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Titan Media Accused of Shmuck Baiting P2P Users; Claim Innocence

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from – Over the past year, more film production companies have begun monitoring peer-to-peer file-sharing services for illegal copies of their movies and filing lawsuits against the users identified to be connected with the offending IP address.

Plaintiffs and their attorneys see this as a way to stop piracy of their products and recoup profits that they believe were lost because their work was infringed upon. Critics, however, believe that these mass P2P lawsuits have deep flaws, including problems with due process and jurisdiction, and some judges have gone so far as to call them a “fishing expedition.”

But one thing that is undeniable in these cases is that the studios and attorneys involved stand to make a lot of money if recipients of their demand letters choose to pay up for their alleged crime rather than fight the claims in court, and now evidence has begun to emerge that one porn purveyor may be baiting P2P users into downloading their files so they can go after them for the settlements.

This week, TorrentFreak has exposed two cases brought against file-sharers by Titan Media, which bills themselves as “a multimedia production company producing all-male erotica of the highest caliber,” in which they believe a bait and switch technique may have been used on the alleged defendants.

The first is a case filed in 2010 where one of fifty defendants in the mass litigation wrote to the judge after receiving a settlement letter demanding $1875 for illegally downloading a Titan Media film that she claims she believed was a classical music record entitled “Album – Ryuichi Sakamoto – The Best Of Ryuichi Sakamoto.rar” from eDonkey (eD2K) P2P network. The settlement letter even reflected the title the woman is claiming. Recently, she has received a motion filed against her for $150,000 because she has not paid the fees requested by Titan Media, and is requesting the mercy of the judge.

The second is a case filed just last month, in which one of the defendants thought that they were downloading a Dire Straits concert from eD2K when, in fact, they too were getting a taste of Titan’s all-male erotica.

The suspicious part of all this is explained by TorrentFreak:

“The big question is of course, how did the plaintiffs know that the mislabeled files were actually disguised versions of their works? The logical explanation would be that they found the original copyrighted work, and discovered the relabeled files when they did a search for the hash. However, TorrentFreak found that in the case of the supposed Ryuichi Sakamoto file, all alternative copies of the allegedly infringed movie we could find had a different hash.”

When confronted by TorrentFreak, Titan Media attorney Gill Sperlein [pictured] denied any wrongdoing on the part of his client.

“This is not a scheme to make money. My clients are hurt immensely by copyright infringement and they are not going to make it worse by actually distributing their works on these networks,” Sperlein said. “If someone made my clients’ works available but did so unintentionally it is up to them to set forth facts that prove that claim. This would not affect liability but may affect damages.”

If there is any shred of truth to what TorrentFreak has speculated, it is no doubt a despicable act. That does not mean, of course, that the file-sharers in question are innocent. In both cases, the defendants have downloaded what would have likely been copyrighted works if they had turned out to be the files actually reflected in the names. If, however, the intended download was not a Titan Media production, then the company should have no claim to a settlement.


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