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The US Copyright Claims Board officially opened its doors less than a month ago and there is already one very suspicious claim on the record. The unknown ‘Copyright Protection’ team have filed a complaint against pirate streaming app HA Sports Studio ‘on behalf of’ Sky. However, Sky informs TorrentFreak that it has absolutely nothing to do with it.
Last month, the US Copyright Claims Board went live. Through this venue hosted by the Copyright Office, copyright owners can attempt to recover alleged damages outside of the federal court system.
Table aims to make it less costly for creators to settle disputes. No attorney is required and filing fees are limited to $100 per claim. Defendants also benefit because potential damages are capped at $30,000. Those who prefer traditional prosecutions may choose to opt out.
The benefits of advice are obvious to many rights holders. Opponents, however, feared that the system could be used by opportunistic rights holders to extract “easy money” from people less knowledgeable about the law.
‘Sky Group’ Suspicious Allegation
So far, a few dozen complaints have been filed with the CCB. There are no signs of systematic abuse, but a rather bizarre copyright infringement claim was filed last week that has set off several alarm bells.
“They are streaming Sky Sports live through their mobile apps on Google Play Store without permission from our customer Sky Group,” the claim reads.
It would be a big deal if a major media company like Sky started using the Copyright Claims Board to address a piracy issue. Hacking claims may be true, but in this case the claim itself is rather fishy.
When we go to the website of the supposed anti-piracy group, we are greeted by a stock design template where various placeholder text is still intact. There is also no contact address or information listed on the site.
Heaven is not involved
It seems strange that a company such as Sky would use an unknown and seemingly amateurish representative to file a complaint with the Copyright Claims Board. We contacted Sky directly who informed us that it had nothing to do with this claim.
“This complaint has not been made on behalf of Sky. We have no association with Copyrights Protection, they are not authorized to act on our behalf and we will be contacting them to seek the withdrawal of the complaint”, informed us a Sky spokesperson.
Sky’s response shows that someone is impersonating Sky at the Copyright Claims Board. This is relatively easy because rights holders and their representatives are not required to verify their identity before submitting a claim.
The Copyright Office Responds
Asked about this unusual case by the US Copyright Office, he informed us that he does not comment on current cases or the internal work of the Commission. However, he points out that all cases are subject to a “compliance review” where such inconsistencies can be revealed.
“The compliance review is the process by which CCB staff attorneys review a claim to determine whether it meets legal and regulatory requirements under the CASE Act and Agency regulations,” a doorman said. -word of the US Copyright Office.
There is no formal identity verification process, to our knowledge, but the Board may request additional information if necessary.
“While the CCB does not generally conduct factual investigations, its review will naturally identify claims that have material inconsistencies and areas where the claimant may need to clarify certain issues, including their right to file a claim for right copyright on behalf of another party.”
Who and why?
It is still unclear who is behind this bogus claim and why it was submitted. We have sent an email to the “Copyright Protection” contact address provided to the CCB, asking for clarification, but at the time of writing we have not yet received a response.
Meanwhile, the “Copyright Protection” website is no longer accessiblewhich makes it even more likely that we are dealing with someone who submitted a complaint in bad faith.
We can only speculate at this point, but it’s possible the sender was hoping for damages, unbeknownst to Sky. Another, perhaps more likely, option is for a competing pirate streaming app to try to take out the competition.