The term 'pirate hunter' probably conjures up pictures of Pirates of the Carribean, but it also happens to be the job description for employees of proMedia, a German company that takes care of the music industry's dirty work on a contract basis. If you happen to be a student, you might even be able to get a job with them.
SpiegelOnline got some insider info on proMedia via an employee known as 'Peter.' Peter says that proMedia employs a total of 35 students to search forums, blogs and cyberlockers for copyright violations. Then comes the fun stuff: they track down the file-sharers and extract exorbitant cash settlements. “If someone gets caught,” Peter says, “it's his own fault.”
proMedia has an exclusive contract with BVMI (the Bundesverband Musikindustrie, or Federal Association of Music Industry), a member of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which in turn includes labels like Sony, EMI, Universal and Warner. For each file-sharer that gets caught, Universal and Warner come out with around €1,200, or about $1,500. Sony, big softies that they are, let violators get off on €950, or around the cost of 95 CDs, give or take. The BVMI closed (which, TorrentFreak points out, includes settlements and 'the ones that got away') 13,562 cases in 2008.
Peter, a musician himself, wishes that file-sharers would see things from the perspective of people like himself. “As a musician myself, I feel degraded by them.” He says that even his own friends copy and distribute recordings of his band, and says that the Pirate Party and their agenda would deprive musicians of income.
And what about Peter? Yeah, he's been known to indulge in a little piracy himself, too. “Anyone who claims to have never downloaded something is lying.”
Source: Spiegel Online