Copyright, Entertainment Law, Intellectual Property, Movies, Technology

Fake Filesharing Lawsuits? Dang, That’s Devious

After the feds took down Megaupload in January, the major change to many people’s lives is that it is now much harder to stream bootleg versions of the new season of Archer. What also happened is authorities took control of content hosted on the site and a lot of people who posted files there are worried getting busted as well.

Well, one man’s crisis is another man’s golden opportunity.

Keep reading to see how a new batch of criminals is trying to cash in on folks already worried about Megaupload-related copyright liability. It’s actually quite a clever plot…

TorrentFreak tells the story of a fake law firm that is sending fake settlement letters to people who put files on the now defunct site.

Criminals are attempting to extort Internet users by claiming there could be financial implications for those who used file-sharing site Megaupload for infringing activities. For the past several days a fake law firm claiming to act on behalf of entertainment companies such as Universal, Sony, EMI and Paramount has been claiming cash settlements from innocent victims.

Schemes which require alleged copyright infringers to pay cash settlements to make lawsuits disappear are nothing new.…

Over the past couple of days a pair of cast-iron scams have been targeting file-sharers, one mimicking the model used by so-called ‘pay-up-or-else’ lawfirms and another with a more technical approach.

The first targets users of the now-defunct cyberlocker service Megaupload. Playing on the fears of people who may have used the site for infringing purposes, the documents supporting the scam claim to be from legitimate-sounding German lawfirm “Dr. Kroner & Kollegen” of Munich.

We have covered these types of letters before. They engender a unique terror in those who receive them. And a whole cottage industry has grown up around it. In many cases, copyright owners are quite successful in securing damages. In others, the attorneys fall more along the lines of copyright trolls, for whom judges have less patience.

This scam is just plain dirty, but it’s not without several tells. First off, these scammers say you can make the whole thing go away for only €147. Baha! As if the entertainment industry would ever be that benevolent.

TorrentFreak gives more details that any self-respecting file-sharer should watch out for:

[N]o specific copyright works are named and the claim is missing the usual ‘cease and desist’ element common to these schemes. Furthermore, according to a OnlineKosten, any cash payments made would end up at an address in Slovakia.

Regardless of the actual liability of people who contributed to Megaupload (and what the government decides to do about it) it’s unfortunate that this junk is now added to the mix as well.

That said, there is one other great way to tell the difference between the government and a scam. Scammers ask you for something; the government demands it.

Criminals Target Megaupload Users With Fake Settlement Demands [TorrentFreak]

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