The Washington State Attorney General’s Office (AGO) has recovered $20,000 from Rudy O. Corella, Jr., owner of Ultra Mega Corp to resolve allegations that Ultra Mega Corp engaged in a number of deceptive business practices in violation of the Washington state Consumer Protection Act.
Ultra Mega Corp, LLC (UMB) otherwise known as www.ultramegabit.com
is a California corporation doing business via the Internet. UMB is a “file locker” — a website that stores files online and provides the opportunity for the files to be downloaded.
Unless a consumer purchases a membership, downloads are limited. Consumers may purchase memberships for $9.50 per month or $52 for six months.
The AGO alleges UMB failed to adequately disclose that member subscription plans automatically renew without the member’s approval. Additional deceptive business practices include:
• Failure to disclose that some content may be copyrighted and therefore illegal to download; and
• Implicitly leading members to believe they are accessing content legally on UMB by charging for access to that content.
“Ultra Mega Corp’s business model was confusing to consumers who are familiar with companies like Netflix or other companies that charge consumers a monthly fee to legally watch TV shows and movies,” said Assistant Attorney General Jake Bernstein, the lead on this case.
“The AGO investigation revealed that the most popular files stored on UMB are copyrighted works, such as TV shows and movies, that members can not legally download,” Bernstein said. “UMB members were unknowingly downloading copyrighted content illegally, opening themselves up to potential lawsuits by content owners, as occurred with Napster and the music industry.”
UMB does not provide any content on its own; rather, UMB pays affiliates to upload files that become available for UMB’s members to download. UMB actively solicits for and pays its affiliates up to $35 for every 1000 downloads that the affiliates’ files achieve.
The $20,000 recovered from Corella will go toward the AGO’S costs and fees.
Separately, Corella will email Washington state consumers who bought a premium membership between January 1, 2012 and November 20, 2013 and offer them a refund if they were charged for an automatically renewed membership that they did not want and did not make use of.
Consumers who bought memberships to this service, who do not hear from Corella, should file a complaint
with the AGO.
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