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Is this a scam? Is it the best course of action to pay the settlement fee, or should I just ignore the email?

Sioux Falls, SD |

I was recently forwarded an email by my internet service provider that was written by CEG-TEK which stated that my IP address was linked to copyright infrigement. The ISP did not reveal any personal information to the accusing party; however, the message states that I need to pay a settlement fee for an illegally obtained video by a certain date, or risked being in a lawsuit. I did not visit CED-TEK's website as I was worried that they would obtain more information about me.

Attorney Answers 5

  1. There are a lot of these going around, and most are not scams. If you downloaded a video/audio file, and you did not pay for it, then you likely infringed someone's copyright. You may receive a demand letter, if you have not already done so. If this is related to pornography, then you can bet that there will be a scare tactic in there, such as "pay or you will be exposed." Most times, the amount they are asking for in settlement is not outrageous. I suggest seeking counsel of an intellectual property attorney for some more advice on this matter.

    The answer to this question is for informational purposes only and does not form an attorney-client relationship.

  2. I agree with my colleague. You need to seek the counsel of an IP attorney.

  3. I deal with a lot of these. I'm sorry you got one of these letters.

    The accusations appear to be based on evidence they collect publicly on the internet. The jury is still out on whether these accusations are followed up at the court level. But copyright claims are not something to be ignored.

    Whether you would ever consider paying a settlement fee will depend a lot upon your specific factual circumstances. For example, someone who has downloaded the material might consider the settlement as a cheap(er) way to prevent any future action on the claim.

    Not every court nor case has agreed with these kinds of accusations and lawsuits. You'll want to consult with an attorney that is licensed in your Federal District Court, the District of South Dakota.


  4. CEG-TEK has taken others to court.

    I just dealt with CEG-TEK for another client. I was able to reach a reasonable settlement far below what they asked in their letter to the client so my client made the decision to pay them.

    I do not know if they would have followed through with their threat of a law suit with the other client. They had a laundry list of offenses for them, so they would have had a case worth persuing. If you only have one item, I doubt it would be to their advantage to take you to court because the case would cost more than they received.

    You may want to discuss your situation with a lawyer in more detail. Most lawyers on Avvo, including myself, offer a free phone consultation.
    Andrew M. Jaffe
    Attorney at Law
    Practice Limited to E-Commerce and Internet Law

    This post is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice specific to you. This general information is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney in your jurisdiction. The attorney client relationship is not established by this post.

  5. I would recommend not responding to the email yourself but rather seek counsel. How CEG-TEK got your email address and their accusation must have some legal basis. There have been many instances of people attaining personal information through illegitimate means in order to pursue questionable causes of action.

    Check out this case for an example:

    Contact a lawyer immediately.