Porn studios accused of shafting enthusiasts

People illegally downloading porn (gosh) are allegedly being shaken down by porn studios looking for a quick buck.

These People Comedy/YouTube Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

People have needs.

There are those who attempt to make money out of satisfying those needs. And there are those who attempt to make money out of offering to hide people's embarrassment at having those needs in the first place.

Currently, certain porn producers -- normally rather nice people -- are being accused of the latter ruse.

Allegations are being laid that these porn producers are involved in shaking down alleged illegal downloaders, who may not be illegal downloaders at all.

According to Wired, the scheme is blessedly direct. Porn producers locate the IP addresses of those they believe have downloaded moans and groans illegally.

They then go to court, demanding to know the names of these miscreants. Judges, who would never themselves be implicated in such heinous activity as watching porn, force ISPs to hand over the requested information. Then the porn producers offer to settle with the downloaders.

After all, who would want to be exposed as a viewer of porn? And the porn producers allegedly ask only for somewhere between $1,000 and $5,000. These are reasonable people.

It remains to be seen how reasonable. For a class-action suit in Kentucky, naming companies such as Raw Films and Malibu Media (among others), has been filed. It accuses the companies of extortion in a practice colloquially referred to as copyright trolling.

The suit offers:

The tactics of the pornography purveyors clearly indicate that they are not convinced that the individuals they accuse of downloading pornography from the Internet have actually done so. This is true because they often shake the individuals down for $1,000 to $5,000. The pornography purveyors know that this amount of money is less than the cost of defense would be if a suit were filed.

It is hard to imagine that upstanding purveyors of pornography would stoop to such grindingly painful tactics.

It so happens, however, that Malibu Media was involved in another Bit Torrent case only last week -- one in which the judge seemed rather concerned.

As Fight Copyright Trolls.com reports it, Judge Otis D. Wright of the California's Central District offered:

The Court will not idly watch what is essentially an extortion scheme, for a case that plaintiff has no intention of bringing to trial. By requiring Malibu to file separate lawsuits for each of the Doe Defendants, Malibu will have to expend additional resources to obtain a nuisance-value settlement -- making this type of litigation less profitable. If Malibu desires to vindicate its copyright rights, it must do it the old-fashioned way and earn it.

Naturally, some will perceive these alleged practices as a troubling business model. Yet, if the allegations are true, surely the porn producers must have known that they would come up against somebody who just wouldn't take it anymore. They must have known that, at some point, such actions might be exposed.

One can only hope that, as with all fine porn movies, these legal actions enjoy a happy ending.

 

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