My ISP sent me a notice that a copyright infringment was linked to my ISP address and I needed to contact "Coyright Settlements" to prevent being sued. They say that upon settleing I will instantly receive a full and unconditional release of liability. Is this a scam?
I might be a scam; it might not be a scam. There are several issues here and I think it is probably worth finding a Texas-licensed attorney here on Avvo to help you out.
First, there is the issue of whether you are liable for copyright infringement. If this is something you want to dispute, you will want an attorney standing next to you while you dispute it.
Second, the "full and unconditional release" should be reviewed by an attorney before you sign it and before you send anything to "Copyright Settlements." Assuming infringement did occur, you need to make sure that the release is indeed a full release and that you are getting a release from the proper party. (For example, say "Copyright Settlements" gives you a release for something that I have copyrighted, that release from Copyright Settlements" would be worthless unless they were acting on my behalf.)
In these circumstances, you would benefit greatly from the assistance of an IP litigation attorney. Depending on whether you want to fight the claim of infringement, it shouldn't take too much time and it will definitely be worth the cost.
I hope that helps!
My thoughts and comments are for general information only. The do not constitute legal advice and they should not relied upon as such. My thoughts and comments do not form an attorney-client relationship--I am not your attorney. Please seek the advice of a licensed attorney before taking any acts based upon my thoughts and comments or the comments of others.
I think this is a high pressure tactic to rush you to pay up, but it is not for sure a scam. POnly you know if you illegally downloaded something, and please do not tell us.
Scam or not is only one of many issues in deciding whether to settle. There is a lot of change going on with tis type of suit, and I have been researching it the past couple weeks.
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Licensed in Maryland with offices in Maryland and Oregon. Information here is general, does not create a lawyer-client relationship, and is not a substitute for consulting with an experienced attorney on the specifics of your situation.
It is a legitimate outfit, a contingent fee law firm, and one very well known to us. We call them "copyright trolls". You apparently did not Google them properly or you would know who they really are and what their "game" is. Too bad you didn't know about them before you illegally downloaded copyrighted material as then you might have thought better about it and done that.
Since even a crook (you are the bad guy here, not CEG) deserves representation, I would suggest you look up the lawyer Oscar Michelen on this website and get the help you need in defending this. I do these defenses, but am too busy to mess with them right now.
Here is some fodder for you on the subject. http://copyright-infringement-notice.com/
So far, this is free to you. Until you pay a fee, I am not your lawyer and you are not my client, so you take any free advice at your sole risk. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.
If this is the group that I think, usually they want $200 to settle. It is a good price to put it behind you. The only real issue is that you may be hit with another several letters as they go through multiple "works" that you have downloaded.
The alternative is to not pay them, and hope you don't get sued. If you do get sued, holler at one of us that defends against such things.
I'm not your attorney; my answer to your question includes assumptions. If you want me to be your attorney, I'm easy to find.
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