porn-collection-letterThousands of people are getting a startling letter at their homes this month: We know you’ve been watching copyrighted porn online, and you owe us $775.

A German company called DigiProtect is sending out the notices, the BBC reports. The company claims it tracked down individual IP addresses of users scoring adult action from filesharing networks like BitTorrent and Gnutella. The fees being demanded — which some people say are as high as £550, or US$772.80, to be exact — supposedly constitute an “out-of-court settlement.”

The problem? Plenty of the people contacted say they never saw the skin flicks. Lawyers quoted by the BBC question whether the whole thing is even legit, noting that most people who receive the letters — regardless of whether they downloaded the videos or not — won’t want to deal with the embarrassment of showing up for a court hearing about porn. They might, therefore, just send in the cash without too much questioning.

DigiProtect, for what it’s worth, operates under the motto “Turn Piracy Into Profit.” It claims an American porn studio is behind this whole thing, but that same studio told the BBC it should have been collecting $50 per settlement — not $772.80. The legitimacy of its cause aside, the reliability of DigiProtect’s IP-collecting methods is also a point of contention, as it’d be entirely possible for a third-party user to surf the Net on someone else’s wireless access.

In any event, it seems like these folks are onto something here. So consider this your notice: We know you’ve been watching copyrighted porn online, and you owe us $775. Yes, you. Please send all payments to JR’s Porn Protection Collection Agency, c/o TechCult. Oh, and include a copy of the porn you were watching, too — preferably burned to DVD. You know, for official evidence purposes. Nothing more.

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