If you still have the time and inclination to steal music–jeezus, are people still doing that?–the anti-pirate people are still looking for you. In fact, you might get a message from Rightscorp, a company that works on behalf of copyright owners, including those who own the rights to music, movies and TV shows.
Rightscorp tracks IP addresses of users who torrent specific titles. Once those users are identified, it sends a nasty letter to the users’ ISP, threatening to sue for big, big dollars. “But if you settle now, for this low, low price, we’ll let you go.”
If that sounds like old-fashioned extortion, it kinda is, isn’t it?
Fortunately, this tactic hasn’t been working for Rightscorp and the company is apparently well below its financial targets. Time for a new strategy: lock users’ browsers until they pay up.
If that sounds like new-fangled ransomware, it pretty much is, isn’t it?
“In the Scalable Copyright system, subscribers receive each [settlement] notice directly in their browser,” the company reports.
“Single notices can be read and bypassed similar to the way a software license agreement works [but] once the internet account receives a certain number of notices over a certain time period, the screen cannot be bypassed until the settlement payment is received.”
The idea of locking browsers in response to infringement allegations is nothing new. Users of some ISPs in the United States already receive these warnings if too many complaints are made against their account. However, to date no company has asked for money to have these locks removed and the idea of ‘wheel clamping’ a browser is hardly an attractive one, especially based on the allegations of a third-party organization.
Still, Rightscorp seems confident that it can persuade ISPs to come along for the ride.