The second largest torrent site in the world, YTS is allegedly sharing the personal information of its users with law firms as a part of a legal arrangement. The law firms, in turn, are sending emails to the users threatening them to pay up to dissolve the legal cases against them.
As reported by Torrent Freak, in January, YTS was sued by attorney Kerry Culpepper who is reportedly representing the movie owners behind popular titles including Hellboy and Rambo: Last Blood. YTS owner. To cooperate with authorities, YTS owner Senthal Vijay Segaran has started sharing IP addresses and emails of its users.
A copy of a threatening email sent by the law firm to a YTS user has been obtained by Torrent Freak. The email contains three pieces of information – the email address and IP address of the user and the date on which he/she downloaded the torrent file containing the infringing content.
In the beginning, the email states that the law firm has obtained the personally identifiable users of the users from YTS operators by filing a copyright infringement lawsuit in Hawaii on behalf of its clients. The email has been drafted in a manner that it looks like a ‘courtesy’ before legal action is taken against the users in question.
The email reads: “[user] logged into the website YTS using the email address [redacted] from the IP address [redacted] and illegally downloaded a torrent file for copying our clients’ motion picture…”
What makes this email interesting is the fact that downloading a torrent file isn’t illegal as it contains no copyright content and it does not imply that a user has loaded the torrent file in a torrent client to download the actual content. Legally, the email should also have contained the IP address of the torrent swarm used to download the content but this isn’t the case as the email doesn’t mention any such detail.
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Since the email is a form of “settlement” and “courtesy”, it demands the user to pay close to $1,000 if he/she wants to release his name from all legal claims including exempting the user from becoming a named defendant in case a lawsuit is filed.
In another related incident, the same law firm is now targeting 1337x, another popular torrent website. It is clear that authorities are tightening their noose on torrent downloaders and those seeking the help of torrent sites to download copyrighted content.