MediaForce Rides Into Town. Again.
New York-based MediaForce, the little company that wants to be BIG, chose online bounty hunting as the way to get there.
Using an app called MediaDecoy, it trawls the Net looking for downloads and snared Warner Bros as its major (only?) client.
In 2002, it said MediaDecoy was a "service" that's "tightly integrated" with MediaSentry and which among other things, overwhelms "trading communities" with "non-working versions of your copyrighted material".
This year, it's a, "Fully outsourced solution offers piracy protection on most popular file trading locations on the Internet. Non-DRM (digital rights management) solution works with all file formats including MP3, and most peer-to-peer networks. Extensive weekly and monthly reports detail effectiveness of decoy efforts."
The software shows the p2p app and sharers' IP addies, owners are Whois-ed and MediaForce then sics their ISPs onto them.
Last Fall, for example, MediaForce - with Mark Weaver as its 'Director of Enforcement' (billed as executive veep on the company's web page) - hit on a Canadian Grokster-ite, and then a US KaZaA / FastTrack user.
Mark's side-kicks are Aaron R. Fessler, CEO, and Gary Millin, President, and the three of them are still hard at it, sniping individual users and turning them in to ISPs.
Sonya in the UK said, "I received a letter this morning from my ISP on behalf of MediaForce slapping my hands bigtime for sharing one of my files and was basically told cease or suffer the consequences. My ISP was very good and basically explained that I had been picked up sharing, not downloading, so stop 'sharing'."
Sonya's a housewife with two young children and she went on:
"Both myself and my husband Chris are into computers and we have shared our files for what must be a couple of years. I didn't think I was doing anything wrong due to the fact that millions of other people are doing the same. And I am not churning out copies to sell. I had them for personal use only. Obviously I don't get out much and I'm not loaded so this is basically my social life (the computer). I dont want to stop sharing because p2p is based on everyone sharing and there are enough people out there who don't share already."
So what caught MediaForce's eye? Ghost Ship.
Sonya added: "I found out later it wasn't even released over here at the cinema. It just sounded good!!!! That is probably why they tracked me. Pretty funny, a Brit having a movie not even released yet. but it shows they are still monitoring."
Nor is Sonya alone.
Back in the US of A, another KaZaA / FastTrack got this:
"AT&T Broadband has been made aware that you have violated the AT&T Broadband Service Agreement and/or Acceptable Usage Policy. These policies can be found at http://www.attbroadband.com/security. Failure to comply with these policies may result in a permanent termination of your service. The account holder is solely responsible for any and all activities performed from the AT&T Broadband service. Please read the following information carefully to ensure that you understand the violation, our policies, and what you need to do to respond to this warning.
"Type of violation: Distribution of Copyrighted Material."
For a bit of background see, Industry starts cracking down on p2p downloaders.