Settlement Letters, Etc.

This page was initially designed to keep a running list of Copyright Troll settlements letters.  If you know of any links to or have copies of these documents, please forward them to me.  I think it is really important to put these out so people not directly impacted by the Trolls can see their methods.  The Trolls like to convey to the general public that they are the good guys trying to protect the rights of copyright owners.  By placing these documents, emails, and voicemails on the Web, we can show their true nature and the greed that drives them.

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Oct 2014 – RightsCorp Email – Sent to a person accused of dowloading/sharing copyright protected content.

RightsCorpEmail

 

Oct 2014 – Dallas Buyers Club LLC, Settlement Letter (Troll Leon Bass) – $5 – $7K.  DBC_SettleLtr_00388(OH)

Sep 2014 – RightsCorp Recording – A recording made by an unknown person (I assume Mr. Joseph is fake) to RightsCorp.  Link was originally posted to DTD from a TOR node.  

Sep 2014 – RightCorp Voicemail – Sent to a person accused of dowloading/sharing copyright protected content.  

Sep 2014 – RightsCorp Text Message – Sent to a person accused of downloading/sharing copyright protected content.

Screenshot_RightsCorp_Txt

July 2014 – Dallas Buyers Club LLC, Settlement Letter (Troll David Stephenson) – No settlement amount – very brief.  Requests you or your attorney contact him.   DBC_SettlementLTR_01539(CO)

July 2014 – Dallas Buyers Club LLC, Settlement Letter & Waiver of Service (WOS) request Form (Troll Keith Vogt) – $3.5K.   DON’T Sign the WOS!!!!   DBC_SettleLTR_00235(WI)

July 2014 – Countryman Nevada LLC, Settlement Letter (Troll Scott Kannady) – $5-8K.   CountrymanNV_SettleLTR_01149(CO)

July 2014 – Dallas Buyers Club LLC, Settlement Letter (Troll Michael Hierl) – $3.5-4.8K.   DBC Settlement Letter_02163(IL)

June 2014 – Dallas Buyers Club LLC, Settlement Letter (Troll Leon Bass) – $5-7K.   DBC_SettleLTR_00384(OH)

June 2014 – Dallas Buyers Club LLC, Settlement Letter & Waiver of Service Form (Troll Keith Vogt) – $3.5K.   DBC_SettleLTR_00248(TX)

May 2014 – Countryman Nevada LLC, settlement Letter (Troll Michael Hierl) – $3.5K & $4.5K.   CountryManNV_SettLTR

Jan 2014 – “Cut-Rate” TCYK LLC, settlement Letters (Troll Jay Hamilton) – $1K & $1.5K.   HamIPL_Setl1_01020(IA)   HamIPL_Setl2_01020(IA)

Jan 2014 – Scott Kannady Settlement Letters (Assault on Wall Street/Bailout: The Age of Greed) – $5K / $8K   BK_SettlementLtr_13cv02974   AssaultWS_Set_Ltr_B&K

Nov 2013 – Scott Kannady Settlement Letter (The Power of Few) – $5K / $8K   ThePowerFew_SettleLTR

Aug 2013 – Mark Borghese Settlement Letter (TaylorMadeClips)   Borghese_SettleLtr_Aug2013

Jul 2013 – Charter notification letter (reFX Audio Software Inc.)  CharterLTR_00895(MO)

Aug 2013 – COMCAST notification letter (TCYK LLC)  ComcastLTR

Jun 2013 – Paul Lesko Settlement letter for Purzel Video GMBH (Creampie Young Girls 1) – $4K   Lesko_SettleLTR_02501(IL)

Jul 2013 – “Elf-Man” settlement letter from Michael Hierl.  $3.5K for a fast settlement and $4.5K if you delay.

Jun 2013 – “The Thompsons” Settlement letter from Michael Hierl.  $2.5K or $3.5K, the Troll has both amount in the letter.   SettleLtr_02365(IL)

Jun 2013 – Paul Lesko Settlement letter for PHE Inc (Buffy XXX Parody movie) – $4K   Lesko_SettleLTR_00786(IL)

Paul Lesko Settlement letter for reFX Audio Software.  April 2013 – $4K

Duffy Law Group Settlement Letter.  Original letter is dated 18 Apr 13.  This is for Arte de Oaxaca v. Stacey Mullen case, 2012-L-9036.  Case was dismissed on 18 Mar 13.

Nov 2012 Prenda Settlement Letter.  Steele/Duffy decided to mention the 1.5 Million default judgment and provide a link to a Torrentfreak article.  Thanks guys!  You make this fun for us at times.

May 2012 Prenda Settlement Letter, signed by Joseph Perea.  Case: Pacific century International Ltd., v. Does 1-20, 4:12-cv-00698 (SDTX).  Has the IL and FL Prenda addresses on it.  Prenda_SettleLTR_00698(TX)

Prenda Robo Call – Mentions the “Informal Discovery” documents they are going to send out.

Mark Lutz message – “Our client was generous enough to extend their settlement offer…”  Blah Blah Blah.  Sounds like teacher from the Charlie Brown TV specials.

Prenda Robo Calls Examples at Fightcopyrighttolls.com

AZ Doe Sends Prenda a reply, Feb 2012   Doe_RE_AZ  Thanks SJD for posting this.  This Doe isn’t taking @#$! from the Trolls.

2011 – Master Troll John Steele (AKA: Prenda Law) gives an interview on CBC. 

CBC John Steele1

Copyright Enforcement Group (CEG) settlement/DMCA email, June 2012   CEG_Settlement_DMCA_email – This is an email first sent to the ISP (before any legal cases is opened) – they forward it to the ISP subscriber.  It tells the ISP subscriber to access the settlement Web site.  Movie – “Church Of Bootyism 2.”  For this New Sensations Inc., movie, the settlement fee was $200.

Copyright Law Group settlement email, April 2012  CLG_SettlementEmail_00350(MD)

DMCA Notice of Action Email to a Comcast subscriber  TD_Notice1  The DMCA notice was sent to Comcast less than 24 hours after the activity was recorded.

Keith Lipscomb Settlement Email & Agreement KL_settlementE  KL_Settle_Agree  Troll henchmen – Serena Duncan (818) 332-1291 & Laura Elena Jimenez Velis, LVelis@LEBFIRM.COM

Copyright Law Group Settlement Letter, June 2012.  CLG_SettleLTR_Jun12

Copyright Law Group Settlement Letter CLG_Settlement_Ltr_01833

Voice-mails from Mark Lutz

Mark Lutz RemixRock It!

John Steele letter57230736-Settlement-Letter

Prenda Law Inc. letter – Looks like the same John Steele letter – Prenda_Ltr

Prenda Law Inc. LetterLightspeed Hacking casePrenda_Lightspeed-Letter

Smegma Law Inc. Parody LetterSmegma_Ltr ;)

Smegma Law Inc. Parody Letter #2 – Parody_Ltr2 ;)

K-Beech telephone calls – Glen Powers calls from an 818 area code with a settlement demand of $3400.

K-Beech Settlement text from a Doe – Text was cut/paste from the agreement and emailed – K-Beech(AZ)_SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

Gill Sperlein letter letter

179 Responses to Settlement Letters, Etc.

  1. john doe says:

    Hi I received a letter from refx saying their suing me for downloading their bs program. Comcast hasnt yet sent out my info. What do I do???? The service is in my gf’s name….

    • DieTrollDie says:

      As the Internet is under your girlfriend’s name, she is the one this immediately affects. I’m sure the Troll would love for you or her to call them to arraign a settlement. The Troll will certainly accept your money (or anyone else). Your girlfriend could file a motion to quash the subpoena (or hire an attorney to do it), but these early motions haven’t had the best luck. For most of the jurisdiction the Trolls are bringing these cases, the courts are allowing the release of the ISP subscriber information. After that, they will send he a settlement demand letter and threaten to move forward with the case. As far as for reFX, I have only seen three cases where they have an actual “named” defendant. All the others are mass Doe cases – reFX v. Does 1-80, etc. I do not know if reFX has conducted any depositions of the ISP subscribers or forensics, but I doubt it – correct me if I’m wrong). If you/your GF do not pay/settle, then the Troll has to decide what to do next. They could name and serve her with a summons/complaint, but this is unlikely IMO. If they do, she has approx. 20 days to answer the complaint (time to hire an attorney). Failure to do this can allow the Troll/Plaintiff to ask the court for a default judgement (your failure to answer the allegations in court) and then award damages. The damages can range between $750 – $150,000 Plus attorneys fees/costs. If they do not name/serve her, then the case could stay open for months or a year before the court or the Troll closes it down. If she does answer the complaint, then a deposition of her and you (as well as others in the residence – if any) would likely be next. They would ask you under oath about if you did it, if you know who did it, BT usage, downloading activity, etc. This will give them a good idea on if you two were involved and if they can get you to settle. There main goal is to generate settlements, so doing this is costly and often counter-productive to their business plan. By this time to, they will have likely conducted some sort of financial analysis of you/your GF to see if you have the money/assets to pay if they receive an award. Going after people who make minimum wage and no assets is not a good idea for them – remember this is not an effort to stop piracy, just make money.

      Keep reading/researching and keep me informed.

      DTD :)

      • john doe says:

        So at this point would the best thing be to not answer or anything? She’s freaking out thinking about getting a lawyer an what not I told her to relax and cancel the account and put it in my name. Comcast said in their letter we have until the 14th of February until they release our information to refx.

      • DieTrollDie says:

        Changing the ISP account over to you will do nothing to stop this. The ISP already has the subscriber information recorded and will wait until the last date (14 Feb 14) to send out, pending any motions or court orders. I know it is hard, but SHE cannot be held accountable if you she didn’t do it OR she didn’t take some direct action to encourage the download/sharing. Warning – talking to the troll will not do any good, as the Troll will try to pressure her to disclose who possibly did this – of course under threat of her being sued. They may even try to tell her as the ISP subscriber, she is responsible for all action on the network – don’t believe this. I would recommend you GF read up on these cases and even get a free legal consult from an attorney who knows and works these case. IMO, take a wait and see approach for now.

        DTD :)

      • DoeDoe says:

        So how does a troll conduct a financial analysis on the defendants? Can they see bank accounts, etc.?

        Also, what download activity can Crystal Bay see, aside from the alleged infringement of the plaintiff’s material? Can they only see what they are tracking, or do they track everything with your IP address, or…?

      • DieTrollDie says:

        Once you have a name, address, phone number, etc., you can start to run various database checks – Lexus nexus. You can research where a person lives and if they are on the title for it. Based off of the database results, you can start looking at people on social media and other sites. If you are a professional, often time you will licensing/certification requirements. Once a career field is determined, the wage range for the area can be calculated. It isn’t perfect, but it is often times close.

        Very little is known about Crystal Bay Corporation (CBC), but here is what I believe – CBC uses some sort of modified BT client that prevents them from uploading content to other BT clients – one-way/download-only. They find a copy of Plaintiff’s movie on BT and download a complete copy. They review the copy and validate that it is Plaintiff’s movie (or at least majority of it is). During the download, they record the IP addresses of the people they are getting part from. They also initiate contact with the other BT client who have Plaintiff’s movie and download a portion of it to verify the hash file numbers match Plaintiff’s movie. I don’t remember seeing anything from CBC showing what other movies/media the various BT clients are sharing, but I would bet money that they do this. I know Malibu media and other Trolls have done this. It is easy and doesn’t take up much log space.

        DTD :)

      • DoeDoe says:

        How can they see what other movies are being shared? Can they just do a search with the IP address? If they initiate downloads of other movies then they are infringing as well, right?

        In a TCYK lawsuit, the plaintiff is claiming the defendant downloaded many other copyrighted works of others.

      • DieTrollDie says:

        In BT, you have the ability to see what other data files the public IP address is also sharing. They simply record this information. I doubt they actually download the files. As you said they don’t have the rights to do that and would also be infringing. Note: Plaintiff’s like Malibu Media will use the list of other files being shared to try to figure out who the infringer is. i.e. – The Doe’s job is as a computer system administrator and many of the shared files are e-book dealing with system administration. Say on a Facebook page you state you are a HUGE Dr. Who fan AND the shared files contain a large collection of Dr. Who TV series recordings and book/comics, etc. Not perfect, but it helps them narrow it down and apply pressure to people to settle.

        DTD :)

    • John Doe says:

      Me too! I don’t even have their stupid software on my computer!

      • John Doe says:

        damn it. Looking on my old computer, turns out I do have that reFX iso file. I didn’t install it but I know that doesn’t matter. Screwed huh?

    • Silver says:

      hey what is the update in your case?

  2. John Doe says:

    Paul Lesko for ReFX wants $5,500 now

  3. john mo doe says:

    So I’ve received 2 letters already from a lawyer here in Illinois trying to settle the ref2 nexus bullsh!t. I haven’t responded or given then any signal of life. I plan on doing this until it goes away. I have also not downloaded anymore torrents. Any idea if anyones been successful not responding or anything? What should I expect?

  4. Mike1 says:

    I was recently served for this reFX bs. My question is, do I get a lawyer, and pay approx. $800.00 + or settle this myself. I’m in the chicagoland area. Any help, would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

    • DieTrollDie says:

      Was this a complaint/summons to you or the ISP? If you, I would talk with an attorney in the Chicago area (there are some good one in that jurisdiction). If you are innocent, you could file an answer Pro Se. If they have no evidence besides the public IP address, they are hurting.

      DTD :)

    • Here says:

      Curious to know what you are deciding to do. I am in a similar boat with Countryman Nevada. Called around here in Chicago. Found a flat fee to settle via a local law firm. Trusted people have referred me to lawyers who tell me there is no point in doing anything (settling before the request for plaintiff to gain information from Comcast) unless the allegations are taking more seriously and I am served a subpoena.

      • Mike1 says:

        I filed as Pro Se, couple moths pass and today I receive a settlement below what I would have paid a lawyer alone. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do next. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

      • DieTrollDie says:

        Please email me the details and the settlement letter. I will give you some feedback/advice. Dietrolldie.com.

        DTD :)

  5. Johnny D says:

    @Mike1,
    There are a bunch of lawyers that will help you settle for flat fee of $500.

  6. A says:

    I just recieved a letter from hughes socol, piers, resnick, dym bia michael hierl on behalf of countryman nevada for downloading charlie countryman. they want me to settle for $3,500, $4,500 after June 5th. I don’t have any money to spare even for a lawyer to settle for less. How often to they take this to actual court. I’m still so confused as to how this works and what my chances are. There are a total of 286 does being sued in my discrtict (i beleive) .

  7. This is Wack Malibu says:

    I just received the Malibu Media request to release my information from Comcast last night. I am located in Colorado. Anyone successfully just ignored it and been ok?

  8. Bob says:

    Received this gem of boiler plate from TuneSat:

    FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY

    As you were notified in our e-mail dated 10/22/2014, it has come to our attention that your organization is using copyrighted music owned or controlled exclusively by our client, The Diner, in online video or audio content located at the links listed below. Again, our client carefully checked its records and cannot locate any evidence of you or your organization having obtained a proper license for these uses of their copyrighted material. Therefore, your use of this music may be in violation of U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 of the Copyright Act of 1976).

    At TuneSat, we utilize a digital fingerprinting technology that identifies the use of The Diner’s copyrights across the Internet and notifies TuneSat how and where its content is being used and by whom. Without a proper license to use The Diner’s copyrights, the uses appear to be infringements.

    The links at issue include, but may not be limited to:

    Page URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKmVxAhoZ6w, Content URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKmVxAhoZ6w, Song Title: D-PE0065a Light Up The Stars (Instrumental), Album Title: Pop-Electronic [D-PE]
    We demand that you immediately respond to this e-mail in one of the following ways:

    1) If you have a valid license for the material or are otherwise authorized to be using The Diner’s copyrights in the content found at the links listed above, please provide us with proof. Please e-mail such proof, along with any corresponding documentation to: compliance@tunesat.com. Please include your name or organization’s name in the subject line. Please also include your address or your organization’s address in the e-mail, along with any other information that might help us to understand what authorization, if any, has been granted to you for these uses of our client’s copyrights. If the music was licensed through a third party or through a DBA (“doing business as”), once again, please include that information in your e-mail and supply us with a copy of the corresponding license so that we may authenticate its validity.

    2) If you do not have a license or other authorization to use this music, The Diner is willing to issue a settlement agreement to cover the usage to date. Such a settlement is contingent on your immediately ceasing and desisting from the use of the copyrights, fully disclosing any and all unauthorized uses of The Diner’s copyrights, and paying the corresponding settlement fee for any and all uses of The Diner’s copyrights. Simply removing these particular links from the Internet or ceasing and desisting from the ongoing use of the copyrights will not discharge you of responsibility for the initial copyright infringement that has occurred and the damage that has already been done to our client’s copyrights. The proposed settlement agreement would only cover the specific uses of the online video or audio content identified above. No other uses of the same content in any other medium, including but not limited to TV broadcasts, corporate/industrial uses, or uses on Internet URLs other than those listed above, are to be included in the proposed settlement without your prior disclosure of any such unidentified uses and the written approval of The Diner.
    The settlement fee is $4500 per use.

    Though it would in some ways serve to increase the corresponding fee as stated above, if you would like to properly license the continuing use of these copyrights in the identified content or in other content to be created in the future, please contact us by sending your request to compliance@tunesat.com or call us at 646-738-6464 to discuss.

    Once payment has been received, we will issue the corresponding retroactive license agreement to you for review and signature.

    The above is being sent for settlement purposes only without addressing the value of these uses nor the damages that were caused by any unauthorized uses, and is only valid for 7 days from the date of this e-mail. If this matter is not fully resolved within the next 7 days, we will apply all other legal remedies to protect our client’s property from illegal uses of its material.

    The contents of this e-mail are not and shall not be construed as an admission of any kind as to the facts set forth, nor the merits of any claim(s) we and/or any other party may have or may purport to have, nor shall it be construed as an admission for any purposes on our part or on that of any other party. All of our rights and remedies are hereby expressly reserved.

    Sincerely,

    Compliance Department
    TuneSat LLC
    1650 Broadway, Suite 1108
    New York, NY 10019
    http://www.tunesat.com
    t: 646-738-6464
    compliance@tunesat.com

    Our response:
    To whom it may concern,

    It has come to our attention that your company TuneSat LLC appears to be engaged in a practice to profit by engaging in zealous copyright enforcement, a practice referred to as “copyright trolling”. A trolls’ business model involves alleging that consumers are liable for copyright infringement, and demanding compensation under threat of litigation. This appears to be in-alignment with your stated business model https://tunesat.com/tunesatportal/home/faqs. Furthermore, copyright trolling can also involve sending letters, emails, or unsolicited phone calls demanding significant financial compensation for alleged copyright infringement. The amount of money demanded far exceeds any potential damages to the Plaintiff arising from the alleged breach. The customers are then threatened with legal action if they do not comply. https://www.eff.org/

    We at X., believe your claim constitutes what a legal body in the United States would call a “speculative invoicing” scheme. Speculative invoicing is often interchanged with the term copyright trolling, in so far as speculative invoicing involves sending demand letters alleging copyright infringement and seeking thousands of dollars in compensation, as your emails dated 10/22/2014, 10/20/2014 & recorded voice message indicate.
    Therefore this electronic correspondence is to inform you that X., is disputing the validity of your claim as is our right under the current copyright law of the United States of America and related laws contained in Title 17 of the United States Code.

    Furthermore, we at X., believe that your digital “fingerprint” technology is defective and can not locate any evidence that Page URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKmVxAhoZ6w, exists in any tangible format. X., respectfully requests that you present us, with tangible proof in the form of digital source code, of your “fingerprinting” technology, in order to confirm the validity of your web trolling software. We believe that your aforementioned technology is defective, and respectfully request that you prove that such a Song Titled: D-PE0065a Light Up The Stars was ever hosted, played or otherwise possessed by X., or its agents, for any material or commercial gain. Unless such detailed source code is presented, or any form of third-party verifiable proof confirmed, we have to assume that you are either a “troll” fabricating this material, or your software is indeed defective.
    We demand that all further communications be in certified writing, either through the United States Postal Service, or similar tracked carrier, not email, or telephone calls, and limited to a notification of either: Your failure to verify the alleged use of “D-PE0065a Light up the Stars” and the closing of the matter; or consist of the records we have asked you to provide. Failure to do so will in our eyes constitute harassment under State Code § X

    Lastly, we respectfully request that you, TuneSat LLC., cease and desist your speculative invoicing schemes. Speculative invoicing is often interchanged with the term copyright trolling, we at X., do not feed the trolls.

    Sincerely,

    X

    • Doe says:

      What did TuneSat reply with? I received the same email and they are requesting i pay a ton of money. I really appreciate any help you can give me.

  9. Fuck CEG says:

    Cliffs:
    Paid CEG TEK first 2 of 12 settlements ($300 each) after giving them my name address and phone number
    Late on last payment(3 of 12) they send an email saying I must get in contact with them to resolve the issue
    Get in contact with the same robotic sounding douche that originally got my name out of me. He tells me that he can give me 10 days to get the money to pay my 3rd settlement and continue the payment plan we agreed upon through email
    Was supposed to pay today, but I couldn’t find a password or case number to enter on their website. IIRC the case# and password was originally giving to me on the phone. So I called today to get the plan reinstated manually with the robot sounding douche, but the kunt of a secretary said no one was in and to leave a name and number so they can call me back.

  10. JohnDoe says:

    I started receiving notices recently from RightsCorp. Over a week long period, I received about a dozen notices, then they stopped for close to a week, now. All the notices indicated a files downloaded the same day from a “torrent” on the same day.

    I never contacted RightsCorp or my isp (Charter).

    The general opinion seems to be that they’ll contact Charter to supenia about me, and that charter generally plays nice with them.

    I have 2 questions:

    1) Should I contact Charter, and if so to say what?

    2) When they supenia Charter, what do they get? Will they simply get my knformation? Or will they all records of my recent activity (download, sites visited, videos streamed, etc)? (I’ve read Charter keeps records for up to a year)

    • DieTrollDie says:

      First, it is EXTREMELY unlikely they will subpoena anything, as it first requires,a copyright infringement case to be opened. As they don’t file cases, they will not get a subpoena. No subpoena equals not release of ISP subscriber info – even from Charter.

      You contact Charter, if only to say you took steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again. I would suggest you make sure the BT activity stops. Next time if could be a real troll.

      DTD :)

  11. JohnDoe says:

    Well, I run a bed and breakfast, so it’s entirely possible things have been downloaded on the network that I don’t know about.

    If all they get in a subpoena is my contact info, I’m not too worried about it.

    However, if they recieve logs of activity on the network for the last year (or however long it may be), then I am concerned, because I assume they could look at the logs and see if someone else potentially downloaded something and add that to the case?

    Currently, the settlement amount is under $250. If it’s possible they get these logs and could tack on more cases, that’s my main concern.

    • DieTrollDie says:

      You should probably seek helping in setting up your WiFi access point to not allow the common BitTorrent ports. Not perfect, but it will likely stop majority of the BT activity. This sounds like CEG-TEK or RightsCorp, so they will not subpoena your ISP, as they don’t have a real case open. These guys are an annoyance, but there are real copyright trolls out there.

      DTD :)

  12. Pingback: Duel Article: Dallas Buyers Club LLC Activity & Forensic Expert Patrick “Never Convicted” Paige | DieTrollDie

  13. doe says:

    Got the letter from TCYK in regards to Sky in the UK, previously on this site I was told to ignore the letter and not reply at all. Any further advice would be appreciated?

    • DieTrollDie says:

      Make sure the BT activity stops and doesn’t start back up. Keep an eye on their efforts in the UK courts. That will show you how far they want to take this. The people behind the TCYK trolling generally don’t want trial. The money is made with the settlements.

      DTD :)

  14. Should I reply at all? I was thinking of replying and stating I don’t know what they are on about, short and sweet but don’t really want to get into a dialogue with them.

    • DieTrollDie says:

      I personally would not. You can’t convince them and then they know they have your attention. They cannot go after everyone, so I suggest not drawing any more attention to yourself.

      DTD :)

  15. Norwell Trondheim says:

    Comcast, and a day later Cegtek, sent me the typical emails for 4 XXX vids obtained via KAT (and after receiving the notices I quickly checked and found the video I did DL (and the 6-7 other versions of the same file) gone. One of them I did in fact download, but the others no. The first was a very mild, straight “woman-friendly” studio’s output, the other three very kinky gay male scenes. Very clear and straightforward from the titles. Checked logs and HDD anyway. Nope. Not me. In the past I have used seedboxes and VPNs, paid and open proxy services, a variety of spoofing tools, Little Snitch, anti-fingerprinting, and various means of getting off the trackers’ peer lists ASAP after completion, DHT, mag links, TOR, Tribler, and open trackers that don’t publish lists or indexes (or the torrent metafiles themselves) but merely track clients based on the hash ‘number.’ First time I have ever come onto the trolls’ radar, and I have been doing this (not the BT protocol, of course) since dial-up BBS days in the 80’s (though I don’t use all the above tools all the time). I guess I will have to use more restraint and care, at least until I figure out a better solution. Tribler is potentially wonderful, but woe is me to DL a 1.5GB movie at 60-70 KB/s instead of the 1.5-8.0 MB/s my connection easily supports; there was another project to build a truly anonymous client and entire network/protocol at a West Coast university a few years ago, but can’t remember its name or fate? It was also slow, and offered far fewer files.

    It’s all good with me. I don’t respond to legal threats by email, especially when the threat/demand starting communication with a party previously unknown to me. Email is almost never duly diligent, or properly verifiable for any type of legal, financial, or business notices, even less so for opening communications; USPS is still the standard, while other instances of online disputes and contracts make it very easy for trolls and other corporate leeches to assert [and prove] consent/agreement/notification based on a few clicked boxes/buttons and various styles of affixing electronic signatures. Gonna do nothing, it’s been 9 days since the Cegtek people emailed me. Not worried, just bugged, a little wounded pride at getting caught, even if their assertions/claims are at least 75% false, intentionally (maybe to trick me into admitting the one infringing DL as I deny the others) or not (because these lawyers and the people who work for them are arrogant, stupid, lazy, and greedy).

    That’s my voice of protest. I have mixed feelings about the downloads I do via BT. But feel no such ambivalence about the practices of these troll-firms and their clients. Bottom feeders, and even when they are legitimately representing the true and original copyright owners, they behave like parasites and predators. Though changed somewhat since days of early web ca. 1994-5, copyright law and infringement are civil ‘offenses’, not criminal. Even the civil penalties are excessive (though trolls point out correctly that the demands they are sending out are pitched at far lower dollar amounts than the peak of actual litigation against individuals sometime 2004-2008). Part of an overall trend towards severity, intolerance, and presumption of right and truth favoring the larger, more powerful party in the law (like mandatory-minimum incarceration for nearly all criminal offenses including simple drug possession for personal use, non-injury non-accident DUI, accusations of various type of harassment, courts backing up predatory mortgage lenders, and on and on) in most states that began ca. 1988), IP trolling (the problem very much worse for patents than copyright, and in many cases the rights-owners attacks harm all sorts of people not party to the action/suit. Like pharmaceuticals long off-patent that get tweaked so the company can charge exorbitant prices for a tiny non-medical change, patenting ‘one-click’ and thousands more “technologies” which we used to call business practices, style, etc. (Starbucks sued the Rat City Rollergirls, a sweet and tight roller-derby team here in Seattle, since their logo was round, green, and featured a woman in the center. Yup. Jeez, someone might go to their games and think it belonged to Howard Schultz, or Starbucks brand/public image might be damaged, or they might be deceived into thinking that the $20 they paid for admission to RCRG events was for a double-halfcaf- mocha latte and be enraged with Starbucks (on both counts, a likely fair point, given the coffee merchants steadily insaner prices).

    Bottom line: corporate greed, vanity, aggression, humorlessness, callousness, and several adjectives I won’t insert here or at any other orifice. All waaay gone tweaker-crazy. Of the numerous types of inequality and equality a few Presidential candidates have been speaking about, IP trolls are a brilliant example of an industry that produces nothing of value for the economy or consumers yet which gets paid lavishly. A certain Senator from Vermont has explained this to me very persuasively. We all should get behind him and push. Maybe petty copyright infringement is a hard thing to get people who don’t ever do it to empathize with, but look at marijuana legalization, same-sex marriage, addiction, and other people and issues that once were a minority, taboo/shunned/mistreated (often with rationales for it that seemed reasonable and appropriate) and how they have achieved the mainstream, have achieved respect and equal protection of the law. I know I “shouldn’t” infringe copyrights, even though the commercial/financial damage is far overstated and to some extent a false complaint (esp. with popular music, some really persuasive args for illegal DLing doing more good than harm, to the bottom line). Bottom-bottom line: be careful, take the time to understand how these greedy, oily trolls operate, take measures to CYA, and be moderate. Sure, you can go buy 3-4 2TB external drives for amazingly little money and then fill them to capacity in a couple weeks with thousands of films, applications, albums, and maintain a ratio of 10+ (for little more than the cost of electricity, and whatever slice of your bandwidth you choose to use). But why? This stuff is free, at least to peers who never donate to trackers. It’s not going away anytime soon. Relax and don’t be a target. And do fight back if Cegtek or its ilk threaten you (which is actually illegal: threatening to sue, or saying something like ‘if you don’t do x or stop doing y, we’ll take you to court/sue you/report you to TransUnion’ is a criminal offense in many states and will potentially get the attorneys involved suspended or disbarred.).

    Last: unless the whole world becomes like North Korea and essentially replaces the internet with a national intranet even more pathetic than AOL/Compuserve in the era of the WWW forward, lawsuits, criminal prosecutions of alleged infringers, ‘n’-strikes clauses in ISP terms of service, and other punitive, intimidating strategies will NEVER stop, or substantially reduce infringing downloads and uploads. Never ever. I bet the rate and amounts of illegal downloading will steadily decline in the decades ahead. It’s free and there is a lot of it, but I am snatching much less than I did 5 years ago, even with a faster connect and an iPhone. The content producers/owners have finally sussed that a great deal of infringement is just because until 2-3 years ago, legally obtained quality movies and TV were not available, were way overpriced, or they made it hard to use their services to the point that a majority just gave up and went to TPG, KAT, BTjunkie and got what they were looking for. The studios just didn’t get it at all, failed again to anticipate changes in the market and their clientele, failed to offer what the customer clearly and truly wanted even though it was obvious to everyone else including a few corps like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Failed again to anticipate or believe how fast the market for music and film/TV would shift online and away from dedicated player/screen TV appliance. Resented it loudly. Insulted their customers, telling them that they were wrong and didn’t really want on-demand, streaming, all-you-can-watch-whenever&wherever-you-like. But they’re starting to get it (or die). I think they will get straight on non-monetary infringement and IP litigation as well. Some of them are even producing original work themselves, distributing it themselves. A part of that material is even very good. The old dominant model has been disrupted. In time the approach to infringement will shift also. Less inflated drumming about ‘piracy’ with its casting us as criminals and anti-social misfit leeches, more trying to understand the new market and adapt themselves back into sustained profitability. These corporations brought this entire mess on themselves. They got fat and lazy and while they controlled firmly production, distribution, licensing, and other uses of their IP they did very well for themselves. Not anymore. Whining about their lost box office revenues won’t win them any new friends, which they badly need. Torrenting is not theft, but we are taking something without permission. So we shouldn’t whine quite so much. We get this stuff without charge or fee, mostly, and it is usually of good technical quality, there is a lot of it, and it is so easy to actually accomplish the task of searching, choosing, downloading, and watching (etc.) a file. Most of the time it is also easy, using good judgement and a little self-restraint as well as technical tools like seedboxes and proxies and security/privacy software, to be highly confident in our own ability to stay under the radar.

    Oh, all trolls except actual ancient giant pudgy grey homicidal toddlers that live under bridges are nasty, buttoned-up delusional narcissists who used to flatter the hall-monitor kid when caught without a pass, and then snitched when the faculty stopped them and asked why they didn’t have a pass, and later felt good about themselves for it.

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