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FTC Clamps Down on P2P Scam Site
October 19, 2005
Thomas Mennecke
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Outrageous claims always accompany P2P scam sites. The outrageousness of these sites are only eclipsed by the vast following they receive. P2P scam sites take on all types of incarnations. Some sell already free P2P software at a substantial price, while others offer "in the know" information that can "avoid costly lawsuits."

Virtually all of these sites have one thing in common: largely unfounded claims. Many of these websites who repackage software will rename the product to something a bit more catchy, such as "Kazaa Gold", "WinMX Plus", or "Ares Extreme." These sites will then charge well over $20.00 for the software, and often this price must be renewed.

Other forms of P2P scam sites simply copy an existing BitTorrent or eDonkey2000 indexing database on a similar domain. SuprNova.com for example, offered virtually an identical database to SuprNova.org (and even looked identical) yet charged over $40.00 to download torrent files.

In addition there are P2P scam sites that offer little more than information for a hefty price. This is the case for MusicDownloadCity.com.

MusicDownloadCity.com does not offer any torrent files, eDonkey2000 links, or repackaged P2P software. What it does provide is information on how to configure P2P/file-sharing software and avoid the legal arm of the RIAA or MPAA.

Like most other P2P scam sites, MusicDownloadCity.com makes incredibly outrageous claims that dupe trusting individuals. Many will spend $24.95 to purchase their services. According to the FTC, MusicDownloadCity.com made the following claims:

  • AND BEST OF ALL PEOPLE ARE NOT GETTING SUED FOR USING OUR SOFTWARE. YES! IT IS 100% LEGAL;
  • Why Are We The #1 Free MP3 Music Download Site?
  • Download and Watch DVDs and Movies Still in Theaters; and
  • Rest assured that File-Sharing is 100% legal.

Of course MusicDownloadCity.com does not offer any software. Yet the promise of not being sued for using "our software" enticed a sizable amount of individuals to purchase this "information." The FTC filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, who today ruled this site was indeed being deceptive in its advertising.

The FTC charged that MusicDownloadCity.com's claims are patently untrue. Any P2P user runs the risk of a lawsuit, especially by using a client such as Kazaa (which according to the FTC, this site provided information on.) Participating in MusicDownloadCity.com does not mitigate these chances.

The ruling issued today is temporary, however an extension hearing is scheduled for October 21, 2005.

"The FTC will seek a permanent bar on the deceptive claims, redress for consumers, and a requirement that the defendant notify consumers who signed up for membership that the programs he promotes to share copyrighted files may subject them to civil or criminal liability."

“The FTC charged that the defendant violated the FTC Act by falsely claiming that membership in its service made P2P file sharing legal. The FTC has asked the court to order a permanent halt to the deceptive claims, order the defendant to pay consumer redress or to give up his ill-gotten gains, and notify customers that they could face civil and criminal liability.”

MusicDownloadCity.com has removed the promise of litigation-free file-sharing, yet additional outrageous claims still exist.

"250% Faster Than Any Other Download Site!"

An interesting claim since MusicDownloadCity.com doesn't offer any P2P software. Unless of course, their web server is 250% faster than Download.com.


This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Legal/Courtroom :: Court Rulings/Decisions
File-Sharing/P2P Related :: Software

You can read the FTC's press release here

You can discuss this article here - 26 replies

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