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Redtube users hit with copyright ransom demands

Redtube, one of the internet’s most popular websites, acts as a Youtube like video sharing site for pornography, but despite its tantalising content, many users may be unwilling to revisit now that they’ve been hit by demands for compensation from a German legal firm representing a Swiss company called The Archive AG.

This isn’t a small number either, with over 10,000 letters said to have been sent out. The Archive charges these individuals with watching its copyright protected material on Red Tube without paying for it. To compensate, the company wants a total of 250 euros, only 15 of which is for compensation, whilst over 150 is for legal fees alongside almost 100 extra for damages and other costs. Some users have also been hit with multiple demands.

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This could have worrying repercussions if people start paying or even worse, if someone refused and was taken to court and lost, it could potentially be cited as an example of users being legally responsible for the content they watch on streaming sites. If that happened, get ready for studios to start going after people that watch copyright protected content on sites like Youtube too.

However there’s more at stake here, as TorrentFreak points out, the question must be asked: how did The Archive get details on Red Tube users? The site itself denies having any involvement with the company or its legal representatives and points people in the direction of its privacy policy when asked. It could be hiding a court demand, but other theories have been suggested, such as malware or IP address grabbing adverts.

While how that happened remains to be figured out, there is at least some consolation for those targeted by the letters, since legally it seems they’ve done nothing wrong. Streaming content doesn’t create an unlicensed copy (unless you could a couple of seconds of buffering) and the content found on Redtube isn’t obviously illegal. So you’re probably ok ignoring the letters from The Archive or refusing to comply with its wishes.

Probably.

KitGuru Says: This will be worth keeping an eye on, as if The Archive is able to get something out of this, there could be far reaching repercussions for a lot of video based websites, especially those that have user uploads which opens up whole new avenues for potential copyright infringement claims.

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