Ever hear of Chris Saybeck? Probably not, but if you’ve ever pirated music, you might be making his acquaintance shortly.
Saybeck is the CEO of a US company called Rightscorp. Their mission is to help artists and copyright holders get money for their intellectual property–and that includes going after people who pirate music. This is from Vice’s Motherboard:
Copyright shakedowns are already popular in America, and involve figuring out who is torrenting, sharing, downloading and seeding copyright material, and then sending them copyright notices. The letters inform the user of how they broke copyright, and offer to settle the case for a set fee—Rightscorp is on the cheaper side, at $20 per infringement.
The notices inform the infringer if they choose to ignore or fight the order, they’ll be heading to court, an option that could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, plus legal fees.
Supporters of companies like Rightscorp call it a necessary recourse for defending intellectual property in a country like Canada, where doing so can be remarkably difficult. It’s essentially like requesting an out-of-court settlement before any court proceedings have even begun. In other words, opponents say Rightscorp is a copyright troll.
Expect to hear more about this. The good news is that fines for music piracy are capped at $5,000 in Canada–but hey, that’s still a lot of money. Read more here.