Copyright extortion startup wants to hijack your browser until you pay

Rightscorp, the extortion-based startup whose business-model is blackmailing Internet users over unproven accusations of infringement, made record revenues last quarter, thanks to cowardly ISPs who agreed to lock 75,000 users out of the Web until they sent Rightscorp $20-$500 in protection money.

Now the company plans to expand the program to all the major ISPs in America (thanks to cable company fuckery, this is a very short list). They have deals to threaten people on behalf of BMG, "plus artists belonging to the Royalty Network such as Beyonce, Calvin Harris and Kanye West." They demand $20 per alleged (and unproven) offense, and say that they're "closing cases everyday for $300, $400, $500."

What is clear is that Rightscorp is determined to go after “Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Cable Vision and one more” in order to “get all of them compliant” (i.e forwarding settlement demands). The company predicts that more details on the strategy will develop in the fall, but comments from COO & CTO Robert Steele hint on how that might be achieved.

“So we start in the beginning of the ISP relationship by demanding the forwarding of notices and the terminations,” Steele told investors.

“But where we want to end up with our scalable copyright system is where it’s not about termination, it’s about compelling the user to make the payment so that they can get back to browsing the web.”

Steele says the trick lies in the ability of ISPs to bring a complete halt to their subscribers’ Internet browsing activities.

“So every ISP has this ability to put up a redirect page. So that’s the goal,” he explained.

“[What] we really want to do is move away from termination and move to what’s called a hard redirect, like, when you go into a hotel and you have to put your room number in order to get past the browser and get on to browsing the web.”

Anti-Piracy Outfit Wants to Hijack Browsers Until Fine Paid [Andy/Torrentfreak]

(Image: Ransom note left at site of Lindbergh baby kidnapping, public domains)

Notable Replies

  1. Is Robert Steele related to John Steele of Prenda Law?

    The whole story feels like a déjà vu.

  2. This just sounds like they're begging for lawsuits, class action and the regular kind. Can you prove actual damages if your internet gets turned off?

    Also, if this happened, why would you not stop paying the bill? Seems to me the ISPs have nothing to gain.

  3. I'm thinking that cash is better paid to a VPN service.

  4. That's what I do. Got a 'letter' from ButtCast and signed up for a VPN the next day. Any time I do anything on the Web, the VPN goes on, all traffic routes through it and all ConCast sees is an encrypted tunnel of data.

  5. Yea, I know what monopoly is. My point is, the ISP is a business, and they're out to make money. Turning off your internet makes them less money. I don't think the trolls are willing (or able) to compensate Big Data for loss of subscribers and loss of face. I could be wrong.

Continue the discussion bbs.boingboing.net

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