Faced with the growing threat of online file-sharing, Hustler committed to “turning piracy into profit” several years ago.
The company has not been very active on this front in the United States, but more so in Europe. In Finland for example Hustler is sending out settlement demands for hundreds of euros to alleged pirates.
A few days ago one of these letters arrived at the doorstep of Sebastian Mäki, identifying the IP-address through which he offers a Tor exit-node. According to Hustler the IP-address had allegedly transferred a copy of Hustler’s “This Ain’t Game Of Thrones XXX.”
The letter is sent by lawfirm Hedman Partners who urge Mäki to pay 600 euros ($800) in damages or face worse.
However, Mäki has no intention to pay up. Besides running a Tor exit-node and an open wireless network through the connection, he also happens to be Vice-President of a local Pirate Party branch. As such, he has a decent knowledge of how to counter these threats.
“All we can do at the moment is fight against these trolls, and they are preying on easy victims, who have no time nor energy to fight and often are afraid of the embarrassment that could follow, because apparently porn is still a taboo somewhere,” Mäki tells TorrentFreak.
So instead of paying up, the Tor exit-node operator launched a counter attack. He wrote a lengthy reply to Hustler’s lawyers accusing them of blackmail.
“According to Finnish law, wrongfully forcing someone to dispose of their financial interests is known as blackmail. Threatening to make known one’s porn watching habits unless someone coughs up money sounds to me like activities for which you can get a sentence.”
Mäki explains that an IP-address is not necessarily a person and that Hustler’s copyright trolling is likely to affect innocent Internet users. Because of this, he has decided to report these dubious practices to the police.
“I am also concerned that other innocent citizens might not have as much time, energy, or wealth to fight back. Because your actions have the potential to cause so much damage to innocent bystanders, I find it morally questionable and made a police report.”
Whether the police will follow up on the complaint remains to be seen, but Hustler will have to take its hustling elsewhere for now. They clearly targeted the wrong person here, in more ways than one.