter leads me to believe that:

    A) The settlement offers that were rolling in have dropped and income derived from settlements are down and they are now trying to send out a signal to the poor ISP subscriber that they are a warm and fuzzy Copyright Troll who is just trying to help you through this troubled time ( Awwww )

    B) That the poor ISP subscriber who was the recipient of one of this letters is not panicking and running to the phone with credit card in hand and desperately trying to call either one of these Trolls because they are doing some research upon receipt of one of these letters.

    C) The startling decimation of some of the bigger copyright trolling operations being exposed and the tactics and methods used in their “infringement” recording has been called into questions as well as their clients and entities they are associated with, which has led to a downfall of some trolling operations.

    The Trolls are aware of what is going on in the internet community and in the courts across the U.S. and has seen the boomerang effect come around where the trolls had the hammer at one time now the tables have turned and the defense and internet community have the hammer and are using it justly and as such they are worried about their income revenue from these operations.

    I would encourage anyone who is the recipient of one of this letters to not panic and educate themselves about the Troll and what the real goal of the troll is with one of these letters.

    The Troll whole game is based on revenue, not enforcement, just revenue. The goal of the letter is to create a sense of panic and urgency onto the ISP subscriber who is the recipient of it.

    The Troll wants to create a sense of fear and panic in you. Fear that if you don’t pay this sum of money now it will go higher or double the amount if you don’t send them payment now. The Troll wants you to be afraid that if you don’t pay now they will launch a lawsuit and drag you in to court where you will be liable for huge amounts of money. They want you to worry, they want you to panic, they want to create a sense of urgency all aimed at getting you to pay Now…, no not later NOW!

    The troll does not want to you talk with a Lawyer who would tell you what your rights are and what the troll is up to. The troll does not want you to put their name into Google or another search engine and see the results. The troll does not want you to educate yourself about what they are really about. The troll does not want you to go to places like FCT, DTD & extortionletterinfo where you would learn what the Troll’s real goals are.

    First do not panic, the troll is counting on you doing just that. Stop, slow down and take a deep breath. Get on the net and research these “copyright” enforcement outfits and learn what these letters are really about. If you have someone who has infringed a work of one of these outfits educate them about what has taken place. If you haven’t infringed anything, then do not panic and research and read about what steps you can take to mitigate the trolls and the demands for cash. Talk to a Lawyer and get some legal advice.

    Put these into play and govern yourself as such. Remember the trolls are playing on fear and the fact that you will not educate your self about their operation or that you will speak with a Lawyer.

  2. Bloom says:

    I think these guys need to be taken to court just like Prenda. This firm is probably seeding these files and tracking them.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prenda_Law

    See this video: http://youtu.be/86xhOiTYjp0

    Can you say owned? I have a feeling these guys will eventually meet the same faith.

  3. confusedandworried says:

    Okay here’s a question.
    I saw the notice and freaked out because I thought my internet was going to be shut off. When I actually called the internet provider they said that I shouldn’t have given out my information to them but that they put a note on my account that the activity wasn’t me and that I shouldn’t worry about my internet being shut off. Yet im still getting tons of calls about 97 infringements that took place on my ISP address. Should I worry that they will come after me since they have my name, address, and phone number? Would you like me to show you the legal release they gave me after paying the fine? Do I need to get a lawyer because it was on MY ISP address? I also got a threatening email if you want to see that too. Thanks for the advice.

    • DieTrollDie says:

      I expect the calls, emails, texts, etc., will continue for some time. It is annoying, but I wouldn’t worry. They only want the $$$$ and not the hassle of filing a law suit.

      Please send me what ever you have. I would love to see the release and the emails from them. No need for an attorney as there is NO Copyright Infringement law suit.

      DTD :) dietrolldie@dietrolldie.com

    • Not sure says:

      Which ISp was it and what notice did you get from rightscorp or cegtek?

  4. Not sure says:

    What ISp and notice did you get? Was notice from rightscorp or cegtek?

  5. scaredandworriedsick says:

    I live in Southern IL. My wifi router was less than ideally secured and I had let a neighbor use it too for about a month. This neighbor also lives with his brother and who knows who else may have visited their house with laptops/cellphones, etc. Poor judgement call on my part – although I have stopped letting them use my internet access & I am quickly educating myself on wi-fi security steps & I feel confident I have secured (and no longer sharing) my wi-fi connection.

    So here’s my situation: From Charter, I received a card in the mail stating that there were about 10 copyright infringement notices against my IP address. It directed me to a Charter website for more information and links to click on these “cases” against my IP address. I got notices from both Rightscorp & CEG-TEK and panicked. I called Charter security first, but got no answer at the time I called. I went through the list and clicked on the links (all related to movies downloaded by a “torrent” application & listing the name of the movie(s). Most were all multiples of the same movie – apparently “shared” via a torrent application. All these links offered a $20 settlement per violation – and in total fear and panic mode, I paid them via my credit card. I’ve NEVER been in trouble with the law and being a single father of two, I can’t afford an attorney – but I could afford the $140 (total) for these alleged allegations. I never did call or speak to any live human being, but I did receive copies of my Settlement receipts, which I’ve kept.

    My biggest concern is regarding 3 (CEG-TEK) porn movies listed on my alleged infringement against my IP address. I did visit CEG-TEK’s website from my home computer while in panic mode, enter their case numbers (from the Charter website) to see what this damage would cost me, but I’ve not paid them yet nor called them. These Settlement fees are for $250 each (so $750 dollars total). Fearing viruses, etc on my computer, I decided to reformat it and stop it in its track if it were my computer making these alleged violations possible. I also factory reset my wifi router and made the security much stronger security rather than using the default admin password. I finally feel secure that there will be no more torrenting on my network. Am I screwed at this point? I am so worried sick about this – I walk around feeling like I could just throw up. I cannot afford an attorney, nor the risk of losing my house, etc. if I am taken to court. I CAN barely afford the remaining “settlements”, but I’m not so sure those give me much piece of mind either. What do you think I should do? Please help!

  6. fallout11 says:

    https://torrentfreak.com/anti-piracy-firm-rightscorp-on-the-brink-of-bankruptcy-141114/
    Rightscorp is on the brink of bankruptcy. Stock is down to 14 cents a share.
    In their latest SEC filing published earlier today the company reports a total loss of $2.2 million for the current year. This brings the total loss since its founding in 2011 to more than $6.5 million.

  7. Doe says:

    I just received a letter in the mail (not an email) from CEG TEK International and Ira M. Siegel. The 3 infringements are totaling $900 according to them. The time stamp occurred 20 minutes after our wi-fi was set up in our new apartment and we know it wasn’t us. We’ve since then, changed the password to our router, changed file sharing settings on our computers, followed the advice you’ve listed above, configured advanced security settings,etc etc. We’ve gone through the programs on our computers and uninstalled anything we didn’t recognize and anything that might be a torrent program (excuse my technical jargon if it’s off, obviously I’m new to this). With having done this, should be take any other specific precautions? Should be worried since it was an actual letter and not just some email? I plan to contact our internet provider and have the incident noted in their systems. We most definitely cannot afford that or a lawyer and I feel safe in ignoring this until another letter or something is sent because as it’s been said, it’s cheaper to send out the paperwork than it is to come after little no bodies like us.

  8. Anonymous Person. says:

    I got 4 of these things today. First reaction was panic. Then when I found out they send out 1.1 MILLION of the these things a week well….

    I did some looking around for suits filed by Ira and CEG-TEK and couldn’t find much of anything. So I guess that would confirm your above statement that they do not sue?

  9. Anonymous Person says:

    I got an email from Mr. Cashman today. He said yes CEG-TEK hasn’t filed any suits.

    He also said that asking whether or not CEG files suits is asking the wrong question. The question SHOULD be, do any of their Copyright holders file suits?

    Just thought I’d let you know. Maybe you can hit him up.

    • DieTrollDie says:

      He is right. There is no history of CEG-TEK, RightsCorp, or the Plaintiff’s involved taking anyoNE to trial. They could, but they already have shown they are not interested in taking this route and the risks it entails.

      DTD :)

      • Anonymous Person says:

        EA, Reality Kings, and Paperstreet Media?

      • DieTrollDie says:

        I don’t know of these plaintiffs filing any cases in the last year. Run a search in RFC Express.

        DTD :)

      • Locutus says:

        I’m in Canada. Why are they not interested in suing? What are the risks to CEG-TEK, RightsCorp, and the Plaintiffs? Thanks.

      • DieTrollDie says:

        To actually run cases, it costs a good amount if money. If they can only get a max of $5K, they will not make much money and also risk having their operation exposed. This is why CEG-TEK/RightsCorp came about. They are hoping to run a cheap operation and make lots of fast low dollar settlements. As they don’t file real cases, the risk to them and the Plaintiff’s are zero.

        DTD :)

      • Locutus says:

        I went to RFC Express. I searched for copyright lawsuits from 1/1/2000 – 3/11/2015. I used CEG-TEK as the party name, first with a hyphen and then without. Not a single case is listed. Did I do it right? Even with penalties in the US in the hundreds of thousands, and maybe millions, they don’t sue. I’m in canada. Thanks for this site.

      • Locutus says:

        I also searched for copyright lawsuits by Ira Siegel and then Ira M. Siegel from Jan 2000 to today. Not a single one is listed, yet torrentlawyer says he has sued thousands. Has he sued people or not? He is the one listed on my notice. Thanks.

      • DieTrollDie says:

        You have to look up the Plaintiff (copyright owner), not the lawyer. In the past he was a Troll lawyer who sued people for various plaintiffs. His company doesn’t sue anymore. Their business model is to get cheap fast settlements with no trial risk.

        DTD :)

  10. Anonymous Person says:

    you might find this “amusing” and already know it but:

    One of CEG’s clients is Manwin. What’s “funny” about that is this:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pornhub

    They own PH! So, on the one had they hire CEG yet on the other they run this HUGE freely accessable content. Probably content that CEG goes after people for on their behalf.

    If this isn’t cognitive dissonance, I don’t know what IS. What do you make of it?

  11. TheDoe says:

    So I recieved a notice from CEG TEK. They claim that one movie was downloaded illegally via bit torrent. This may or may not be true as I am not sure of the entire families Internet use. I have a worry after reading the warning I visited the settlement website to see how much the settlement would be. However, when I used the case file and password and hit enter, the next page never loaded. Am I at a higher risk of being taken to court over this?

  12. NotSure says:

    Received a notice for infringement of 1 file from my ip address.
    I visited CEG-TEK website from my true ip address but didn’t enter any personal info. There’s a deadline to pay the settlement. Do I just pay the 300$ settlement or will there be lawsuit filed against me?

    • Whathappened says:

      Curious to know what you did and what happened? Just got a notice today. I’m live in Canada too and not sure what I should do

  13. Anony Blah says:

    Any new news on CEG? Still staying out of Court?

  14. Anonymous in Canada says:

    I would love to hear an update on the people who didn’t respond by the due date. Did anything happen? How about the people who leaked out their contact info?

  15. M says:

    Received a letter from my ISP. Looked at the link, put it the code, just to see what was there, gave no other information. Deleted message. I’m not worried.

  16. a Canadian who has a few Ceg Notices says:

    this is from Canadian Lawer Michael Geist, Google him to see who he is, I trust Mr Geist on this Ceg notice stuff in Canada read this post from him And RELAX I DID

    For the past few months, I’ve received daily emails from people who have been sent a copyright infringement notification as part of Canada’s notice-and-notice system. Most of the notifications come from CEG-TEK, a U.S.-based anti-piracy firm. Canadian Internet providers are now required by law to forward these notifications and CEG TEK has been taking advantage of a loophole in the system to include a settlement demand within the notification. Some of the recipients claim that the notification has been sent in error. Others say that they have received multiple notifications for a single download. In some cases, the recipient has clicked on the settlement demand link, while in others the person has called the company and revealed their identity. In virtually every case, they are looking for advice on what to do.

    My typical response has been to point to my earlier posts on the issue that have explained Canada’s notice-and-notice system, the misuse of the system by rights holders in sending misleading information about Canadian copyright law, the government’s failure to stop the inclusion of settlement demands within the notices, and the massive expansion in the number of notices with the arrival of CEG TEK. I also point to Industry Canada’s page on the notice-and-notice system, which provides the government’s perspective on the issue. These resources can be helpful, but what most people really want to know is whether they should pay the settlement or ignore it. I don’t condone infringement but I believe that the misuse of the notice and notice system is extremely problematic. Moreover, I certainly think people that did not infringe copyright should not pay a settlement demand. I’m unable to provide specific legal advice, but I can provide more information that may assist in making a more informed decision about a system that was designed to discourage infringement, not create a loophole to facilitate settlement demands.

    What does the rights holder know about the subscriber when they send the notification?

    The short answer is not much. Internet providers do not disclose their subscribers’ personal information as part of the notice-and-notice process. The rights holder merely has an IP address and evidence it claims links that address to a copyright infringement. It does not know who receives the actual notice.

    What steps are needed for a rights holder to sue in Canada?

    As discussed in my other posts, the notices forwarded by Internet providers are an unproven allegation of infringement. For a rights holder to successfully pursue a case against an alleged individual infringer, it would first need to obtain a court order requiring the Internet provider to disclose the identity of the subscriber. Canadian courts have established privacy safeguards around potential disclosure of such information. The ISP may oppose the disclosure of the subscribers identity or argue for subscriber notification of the legal process.

    If the rights holder succeeds in obtaining the subscriber’s personal information, it might then send another demand letter seeking payment in return for settling the case. Canadian courts have recently required that such letters be reviewed by the court before being sent to subscribers.

    If the subscriber refuses to settle, the rights holder could pursue an infringement action in court. The rights holder would be required to prove its rights in the work, that an infringement occurred, and that the subscriber was responsible for the infringement. The rights holder would likely also need to provide some evidence of damages, given the cap on non-commercial infringement under the law discussed below. The subscriber could challenge these claims in court, potentially providing evidence that they were not involved in the unauthorized download (perhaps due to an error by the rights holder, incorrect IP address information, or an insecure wireless network) or by attempting to make the case that their actions did not violate Canadian copyright law.

    What are the damages if a rights holder is successful in their lawsuit?

    The legal process described above is expensive, yet the potential payoff from litigation against individuals is limited. The government established a new cap on liability for non-commercial infringement in its 2012 copyright reform package. The law now sets a maximum liability of C$5000 for all non-commercial infringements. The provision states:

    Subject to this section, a copyright owner may elect, at any time before final judgment is rendered, to recover, instead of damages and profits referred to in subsection 35(1), an award of statutory damages for which any one infringer is liable individually, or for which any two or more infringers are liable jointly and severally,

    (b) in a sum of not less than $100 and not more than $5,000 that the court considers just, with respect to all infringements involved in the proceedings for all works or other subject-matter, if the infringements are for non-commercial purposes

    The government’s intent was clearly to ensure that the maximum applied to all infringement from all rights holders. Indeed, the government’s fact sheet on the bill stated:

    The Bill ensures that Canadians are not subject to unreasonable penalties by significantly reducing statutory damages for infringement for non-commercial purposes by individuals, providing the courts with the flexibility to award between $100 and $5,000 in total damages. Using the same example of five illegally downloaded songs, the individual would only be liable for a penalty of between $100 and $5,000 under the proposed changes. The Bill will ensure that courts take proportionality into account in awarding damages.

    Some rights holders have recently argued that they could choose to pursue actual damages, rather than the non-commercial statutory damages. Yet the primary reason governments implemented statutory damages is that proving actual damages can be very difficult. As Howard Knopf rightly notes, to suggest that rights holder might be able to prove significant actual damages in mass copyright litigation is “extremely far fetched.”

    Has anyone successfully sued a downloader for non-commercial infringement in Canada?

    Not to my knowledge. The members of the Canadian Recording Industry Association ultimately abandoned the first file sharing lawsuits launched in 2004. More recently, Voltage Pictures has sought a court order for the identity of roughly 2,000 TekSavvy subscribers. After more than two years of litigation, it has obtained an order for the subscribers’ identity but that information has not been released due to an ongoing dispute over the costs its must pay before the information is made available.

    Does CEG TEK regularly follow through on the demand letter with lawsuits?

    According to the Cashman Law Firm, it has not sued anyone in two years in the United States. I am not aware of any lawsuits being filed in Canada.

  17. Worried Canadian says:

    I have received over 25 of these notices from Bell Canada, my ISP, with no end in sight. Unfortunately, all of them are dated from either March 31 or April 1, and the infractions supposedly occurred well over a month ago (January-February) so I can’t even correct them in an appropriate amount of time. My ISP, similarly, is sending them to me at a rate of 2-3 a day making my settlement opportunity shorter and shorter and my total settlement amount a moving target. I am absolutely terrified that this will either go to court, or I will have to settle. I fear that Bell will release my subscriber info without a warrant, since their privacy agreement is somewhat vague.

    DTD, do you have any advice on what to do here? Have you heard of others in this situation?

    • DieTrollDie says:

      My advice is the same for you and others similarly affected. Make sure the BT activity stops and doesn’t start back up. Tell your ISP you have taken steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Reset you WiFi password. Ignore the emails and move on with your life.

      These Bozos don’t want to take anyone to trial, as the cost is more than the benefit. All they have to do is get a small number of people to pay and they are making profit.

      DTD :)

  18. yankie doodle says:

    ceg is posting on the piratebay.se using the following user names Xuluhulu, h4ckous,chkm8te,SpashPt,irealu69,2.no.2, just for all your info this is trolling taken to the lowest levels they are posting the files to trap you this is nothing but a cash grab im a month past my deadlines and have heard nothing Do No Pay Them.. I they don’t get a court order they have no clue who you are or where you are

  19. doe says:

    I got a notice from Charter with a reference number. This is my first notice. I go online and check in with my reference number and the account number and it shows I have 5 copyright infringements. $ of which are the same file, and one of them is different. Its all Adult content, gay porn to be specific. Some of them have been at 3 am n 5 am in the morning. I didn’t do this. And I live with my gf so there’s nobody else who would do this. My wifi was password protected and it still happened. I called Charter, they told me to change my password. But i m worried about the stuff that CEG TEK has written. I did go to their websites from one of the complaints to see how much were they asking, $300, but I didn’t pay and haven’t checked their website again. a total of 5 complaints all of which if I assume $300 – would mean a total of $1500 which I can’t afford. I am a student, on F1 visa, living with my gf. We haven’t done it, and the only other option is someone else jacked into my network and did this. But CEG TEK is threatening me by saying if I didn’t settle with them, ( which btw 3 of the 5 complaints, the deadlines have already passed before I got the notice from Charter ) they companies they represent might sue me. I don’t know what to do. I can’t even afford an attorney. I am kinda panicking here. Please advise.

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