Originally published by houstonlawy3r.
There are three possible relationships between a copyright enforcement company and the ISP through whom they send DMCA letters informing subscribers that unless they settle the claims against them for downloads that allegedly occurred, they might be implicated in a copyright infringement lawsuit.
1) A RELATIONSHIP OF FORCE AND THREATS AGAINST THE ISP (where CEG-TEK threatens, and the ISP complies),
2) A RELATIONSHIP OF PROFIT FOR BOTH SIDES (where CEG-TEK pays, and the ISP cooperates), and
3) A RELATIONSHIP OF PURE MOTIVE (both CEG-TEK and the ISP hold hands and cooperate, to “fight piracy”).
SCENARIO 1) “A RELATIONSHIP OF FORCE AND THREATS AGAINST THE ISP” (where CEG-TEK threatens, and the ISP complies)
In the first scenario, a company or set of attorneys representing the copyright holders contacts the ISP and informs them that they might be in violation and subject to various lawsuits, fines, and penalties for not complying with the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and other statutes (in Canada, the ISPs are literally required to pass on claims to their customers, and this is referred to as “notice and notice”). If the ISPs do not comply, they could be sued for millions of dollars for encouraging piracy on their networks (I am speaking in the vernacular).
ISPs across the US would be included in this first scenario, which explains how many of the bigger ones like Comcast [who I understood were clearly NOT working with CEG-TEK] and those supposedly under the “Six Strikes” system started sending out abridged CEG-TEK infringement notices a few months ago. This is also the reason why Charter subscribers often get their internet suspended with a pop-up notice that they need to click on to acknowledge the claim of copyright infringement against them.
In each of these scenarios, the ISP does the absolute minimum to comply with the claims against their customers, but what you don’t see is a wink and a nod from the ISP that they are likely not going to shut you down or lose you as a customer over this (in other words, your activity violates the ISP’s terms of service “TOS” or “PUA”, but I have not been hearing of anyone’s account being shut down).
UNRELATED, BUT STILL VERY IMPORTANT: I have even heard that ISP customer service representatives actively tell their subscribers [in ignorance of the law] to just delete the infringing content and to ignore the notices.
FYI, look up “spoliation” of evidence, where the victories of the copyright holders in the US against downloaders happen where the copyright holder can prove that the accused defendant wiped his hard drive or deleted the infringing content after being notified by the copyright holder that there was a claim of copyright infringement against the subscriber. Thus, take what the ISP customer service representative says with a grain of salt because even though they might not care that the download happened on their network, there is still the law and the claims against you, and your ISP’s customer service rep is not a lawyer, and they are in no position to be giving you legal advice. Better to deal with or resolve the CEG-TEK claim against you first (if you were going to settle) before wiping the hard drive in fear of having other claims of copyright infringement or lawsuits filed against you (e.g., by other copyright holders such as Malibu Media, LLC, etc.) in the near future.
NOTE: Your relationship with your ISP has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO with your relationship with the copyright holder (or CEG-TEK) or the claims against you, since the copyright holder(s) still have one or more claims of copyright infringement against you.
SCENARIO 2) “A RELATIONSHIP OF PROFIT FOR BOTH SIDES” (where CEG-TEK pays, and the ISP cooperates)
In this scenario, the understanding is that CEG-TEK is actively paying the ISP for providing their DMCA infringement notices to their subscribers. While in Canada I did not think this happened, as of this morning, I now believe that Shaw Communications Inc. (a.k.a. Shaw Cablesystems G.P., or “sjrb.ca”) is working with CEG-TEK in a “for profit” relationship. I obviously cannot prove this, but from what I understand is about to happen with their subscribers [who will shortly be receiving multiple letters of infringement sent to them at the same time], this usually happens in a “for profit” relationship where the ISP is being compensated for the time they spend complying with the copyright infringement requests.
A perfect example of displaying the “for profit” motive of the ISPs in the U.S. (in these two cases, forced upon CEG-TEK to their frustration) is seen in the past behavior of both Comcast and AT&T. A few years back, to handle the increasing number of subpoena requests (at the time, as a result of John Steele / Prenda Law Inc. lawsuits and the increasing number of bittorrent lawsuits across the U.S.), Comcast opened up a “subpoena compliance” department in Morristown, NJ and staffed [at the time] twelve new hires just to handle the new subpoena demands from the lawsuits. Then in the lawsuit filings, it came out that Comcast was asking for something like $25-$50 per IP address lookup or subpoena, a service that in the past was free. Similarly, for those who know anything about Ira Siegel, the name that shows up on the bottom of every single CEG-TEK DMCA notice, he absolutely refused to work with AT&T because they would charge $200 per subpoena or IP address lookup, something at the time I heard that he found infuriating. Thus, you’ll notice that even today, you’ll never find a recipient of a CEG-TEK violation notice being a subscriber to AT&T, but as you can see, there is a profit motive of the ISPs to benefit financially from the growing influx of copyright infringement claims against their subscribers.
NOTE: I understand that the relationship between Charter, Centurylink, Suddenlink, Cox, sometimes Comcast, [and most recently in Canada, now Shaw Communications] fall under this scenario. The reason I am of this understanding is because of the advanced information CEG-TEK is able to identify about that subscriber, sometimes including the subscriber’s name (I have my own understanding as to how they get this from the geolocation), the geolocation itself of where the downloads occurred, along with other “past downloads” that allegedly happened weeks or months in the past at that same location, or by that same subscriber (based on a list of old “IP addresses” provided to CEG-TEK so they they can correlate that list against their own bittorrent records).
SCENARIO 3) “A RELATIONSHIP OF PURE MOTIVE” (both CEG-TEK and the ISP hold hands and cooperate, to “fight piracy”)
This is the “kum baya” view of piracy, where CEG-TEK approaches the ISP and tells them that they want to fight piracy. They show statistics of how when other ISPs “joined forces” with them and started sending out the DMCA violation settlement letters, piracy dropped significantly on that ISP’s network.
The ISP then sees this information and also decides to “sign on” with CEG-TEK to help them forward their settlement demand letters to their subscribers with the hopes of diminishing the amount of “piracy” of copyrighted content that occurs on their networks.
NOTE: In this last scenario, you won’t find a profit motive by the ISP, and this is where I believe they get colleges and universities to sign on with them to fight piracy on their networks.
In sum, whatever the relationship or the scenario between CEG-TEK and the ISP, in the end, the subscriber is the one who suffers because it is THEY who receive the “settle or else my client will sue you as a John Doe Defendant in a U.S. federal court lawsuit for copyright infringement.” I have personally been in conversations with CEG-TEK where they were excited that piracy was actually going down on a particular ISP’s network — so apparently they do believe in what they do — but then again, whatever I feel about piracy and how the copyright laws should be changed to match today’s internet generation, in the end, it is the college students, their parents and landlords, the young graduates who are trying to find a job, and those who are lured in by the adult content which is so addicting, widely available, and prevalent on the internet who fall prey to the tactics of the copyright holders, and for this reason, I still believe the copyright holders should focus their efforts on those SELLING FOR PROFIT, PUBLICLY DISPLAYING, POSTING OR INITIALLY SHARING the copyrighted content, and not on those subscribers who have no profit motive, who click on a link to view the copyrighted content.
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Filed under: Copyright Enforcement Group (CEG-TEK), Copyright Trolls, DMCA Scare Letters, Geolocation of IP Addresses, Ira Siegel, Peer-to-peer, Torrent Tagged: CEG-TEK, cegtek, Copyright Enforcement Group, DMCA letter, Ira Siegel, speculative invoicing
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