Anti-Piracy Group Calls in Debt Agency To Collect ‘Fines’

DigiProtect, the anti-piracy company that makes money from threatening alleged file-sharers with court unless they pay up a 'fine', has a worrying new tactic. Hoping to scare letter recipients even more than they already do, the company is now sending more threats via a debt collection agency.

As it increases and deepens its profitable business model in the name of anti-piracy enforcement, the German company Digiprotect keeps cropping up in the news connected to all sorts of dubious activities.

As first reported here on TorrentFreak, Digiprotect is the company working with lawyers ACS:Law in the UK to prepare tens of thousands of letters to go out to Internet users they say have been sharing pornographic movies.

Each of these letters sent in the UK will carry a cash demand – a very profitable one at that – which mirrors the ones it sends to menace Internet users in Germany.

Now, according to Christian Solmecke, a lawyer with Wilde & Beuger law firm who works to defend alleged file-sharers in the country, Digiprotect appears to be stooping to new lows.

Solmecke says that his company has come into possession of a letter being sent out by debt collection agency Media Inkasso to a file-sharer who thus far appears to have refused to cave in to previous demands to “pay up or else”.

In it is a claim on behalf of Digiprotect for 650 euros plus around 11 euros in interest, plus what it refers to as “collection costs” of 127 euros.

The body of the letter informs the letter recipient that “..since you have not responded to earlier demands for payment by the rightsholder [Digiprotect]” the debt agency is now instructed to collect damages in respect of a previous allegation of copyright infringement – most likely the alleged sharing of a pornographic movie.

“If by the listed date no money has been deposited in our account, our client will commence court proceedings against you at considerable cost to you,” it adds.

So it appears that based on just an allegation of copyright infringement along with a demand to pay 650 euros, the letter recipient has not responded, so therefore it is now being considered by Digiprotect as a debt to be enforced by debt collectors.

Let’s hope that the recipient refuses to be cowed and stands up to this scheme, which is difficult to describe in any terms other than extortion.

This news is the latest in a long line of controversies hitting Digitprotect’s business. A couple of weeks ago we reported on the leaked documents that were handed to news outlet Gulli.

After analysis, a German lawyer now believes that the way the project was handled between Digiprotect and its lawyers could actually be illegal, meaning that thousands of individuals may have received fraudulent demands for payment.

The debt collection letter can be viewed here.

The government in the UK is now sitting up and listening on this issue and at long last there appears to be moves to deal with the similar scheme in operation there. In the meantime, readers in the UK are reminded that if they receive demands from ACS:Law on behalf of Digiprotect, they should visit BeingThreatened.com for advice.

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