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Summary:

Many users of the pornographic streaming-video service Redtube have received letters asking them to pay hundreds of euros per viewed clip. The illegality of viewing streams of copyright-infringing material is questionable, as are the methods used to identify the users.

Redtube

Tens of thousands of German internet users have been sent threatening letters by a law firm apparently acting on behalf of a rights-holder, on the basis that they watched copyrighted material on the pornographic video-streaming site Redtube.

The letters, issued by law firm U + C on behalf of Swiss firm The Archive AG, demand €250 ($344) per watched clip. The films in question include titles such as “Hot Stories” and “Amanda’s Secrets.”

According to Stern, some lawyers suggest the court order that permitted these letters should not have been issued on the grounds that, while there is plenty of precedent for targeting those who unlawfully download copyright material, the law around viewing streams is far less well-defined. The situation is further complicated by the fact that it’s not clear to Redtube users whether content streamed over the service was legally uploaded or not.

As for how the viewers’ IP addresses were identified, that also remains a mystery for now. The itGuards “Gladii” software mentioned in court records is reportedly only designed for monitoring file-sharing networks. File-sharing is easier to monitor in this sense, as IP addresses are there for the harvesting unless the user deploys a VPN or proxy.

Some have suggested that users were targeted with malware that harvested their IP addresses. If so, this would be a new low for a particularly obnoxious facet of the copyright industry.

It’s already deeply objectionable behavior to send out thousands of threatening letters in the (usually correct) expectation that none of the recipients will take the costlier route of challenging the letters in court, rather than just paying up to make it all go away. Porn rights-holders have been at the vanguard of this trend, as targets’ embarrassment has made them even more likely to pay.

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  1. Funny enough I couldn’t even find any porn movie, that goes by the title “Amada’s Secret”

    I found one without “‘s” by the name “Amanada Secret” which is supposed to display a shemale, but first of all I doubt the fact that 20.000 Germans tried to watch a shemale porn, secondly the court who gave the restraining order specifically wrote:
    amanda’S secret.

    So why are they sending copyright letters to so many German internet users if there is not even the possibility to purchase such a movie in any form, yet even see it!

    Seriously who remembers porn titles? I doubt this video exists.

    Please all of those abroad who can’t be sued by the law firm, please find out if am right or prove me wrong with a link.

  2. hmm, I thought there was a typo in the title…I had assumed since it was in Germany, it should have read ‘Steaming Porn’…just saying

  3. In fact it is not only Germans but quite a number of U.S. service people stationed on German ground being threatened by U&C. Are there Americans on their way to Urmann for a personal talk yet? Now shyster Urmann & Collegen are trying to push things on Redtube as the air is getting thinner for them. I hope for Redtube to strike back firing with all legal cannons, then Urmann will be history.

  4. This is never going to work as an IP address does not identify the person behind the PC and as the article states, the user has every right to know if the content they are viewing is copyrighted If it is then REDTUBE are liable.But wait…. read this.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20131212/14232225551/redtube-smacks-down-german-copyright-troll-attempting-to-blackmail-its-viewers.shtml

  5. Essentially, it things work a bit different in Germany and so yes this thing is real. They have been doing it for quite a while with torrents and music sharing as well. ISP’s hand over info very quickly for example, plus the whole premise of understanding how this is happening cannot be placed into the context of us law as you will not understand it and it would take far to long of a post to explain. In short, this law firm is well known for doing such things and this is half pr for potential new clients and half testing the waters to see if they go deeper into it. They will make ground with this slowly and then go after the next website. Also in Germany, you are legally required to secure your network so that only you can use it. Failing to do so is a crime in itself. So whether or not it was even you that did it is not even a point, they honestly don’t care and just want their money. This is one of many reasons why almost all Germans have legal insurance and liability insurance to cover such silly costs when they come their way.

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