Evidence is stacking up that Prenda Law has been operating a honeypot in order to lure Internet users into downloading copyrighted material. A subpoena just returned by Comcast confirms that a Pirate Bay user called “Sharkmp4″ is directly linked to the infamous anti-piracy law firm. The case is controversial in many ways, not least because The Pirate Bay actively helped to expose the copyright troll in question.
Starting last year U.S. courts have been bombarded with lawsuits against tens of thousands of file-sharers. Among the copyright holders claiming damages are a few well-known names, but the vast majority of the cases concern more obscure content. As time passes by more and more copyright trolls join in, and in some cases copyright holders are now suing people for files that were deliberately mislabeled, lulling unsuspecting individuals in.
Rights holders often take extreme measures to combat piracy, but that a Government institution creates a ‘pirate’ honeypot is quite exceptional. In Portugal, a collaboration between a Ministry of Culture affiliated organization and the local music industry has resulted in a protocol that calls for such a honeypot, in order to shame, scare and threaten those who download music without authorization.