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FTC forces P2P website to pay back subscribers

$24.95 for a license to, er, do nothing

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A US website operator who advertised that subscribing to his site would mean file-sharers could sidestep copyright laws has settled deception charges brought against him by the Federal Trade Commision (FTC).

Under the terms of the settlement, Los Angeles man Cashier Myricks must pay back 611 would-be file sharers the more than $15k the FTC said he duped them into forking out.

On his mp3downloadcity.com site, Myricks claimed that for $24.95 his tutorial, which demonstrated how to install and use freely available P2P software, would make file-sharing "100 per cent legal".

The FTC filed a suit against Myricks in September 2005 alleging these claims deceived users into thinking that his referral or tutorial conferred a license to share copyrighted files. The settlement brings the legal action to a conclusion.

As well as refunding his customers, Myricks must inform them: "Using P2P programs to download copyrighted music, movies, games, or other material without a license from the copyright holder can subject you to lawsuits, fines, and even criminal prosecution."

He is also specifically barred from making future misrepresentations about the legality of any computer product, and any misrepresentations regarding any goods or services in advertising. ®

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