Pornhub uploaders caught out by exposed IP Address

Just last week, a number of users of popular porn site Pornhub have reported that they’ve received settlement demands reaching thousands of dollars. Most users report that these demands have been made after uploading videos to the site without explicit permission.

Copyright settlement demands are hardly breaking news in this day and age of the internet. Every day you can find a new article discussing copyright troll campaigns, but this time is a little different. In most cases, copyright settlement demands are given out when a user is caught downloading content illegally – for instance using torrents to pirate content.

In that case, the IP address of the perpetrator can be extracted from file-sharing swarms with relative ease. This IP is then used to unmask the sharers’ true identity, which allows them to be served with settlement demands.

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Pornhub uploaders have been left red-faced.

None public IP Addresses exposed

What makes this case interesting is the mystery behind how uploaders are being tracked. Pornhub users’ details, like IP addresses and emails, aren’t public on the site, so it would certainly be interesting to know how the trolls are managing to track down true identities of sharers. What’s even more unusual is that alleged distributors were contacted directly through email and not via an ISP, which is quite unusual in cases like these.

In a recent comment, Pornhub claimed that they do not store any personal information on their users (including IP addresses) and that they would not hand over any such data without a court order. And although Pornhub claims that no court order has been received by them, many uploaders are still claiming to have received settlement demands.

While many such letters have been requesting sums reaching thousands of dollars, it’s not necessarily a reason for worry. The company (TMC) that is sending out these demands is not likely to follow up and chase uploaders that don’t want to settle – except for in very extreme and rare cases.

In this particular case, users were likely aware that they were infringing on copyright in one way or another. But in many similar ‘settlement demand’ situations the uploaders are completely unaware of the copyright status of the material that they are uploading. Unfortunately ignorance of the law is not a sufficient enough excuse to get you out of trouble should you get mixed up in a copyright dispute.

A VPN to protect from IP leakage

For that reason, it’s always best to ensure your online safety – even if you’re not planning on breaking any laws. The most simple way to avoid settlement demands for copyright violations is by using a VPN when uploading or downloading content. In some cases, it might not be clear whether or not downloading something or other is violating any copyright claims, and implementing VPNs in your online practice is very simple.

There are many affordable (and even free) options out there for you to choose from. Regardless of your personal preferences, there is a VPN service provider out there that will meet all of your online privacy needs. If you don’t feel like searching, it might be worthwhile to check out IPVanish or VyprVPN.

Both providers offer great service with many useful features – best of all they’re cross platform so you can ensure your privacy even on the go. If you don’t feel like these two fit your browsing needs then make sure to look around further. Online privacy is something you don’t fully appreciate until you no longer have it.

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of hyena reality at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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