PaidContent was the first to discover the company was being used by content owners to monitor file-sharing sites for infringement. After discovering the infringement, the corporation sends of an email stating he recipient is liable for up to $150,000 worth of fines, but they can pay up to $10 per infringement to receive legal release.
So, it works kind of like a collections agency -- instead of suing you, they offer you a settlement agreement to forget the infringement. Currently, the company is only working with music companies, but claims it could be used to monitor all content.
Here's the problem, it might not be entirely legal. Similar to the Righthaven suits filed and debunked earlier this year, these out-of-court settlements have received a lot of scrutiny. While there are overhanging legal threats throughout, the company has yet to take any case to court.
The legal questions revolve around whether this small, private company has the legal standing to enforce the copyright of its clients. Even if they are, due-process has yet to be worked out in these cases.
If you're caught infringing on copyright, you'll get an email that looks a bit like spam:
If you get one of these letters, it's a simple two or three clicks to pay the settlement and move on and the infringement will disappear. The company claims one of its clients saw a decrease from 20,000 to 4,000 infringement after the settlements were sent out, indicating people stopped seeding the files on BitTorrent. They would not, however, release the names of any of its clients.