CEG Monetization – Church of the Bootyism 2

A Doe forwarded me a recent email he received from the Copyright Enforcement Group (CEG), through his ISP.  You have likely heard of CEG and some of the Trolls that are part of this organization – Ira Siegel, Mike Meiers, Marvin Cable, Carroll Law, and the now-disavowed Terik Hashmi.  Here are three articles on CEG.  #1  #2  #3

One area CEG specializes in is “Monetization” (turning something into cash).  This something is the alleged copyright infringement of various items, such as movies and images.  The general view of CEG is that each infringement is a lost sale to be exploited.  CEG monitors the Internet in search of files belonging to its customers.  Once an infringed upon file is located, the details of the infringing activity are recorded.  Once this information is collected, the content owner has different options are available to them.   

  • DMCA take-down notices can automatically be issued to ISPs – who then forward it to the ISP subscriber to maintain their DMCA safe harbor status. 
  • They also have a variation of a DMCA take-down letter (example below) in which they direct a ISP subscriber to visit their Web site to pay a settlement.  This is where CEG attempts to monetize the alleged infringements.   
  • CEG also has a group of Trolls that can file cases against Does who do not settle.  Once ISP subscriber information is obtained, settlement demands are issued under threats of being named in a federal law suit and possibly having to pay up to $150K plus attorney fees.    

Here is the redacted settlement email from the Doe – CEG_Settlement_DMCA_emailThis email was NOT part of any filed case – just a notification that a public IP address was observed downloading/sharing the copyright protected New Sensations Inc., movie, “Church of the Bootyism 2.”  This of course was not a simple Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) take-down notice, but a way to get the ISP subscriber to pay a settlement demand or face the threat of a “possible” Federal lawsuit.   I did take a look at the US Copyright Office database – the movie did receive a registration on 14 Mar 12 – Reg # PA0001781060.  The funny thing is that the title of the movie at the Copyright Office is for “Church of Booytism 02,” not “Church of the Bootyism 2.”  A simple error????  I wonder???

The CEG email directs the recipient to the following Web site: hxxp://www.copyrightsettlements.com/ (details).   At this site the user enters a Case # and a Password.  Note:  If you get something like this, only access the link via a proxy service – that way it hides you public IP address from CEG.  For this particular case, the settlement amount sought was $200.  If you have been following the settlement amounts, you will wonder why the amount is so low.  Depending on the Copyright Troll involved, the requested settlement amounts usually range between $2500 – $4000.   

I believe the settlement amount is low so as to make it easier for people to pay up to make it go away.  As no Trolls have to be involved, there is no legal and courts fees to deal with at this time.  The content owner does have to share any of the settlement money with a troll.  The only thing they have to cover is whatever service fee CEG charges. 

This also allows the content owner to more easily go after Does in locations where they normally don’t file cases in.  Between Feb – May 2012, New Sensations, Inc. only filed cases in MA, MD, and NY.  They have previously filed cases in CA through Ira Siegel.  Note: Mike Meiers can practice in FL (since Hashmi was kicked to the curb – fool).  Note: CEG can hire attorneys authorized to practice in various States, but for right now they seem to be staying in these areas.  I would wager that CEG maintains control of the information they collect on the alleged infringements and the content owners can only use it to file cases through CEG lawyers.     

Here is another analysis of a CEG email.

So what should you do if you get one of these CEG emails?

  • Do not contact the Troll.  There is NO case, only CEG’s threat that they could file one.  Even if they do eventually file a case, they only have the public IP address as their evidence – weak and unreliable in identifying the person responsible for the infringement.
  • Start a file to keep any and all documents and notes on this issue.  This is your “just in-case” file.
  • Research the movie (US Copyright Office Web site).  Does it have a copyright registration?  Date of 1st publication – Date of copyright application – Date of registration & number.  Add to the “just in-case” file.
  • Only access the CEG settlement Web site by using an anonymizing Web proxy such as anonymous.org, www.hidemyass.com, or www.anonymizing-proxy.info
  • Review you Firewall/Router to determine if any rogue systems have been using your Internet connection.  Document any unknown systems – take screenshots of the Firewall/Router information, as well as writing it down on paper.  I would also suggest blocking any unknown system you find using your Internet connection.  These can be blocked by adding the MAC address of the unknown system to a “blocked” list (MAC filtering option). 

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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30 Responses to CEG Monetization – Church of the Bootyism 2

  1. Raul says:

    Thanks for the info, I like the part of the settlement email where it states “[n]othing contained or omitted from this correspondence is, or shall be deemed to be either a full statement of the facts or applicable law…” If it were not for this admission of bending the facts and the law, I could swear it originated from Nigeria.
    Looks like Ira Siegal is inching closer to just having debt collectors do all the work.http://news.cnet.com/8301-31001_3-20020495-261.html

  2. anonymous says:

    Ira Siegel has been sending those emails since early 2010. There was a website with hundreds of posts from people that received similar emails, they are a farce.

  3. Kevin Sanda says:

    They did try to pull that scam at our office today and my Internet provider fell for that garbage and called to say that our business service would be interrupted. Having worked in the legal world there is this thing called evidence. I was not about to click on any links to go and discover evidence. I guess they lost my $200 + fee today but I feel bad for all those other people who shelled out that cash in fear.

  4. j says:

    Hi, so i recently got an e-mail similar to the open mentioned here from CEG and Ira Siegel. In the initial panic, i clicked on the link and entered my case number and pw to check how much they wanted, the same mentioned $200 without setting up a proxy or anything. Does that leave me vulnerable? Or does it not matter too much? Any help would be great. Also, has anyone heard CEG or Ira Siegel prepping for some cases? It seems he hasn’t done much since November/December of 2011, but since it has been a while, are they gearing up for another strike?

    • j says:

      Oh, and i live in California, where all the porn companies are. Does this increase my chances of being sued?

      • j smith says:

        Hey J have you heard anything from these crooks?? its now January 21 2013. I am really curious if you have heard anything more. please let us know as soon as you can i would really appreciate it

  5. Geo D says:

    So, has anyone refused to pay? And if so, what happened? I have three claims against me from CEG and I’m about to contact a lawyer to see what I should do. I’m a web designer and I can design a website that acts just like CEG and I can use a IP sniffer and grab IP addresses from torrents just as CEG does. So, I guess I can start sending out letters and try to collect some cash!? I’d like to hear from others that refused to pay CEG and know what the end result was.

  6. Dee says:

    I just received an email from them yesterday too. Asking me to pay $250. I can’t find a lot of material to read to what people did, or how did it end up for them. If somebody experienced this, please share. Thanks!

    • DieTrollDie says:

      They do not open cases and are only looking for a fast settlement. Don’t do anything but make sure the activity stops and resecure your WiFi Internet connection.

      DTD 🙂

  7. Lookatme says:

    Ok I got popped with one of these letters and was completely guilty. My luck though, it was the first time I had ever used torrents in my life. Well I was blocked by my actual ISP. It wasn’t just a malware redirect. I was directed to my ISP website suddenlink.com. Once I reestablished my service I started doing a lot of research on copyrightsettlements.com and came across a few lawyers that said they had handled cases for clients and settled and never heard anything again. In my line of work there is absolutely no way I could afford to have this remotely escalate so I took a chance and settled for $250. I received a release and thought I would share it. Whether it is worth anything or not remains to be seen.

    LIABILITY RELEASE
    Thank you for your settlement. Your liability release is below.
    PLEASE PRINT AND RETAIN A COPY OF THIS DOCUMENT – IT RELEASES YOU FROM LIABILITY.
    Settlement Date: Case Number:
    Month Date, Year XXXXXXXXX
    Title: Infringement IP Address:
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XX.XXX.XX.XXX
    File Name: Source & Timestamp:
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
    (DVDRip)BitTorrent – Day, Month Date Year Time
    RELEASOR: RELEASEE:
    Owner My Name
    Address Address
    City, State Zip City State Zip

    Release Security Code: XXXXXXXXXX-XXXXXXXXXX-XXXXXXXXX-XXXXXXXXXXX
    (Please note: the Release Security Code is unique to this case and cannot be replicated.)

    RELEASEE understands that RELEASOR asserts that, before the Settlement Date set forth above, infringement of the copyright in the above-titled work occurred on the computer associated with the IP Address and Timestamp listed above.
    RELEASOR and RELEASEE are willing to settle and resolve any claim against RELEASEE for that alleged infringement under the terms and conditions set forth herein, it being understood by both that this Liability Release represents a compromise and that nothing herein is to be construed as an admission of liability on the part of RELEASEE.
    RELEASEE represents and warrants to RELEASOR that, to the extent, if any, that RELEASEE has ever had an unauthorized copy of the above-titled work in RELEASEE’s possession, RELEASEE has removed any and all copies of the above-titled work from all of RELEASEE’s computers and has destroyed all other copies of the work prior to the Settlement
    Date written above except for any copies lawfully obtained from RELEASOR.

    Case Number: XXXXXXXXXXXXX |
    Case IP: XX.XXX.XXX.XX |
    Settlement Date: Month Date Year
    Release Security Code: XXXXXXXXXX-XXXXXXXXXX-XXXXXXXXX-XXXXXXXXXXX
    CEG TEK International |
    8484 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 515 |
    Beverly Hills, CA 90211
    support @ cegtek.com |
    www copyrightsettlements com
    Toll Free: 877-526-7974

    RELEASEE further represents and warrants that RELEASEE will not hereinafter make any copy of the work except as may be allowed by law, and that RELEASEE will not engage, directly or indirectly, in any reproduction or distribution of the above-titled work on the Internet.
    In reliance on the representations and warranties made above by RELEASEE, and in consideration of the settlement amount received by RELEASOR from RELEASEE on the Settlement Date, RELEASOR hereby releases and discharges the RELEASEE, and RELEASEE’s heirs and successors, from and against all claims, causes of actions, lawsuits, damages and demands whatsoever, specifically arising from, relating to, or in connection with RELEASEE’s alleged infringement prior to the Settlement Date of the copyright in the above-titled work on the computer associated with the IP Address and Timestamp listed above. This Liability Release applies to no other claims, causes of action, lawsuits, damages and demands that RELEASOR may have against RELEASEE (e.g., for subsequent infringement of the same work or for any infringement at any time of the copyright in another work), any and/or all of which, if existing, shall survive this Liability Release. Further, this Liability Release applies to no infringements of the copyright in the above-titled work that have occurred on computers or other devices outside of RELEASEE’s household.
    Case Number: XXXXXXXX |
    Case IP: XX.XXX.XX.XXX |
    Settlement Date: Month Date Year
    Release Security Code: XXXXXXXXXX-XXXXXXXXXX-XXXXXXXXX-XXXXXXXXXXX
    CEG TEK International |
    8484 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 515 |
    Beverly Hills, CA 90211
    support@cegtek.com |
    http://www.copyrightsettlements.com
    Toll Free: 877-526-7974

    Hope this helps someone, I may be a sucker, and that’s fine, but if this goes away it’s all the better.

    • DieTrollDie says:

      Everyone if different, but these CEG incidents do not escalate. My view has not changed – ensure the activity stops on your IP address/Internet connection and ignore the idiots.

      DTD 🙂

      • Lookatme says:

        99.9999% of me agrees with you, but it was that .0001% chance that I personally couldn’t take. I thought the readers might want to see what the response was if they actually did pay anything.

      • AnonDoe says:

        Hi DTD,

        I recently found your site after receiving 5-6 DMCA notices from CEG via my ISP. Your comments on CEG provide some stress relief. Of course, I’m really, really concerned about a couple things:

        Would CEG just wait until statute of limitations runs out and sue everyone from the previous three years in a joined Joe Doe suit? I’m assuming a late settlement plan is much more lucrative for them than an early one. What is the current settlement per title? Do you know?

        Would they subpoena my ISP at any point in the next 3 years just to get my name and start harassing me directly?

        If the economy devolves and crashes even more like many credible economists warn will happen due to dollar devaluation, will CEG, being directed by their client LFP, start suing directly for large amounts and/or using the suit as a settlement tactic just as a way to survive? This last scenario is one that really gives pause as the US economy is quickly turning into a surveillance industrial state now focusing inwardly.

        Have you heard of or seen any DMCA notices from CEG turn into suits?

        Thanks for your insights!!!

        -AnonDoe

      • DieTrollDie says:

        1. No. CEG doesn’t have the ISP subscriber names (That is unless the subscriber tells CEG). Even then it is just the ISP subscriber, not necessarily the offender. The ISP subscriber information is fluid and depending on your ISP, it will be gone in 6 months to 18 months. Once the subscribe info is gone, they cannot tie it to a person.
        2. I think the settlement is at $250 per title. It costs $400 to open a real Federal case.
        3. Doubtful – they are in the business of getting low-dollar fast settlement. To spend more time on a real case that cost far more is not in their business plan.
        4. Well, I don’t beleive the economy is that bad, but it is different for everyone. If it does turn that bad, the people CEG are going after will be in the same boat and not able to pay – again this supposes CEG will actually file cases – something I highly doubt.
        5. I haven’t heard of any CEG clients eventually opening up real cases. Go to RFC Express and enter in the Plaintiff/copyright owner into the search field.
        6. My advice still stands – ensure the activity is no longer happening on your network – resecure the Internet connection (new password) – move on with your life.

        DTD 🙂

      • AnonDoe says:

        Thanks for the reply!
        A clarification re: subscriber info – my ISP is a popular US based VPN service and they open their own DMCA case number for tracking. I suspect the info for an actual DMCA notice is retained longer than their privacy policy which states 90 days. They state they do not share info unless served with a court order.

        -AnonDoe

      • DieTrollDie says:

        Yes, most ISPs or VPNs will only disclose such info with a court order or National Security Letter (N/A for you). I would verify how long your VPN keeps the logs.

    • Imlooking says:

      Hey Lookatme—I’m curious, did you personally file through copyrightsettlements.com, or did you go through a lawyer?

  8. Another Doe says:

    I’m really unsure if I want to take the chance of not paying the settlement, even if it isn’t common for CEG to escalate things. Is it unsafe to pay online with credit card or debit card, or should I get a money order and send that in with the case reference number listed?

    After paying with credit/debit, is it possible for the issue to get brought back up by the actual Copyright owner, or is the case 100% dropped?

    • Andrew Tandrew says:

      CEG has stated that they sent out 26 million of those phishing emails last year and that they are on pace for upwards of 50 million this year.

      More than 90% of ISPs recognize this for the scam that it is and don’t even forward CEG’s threats on to their subscriber’s mailboxes. Even where it is forwarded, in most cases the subscriber uses gmail, hotmail, yahoo. etc and that threat is never read.

      Figure out how many million people that is who CEG threatened yet didn’t follow through on. That’s what a threat from CEG is worth.

      Consider this a cheap lesson that P2P software is not anonymous and you probably shouldn’t use it. Don’t pay CEG one dime.

  9. Doe says:

    I already paid my first $300 settlement out of the $3600 we agreed on. I put my electronic signature and all my correct contact info. The original cost was $28000. What do I do pay the full settlement? They have my contact information, also never flat out admitted my “guilt” during a recorded phone call, but I did sound “guilty”. Also they added a huge amount of videos I never downloaded and on top of that I never even shared it with any peers I only downloaded.

    • DieTrollDie says:

      Don’t pay anything more and do not talk to them. They do not sue. They will claim they are going to, but there is no history of them ever doing it.

      DTD 🙂

      • John Dorn says:

        So even though they have my contact information and I already made an agreement with my electronic signature I should just ignore them?

      • DieTrollDie says:

        Yes. It is just like being sold a lemon of a car and changing your mind. Aldo, since they don’t sue, nothing will happen. Save your money and spend it on something of value.

        DTD 🙂

  10. John Dorn says:

    DieTrollDie, my gut is telling me to listen to you, but the few lawyers I’ve talked to never told me to ignore. Only reason I’m worried is because CEG tek has my name.

    • DieTrollDie says:

      They are in a different position than me. Still, they do not sue people. Just makes the BT activity on the network also stops. Otherwise you could face this or worse again.

      DTD 🙂

      • John Dorn says:

        Yeah I already deleted BitTorrent and all my downloads. Funny thing about this whole situation is that I just finished reading Rich Dad Poor Dad and in it Robert Kiyasaki says.. in summary: don’t let people scare you by using fear especially your fear of money or fear of losing money. Also says to make sure you know enough about Accounting, Investing, AND LAW to make sure people don’t try to take bully you. A day after I finish the book I do something stupid by responding to these guys, out of fear.

      • Anonymous Person says:

        I thought I’d let you know a couple things I was told today and see what your take on them is. You might be able to guess who told me this I don’t know:

        1. yes CEG doesn’t sue
        2. depending upon your ISP, they might not give up your full subscriber details, but
        the same might not apply to the IP Geolocation data. The implication was they
        don’t need a subpeona to get and use the geolocation data to start harassing you
        via FedEx or on the phone.
        3. When people don’t settle, Ira hands stuff over to Marvin Cable or others, so there
        is the possibility that you might get sued down the road by someone other than Ira for
        a larger amount than what Ira would have taken. Ira has already been paid by someone at this point, so he’s out of the picture.

        I don’t know what to think here, this is all very stressful.

      • DieTrollDie says:

        1. I will say that the Plaintiff’s works for “Could” sue, BUT as they are working with CEG-TEK, they want fast cash and NO risk to being pulled into a costly legal battle.
        2. The IP geolocation data is only going to give them the city/State of the ISP subscriber. The only way CEG-TEK or others will get thoses details is from the ISP, from the subscriber, or possibly from some database where the IP address was tied back to a person.
        3. Possible, BUT very unlikely IMO.
        My same advice applies. Ignore and make sure the BT activity stops – These guys are a joke, but others are not.

        DTD 🙂

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