Threats to initiate legal action on the basis of petty copyright infringement offenses are one of the scourges of the modern Internet. To date as many as a couple of million households worldwide have been targeted by this potentially lucrative racket.
The latest scandal to hit Internet users involves users of streaming video site RedTube. Traditionally those simply viewing content on YouTube-like sites have been considered immune to rightsholder threats, but early December thousands of RedTube users received letters demanding 250 euros to make lawsuits go away.
The controversial episode is turning into somewhat of a scandal, not least concerning the mystery of how the lawfirm involved, U & C acting on behalf of a Swiss company called The Archive AG, obtained users’ IP address. RedTube insists it has handed no information to third parties.
With U & C warning that its first wave of 10,000+ letters is just the beginning, RedTube has been fighting back and now has good news for its customers. The adult video site has obtained a temporary injunction against The Archive AG from the Regional Court of Hamburg, meaning that no more letters demanding payment may be sent out.
“This decision is a victory not only for the users of Redtube, but for every person who visits streaming websites,” says Alex Taylor, vice president of RedTube. “It is a clear message that the use of personal information and invasions of privacy for purely financial interests will not be tolerated.”
The injunction is the second major blow for The Archive AG in less than a week. A few days ago the Cologne Regional Court issued a statement which acknowledged that it probably should not have ordered the release of Internet users’ personal details. A full decision is expected during the coming days.