updated 06:30 pm EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Enforcement group wants to install 'piracy wheel clamp' through ISPs in the future
It appears that the piracy enforcement group Rightscorp has been looking into a new strategy when it comes to repeat infringers of its clients' intellectual property. In an earnings conference call last week, the company revealed a different direction that it was considering for the future, one that includes working with Internet service providers (ISP) to block Internet browsing until a payment is made to the group.
The current model Rightscorp follows is generally demanding a $20 payment per song through a notice to offenders. The group demands that ISPs deliver the notices to the parties it believes are categorized as "repeat offenders" based on the traffic it monitors and identified IP addresses. Rightscorp boasts a number of clients, including two of the biggest names in music, BMG and Warner Music. The group looks to curb court cases, instead racking up small payments to its members.
TorrentFreak was able to see a transcript of the organization's conference call on August 13, shedding some light on the company's pursuit of illegal downloads. During the first six months of operation in 2014, the company has pulled in revenue of $440,000, but claims operating expenses of $1.8 million. It's clear that the company's current revenue model from the letters isn't bringing in enough to make it a profitable. However, that doesn't mean that Rightscorp is giving up.
Instead, Rightscorp is looking to come up with a different model to achieve the maximum effect. Instead of depending on notices, the group wants to work in a closer capacity with ISPs, forcing them to block web browsing through a redirect page until the targeted user pays the fee. All Internet access at a service address would then be ground to a halt, resulting in a situation that is more of a "piracy wheel clamp" than a "piracy speeding ticket," as pointed out by Rightscorp COO and CTO Robert Steele.
"[What] we really want to do is move away from termination and move to what's called a hard redirect, like, when you go into a hotel and you have to put your room number in order to get past the browser and get on to browsing the web," Steele said during the call.
Steele went on to say that very few people that Rightscorp goes after pay only $20. Since the $20 fee is being assessed per song, downloading an entire album can inflate the price. Cases are being closed, in some instances up to $500 every day. While Rightscorp has settled 75,000 cases so far, it won't disclose how many notices have been ignored. When an investor asked for a figure, Steele considered it a trade secret.
For now, Rightscorp is focusing on getting some of the bigger ISPs to work with them on forwarding all of the messages or to "get all of them compliant." The intent is to build a relationship from there, then creating the new piracy gatekeeper system. AT&T, Cable Vision, Comcast and an unnamed ISP are on the company's radar. Currently, it works with more than 140 ISPs, some of which are terminating user services.