RightsCorp – Plans Of ISP Control & Subpoenas For Subscriber Information

Sometimes people are a bit shocked that Copyright Trolls change tactics.  As most people do not like change or unfamiliar situations, I understand this feeling.  Well brothers and sisters, the fact of the matter is the BitTorent Copyright Trolling business model is not going away very easily.  This business was designed to make lots of money for a small group of people and the profits are just too damn addictive for them.  As any good business requires flexibility to survive, the Trolls are likely to try new things.  This is especially true when the status quo isn’t working as well as you like. Rightscorp_money1For this particular article, I’m talking about RightsCorp.  Please note that RightsCorp is more of a BT Copyright Monetization Troll, than a traditional BT Copyright Troll.  They sign up copyright holders and monitor BT for infringing content of these clients.  Identified US public IP addresses are then sent a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) formatted email via their ISP, informing them of the observed infringing activity and asking them to pay a fine to prevent any possible legal action against them.  Note: Some ISPs do not forward these settlement emails to their customers, as they obviously see this as a “legal” scam (my opinion).  BTW – if any rights holder or RightsCorp doesn’t agree with me or a specific point, please tell me and I will address it. There are two things from RightsCorp that I want to discuss –

  1. Their plans to force the various ISPs to “Play Ball.”  
  2. Subpoenas for ISP subscriber information IAW Title 17, § 512 – Limitations on Liability Relating to Material Online.  

RightsCorp Plan

Here is a copy of a RightsCorp investor Presentation to the Anti-Piracy and Content Protection Summit.   Investor_Presentation_at_The_Anti-Piracy_&_Content_Protection_Summit   In this presentation, RightsCorp indicates they are going to try to hold the ISPs responsible for the activities of their subscribers.  As the  “Safe Harbor” provision of the DMCA basically prevents the ISPs from being sued because of ISP subscriber activities, RightsCorp has to show that an ISP is not upholding its requirements to maintain the Safe Harbor status.  RightsCorp knows the ISPs are not going to risk becoming liable and will likely take some type of actions to stop or at least slow copyright infringement from the subscribers. So what is required by the ISPs to maintain their Safe Harbor status?  RightsCorp tells the potential investors that IAW Title 17, § 512 an ISP is only protected if it –

(A) has adopted and reasonably implemented, and informs subscribers and account holders of the service provider’s system or network of, a policy that provides for the termination in appropriate circumstances of subscribers and account holders of the service provider’s system or network who are repeat infringers; and (B) accommodates and does not interfere with standard technical measures.

Fair enough – that requirement is valid.  But what else does this subsection have to say??? Title17_512i Now many people will say I’m biased and maybe even Pro-Piracy (I’m not), but reading this seems to indicate to me that the technical measures employed by RightsCorp (and others) to identify and protect copyrighted works have additional requirements.

(A) have been developed pursuant to a broad consensus of copyright owners and service providers in an open, fair, voluntary, multi-industry standards process;

I see problems here – in NO way was the BT technical monitoring system developed in a broad consensus of copyright owners and ISPs.  Nor was the BT monitoring system developed “in an open, fair, voluntary, multi-industry standards process;”  The BT monitoring systems we know of are all proprietary systems in which the owners consider the inner workings to be a “trade-secret.”  We know nothing of the system RightsCorp uses and I’m willing to put forth an idea – that quite possibly RightsCorp have contracted/agreement with some well-established German BT monitoring firm to provide them with the information.  Please correct me if I’m wrong here.  We already know that Excipio GmbH sells its service to a Shelf-Company by the name of the Crystal Bay Corporation (CBC) in relation to previously filed Copyright Infringement cases.  Find out more interesting information on CBC from Fightcopyrighttrolls.com.

What ISP Actions?

These actions could entail forwarding the DMCA-like settlement demands to subscribers, slowing down or killing an Internet connection, or even possibly requiring the subscriber to settle with RightsCorp prior to reconnection.  Now if the ISPs decide not to “play Ball,” RightsCorp has three options.

  1. Seek damages for Copyright Infringement due to Non-Safe Harbor compliance.
  2. Seek a court injunction IAW section (j) of Title 17, § 512.
  3. Drop the issue with the ISP.

Subpoenas For ISP Subscriber Information IAW Title 17, § 512 – Limitations on Liability Relating to Material Online

Most of you know that I’m constantly telling to people that RightsCorp does NOT file Copyright Infringement law suits (AKA: sue people).  I even have a screenshot from their Web site where they state this.  Then imagine my surprise when I obtained a RightsCorp document telling an ISP subscriber that they obtained the person’s name/address via a subpoena.   RightsCorp_Subp_Notice   Also attached to the letter is multiple pages showing a large number of files belonging to a RightsCorp client that were infringed upon via the public IP address in question. I did some searches for RightsCorp on RFC Express and the results are spotty at best.  The following documents are from case 2:14-mc-00276-UA, Central District of CA, with the nature of the suit being “890 Other Statutory Actions.”   Docket_5Aug14_MC_00276(CA)   Decl_Subp_17USA_512_MC_00276(CA)-   Subpeona_Telescape_MC_00276(CA)-   Summary_and_DMCAs_MC_00276(CA)-   If you examine the docket, you will see that it is a civil misc. case (Not a Copyright Infringement case) and it was opened and closed on the same date.  The case was only opened so as to allow the court to issue a subpoena (IAW Title 17, § 512) that RightsCorp (via attorney Dennis Hawk, Business Law Group) could forward to the ISP.  NOTE: The above letter is NOT from this case – I picked the RightsCorp case at random.  Also note that the docket indicates NO demand for a jury. Now depending on the particular ISP, a subscriber may or may not be notified of the subpoena.  Please note that the subpoena in this example case does not have a provision to allow the ISP subscriber to challenge it – the case is CLOSED. Based on limited access to the various RightsCorp cases, I don’t see this being a standard procedure for them.  RightsCorp makes it money by using automatic emails to generate settlement quickly and cheaply.  Obtaining a subpoena requires the action of an attorney (and some filing fee I assume) and will likely only be used on IP addresses they see as serial infringers in which they have sent multiple DMCA-like settlement letters to and have yet to get a response. Now if you call RightsCorp, you will likely be told that you need to pay a large settlement to make this go away or they may take you to court.  They do have the option to file a Federal Copyright Infringement case in the PROPER jurisdiction, but that is not what they want (my opinion). Settlement generation is “King” here.

What To Do?

My standard non-lawyer advice still applies.

  1. Make sure the infringing BT activity stops on your public IP address – regardless of who is responsible.
  2. Resecure the WiFi Internet connection with a new password (and don’t give it out).
  3. Contact your ISP and advise them you have taken steps to address this issue and prevent any future activity.
  4. Don’t pay the settlement and use this as a learning experience.

As I said, I know of NO current Federal Copyright Infringement cases filed by RightsCorp or any of it clients.  Saying that, they are actively trying to increase settlements and you need to keep this in mind.

DieTrollDie 🙂  “…Nobody calls me Lebowski.  You got the wrong guy.  I’m the Dude, man.”  {The Big Lebowski}

Previous article on RightsCorp/CEG-TEK

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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10 Responses to RightsCorp – Plans Of ISP Control & Subpoenas For Subscriber Information

  1. Reblogged this on TorrentLawyer™ – Exposing Copyright Trolls and Their Lawsuits and commented:
    This is probably one of the most important articles I’ve read in a while. Until now, I’ve been ignoring the RightsCorp problem because they were previously harmless (akin to a well-funded sinking ship). Their recent steps are concerning, and they signal a change that we’ll need to deal with, whether at the grassroots level (calling up ISPs, finding and fighting the subpoenas, speaking to judges and legislators) or simply confronting the power-hungry entities head-on.

    • [To the DTD readers: sorry for commenting on my own comment — that was written for my own site.] The problem in the past was that their settlement asking price was so low, and the risks of settling were too high because their settlements had people admitting guilt which as we all know is a VERY DANGEROUS thing to do.

  2. Quiet Lurcker says:

    What about a letter to the rights-holder telling them to essentially bug off because they’ve violated any or all of several federal and state laws, as Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, federal or state wiretap laws, state law covering private investigators? And then – and this is the key point – follow up with formal complaint to appropriate state and federal authorities? Basically sending a really strong hint that this particular alleged infringer is going to fight back, and fight back hard.

  3. Pingback: Rightscorp: extortion and fraud are siblings | Fight Copyright Trolls

  4. SJD says:

    In the meantime their stock (RIHT) continues to plummet: today’s close was the all-time low of $0.3561 per share. It is much more difficult to bluff the market than to bluff not-legal-savvy population.

  5. that anonymous coward says:

    And I feel I was correct in my assessment.
    They have no money, they are trying to appear like they are making a big splash to lure in a buyout offer.
    On paper they can make themselves sound amazing… in practice I do not think they are as successful as they want everyone to think. This is why they are focusing on fighting the image of at least 1 major ISP telling them we won’t forward your settlement demand for you.

    I think this is about trying to cash out before the crash.

  6. SJD says:

    Note that Crystal Bay Corporation’s owners paid their fees, so formally CBC is again in a “good standing.” I hope any defendant who fights back considers going after CBC financial statements: would be really interesting to see who paid for this shelf.

  7. the sir says:

    so I got an email from my ISP notifying me that someone claimed copyrights had been infringed. I looked at the info, its porn and someone used bittorrent to do it. I ran an an unsecured network for charitable reasons (openwireless.org). I contacted the company via email used 2 sentences to explain the same, said I will be closing my network.

    I got a reply but it was obviously a template of sorts saying that often its a spouse, child, employee, or unsecured network and that I may be liable. I could go to their website to see implement basic security measures, and as an afterthought it mentions I should seek representation.

    They have my name and email and it corresponds to the case number. Any idea what my actual culpability is here, and whether I’m going to be sued, and whether they would need more info from my ISP to get any rhetorical balls rolling?

  8. Pingback: Bad Things Happen When Lawyers Stop Representing Clients, and Start Representing Causes – John Blaha Ordered to Pay Rightscorp Attorney’s Fees | Philly Law Blog

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