Collection Agency for Movie Studios is going to get into trouble

I just read an interesting article on CNET about a Debt Collection Firm called Copyright Enforcement Group (“CEG”) that is pursuing people who violate the copyrights of movie studios. The author notes that people are bothered that CEG is seeking money damages from people before they go to court and a judgment is issued. I think he might be missing the real issue.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act applies to all debts incurred by a consumer for “personal, family or household use.” Hence, using a video from a file sharing service would fall within the ambit of the FDCPA. Many of these debt collectors are not training in the FDCPA and they are going to get into trouble. For example, under he FDCPA, the debtor has a right to demand validation of the debt. The debt collector then has to provide validation that the debt is owed and to whom the debt is owed. One large problem with collecting this sort of an obligation, is that there is no debt established yet. Violating one’s copyright is actionable, without a debt. However, until a court actually reduces a studio’s claim to a dollar figure, the debt collector cannot validate a debt because there is no number to attach to that debt.
Many people are aware of how movie studios became very aggressive in pursuing their copyrights against Joe Citizen and even teenagers who swapped songs in the Napster era. Its only a matter of time before this CEG agency pursues someone who becomes aware of their rights under the FDCPA and strikes back at it with a class action. I am certain that CEG and its clients will find that lawsuit quite sobering.

Attorney Gary Nitzkin is a professional debt collector with Nitzkin and Associates, Debt Collection Attorneys.  If you have any questions about debt collection and avoiding pitfalls under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, call or email Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (888) 293-2882 or at

This entry was posted on Monday, October 25th, 2010 and is filed under Collection Agencies breaking the law . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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