Warner Bros Is Still Fining People for Illegally Downloading Friends Episodes

Psst. You. Hey, you.

You, uh, ever torrent an episode? Like, you know: went to the Pirate Bay, dropped anchor, and downloaded an episode of Friends? I mean, maybe you don’t have a Netflix account (or the password to a friend’s Netflix account) so you decided that it’d be easier to download “The One With Phoebe’s Husband.” You ever do that? Just once?

You have?

WE GOT ‘EM, WARNER BROS! SIC THE DOGS NOW! GET ‘EM!

Friends thief

Sorry to be a narc, everybody, but Warner Bros is demanding settlement money from internet users who downloaded or shared episodes of Friends. If your ISP address was used for that purpose, Warner Bros. will be sending you an automated letter (you can read a copy of the letter here) demanding a whopping $20 in exchange for making the whole “five years in prison and $250,000 in fines” thing go away.

Huh. I guess we should have taken those anti-piracy commercials more seriously.

At first glance, a twenty dollar settlement to get Warner Bros off your back doesn’t seem too bad. Then you start to wonder how many twenty dollar bills a company the size of Warner Bros has to collect to make it worth the time and effort to collect? What are you doing with your money, Warner Bros, that you have beg/threaten people for $20 a pop for downloading a 20-year-old episode of Friends on a whim and probably not even watching it all the way through?

1

Have you discovered the true price for a spacious Manhattan apartment?

If the studio hadn’t vouched for the authenticity of the letters, I would think the whole thing was a scam. Vaguely threatening legal action? Having users send money to a third party website? Seems pretty shady to me. However, these letters are very much real and so is Rightscorp, the company collecting the cash. Still, Rightscorp is pretty suspicious–some ISP providers are reluctant to work with them because the company is currently being sued for “harassment” and “unfair debt collection practices” during their copyright cash shakedown. The company seems to be one step away from hiring Joe Pesci to do their dirty work for them.

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“Tell me what’s so funny….about Friends. I always hated canned laughter.”

No one told us life was going to be this way: copyright laws are a joke and any defense against Rightscorp’s practically DOA. Meanwhile, the harassment court cases are still being resolved, and all we can do is hope the courts will vote in favor of the good, honest American people who just wanted to watch an episode without paying for it.

Until then, do the right thing and steal a friend’s Netflix password…until Netflix starts cracking down on that. (Sorry, Tennessee!)

Susan Velazquez

Susan is a recent college grad and writer who enjoys all things from the 1980s, snarking on dumb television, and reveling in celebrity gossip. Oh, and she has serious interests like reading historical fiction, getting involved in social issues, and consuming French fries.

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  • What about if you just streamed it? No download involved? I’m asking for a friend.