Copyright lobby groups that hope to push pirates and organisations that it feels benefit unfairly from piracy, to pay up, ostensibly do so because they care about the artists they represent. In practice though, that ideal rarely plays out. Take Rightscorp for example, which recently published its quarterly financial reports, only to reveal that despite paying over $100,000 to clients, it spent more than 15 times that on legal expenses.
Unlike the music labels and copyright giants of the past though, which took people to court for their file sharing, Rightscorp has always used the bullying tactic of scaring people into paying up. It sends threatening letters to potential pirates – incriminated by an IP address only – demanding payments of a few dollars to compensate for their illegal downloading.
Clearly some people pay up, as Rightscorp did bring in some $233,816 from file sharers in the three month period ending on 30th June. However that’s 24 per cent less than it earned during Q1 of this year (via TorrentFreak) and a fraction of its legal expenses. Throughout the same period, Rightscorp spent $1.95 million, leaving it $1.72 million in the hole.
It also only dolled out $117,000 (£75,000) to the artists and clients it represents.
Rightscorp is currently being sued for the way it attempts to harass alleged file sharers and if it continues to burn money at this rate, its operating loss for the year will be over $5 million, making it hard to fathom how it could continue to operate beyond the next few months. It is however trying to turn things around by being more aggressive with its letters and charging up to $30 per infraction.
This isn’t the first time Rightscorp has made a loss. Early last year its finances were a mess too, with it spending more than three times than it recovered, on legal expenses. That trend seems to have worsened immensely since.
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KitGuru Says: Rightscorp is not the kind of company that any artists should support. At best, it’s linking an artist with aggressive legal action, which is no way to build favour with an audience – even if it is a pirating one – and at worse, it harasses genuine, innocent people or potential fans.