For years, the issue of pirated music has plagued the record industry, which has aggressively pursued users who illegally download and share copyrighted songs via the internet. Now the industry might have another tactic to deploy, thanks to a company called Digital Rights Corp.
On its website, Digital Rights says it can identify and contact individuals who have infringed on copyrights held by "recording artists, music publishers, music labels and motion picture studios."
Hundreds of thousands of individuals have potentially received email notices from Digital Rights, Paid Content reported. These emails typically identify specific instances of alleged copyright infringement that recipients have committed and direct them to pay $10 to settle with the copyright holder, according to the source.
Robert Steele, the company's COO, told Paid Content that Digital Rights is currently working with music companies, though he declined to name clients.
The legality of the Digital Rights system will likely be challenged in court, Paid Content surmised, either because the company will be sued after emailing individuals who have not committed copyright infringement or because it enlists internet service providers to send settlement offers to subscribers, which could violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
In a high-profile copyright infringement case brought by the Recording Industry of Association of America, a federal court recently reinstated a $675,000 fine against a Boston University Ph.D. student found guilty of sharing 30 copyrighted music files online.