A media site accused of bombarding users with pop-ups demanding money has settled its case the with US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The FTC had accused Movieland.com and its subsidiary websites, Popcorn.net and Moviepass.tv, of using deceptive download and billing practices to harass users into paying as much as $99 in order to stop the pop-up ads.
The sites had instituted a policy in which a user enters into an agreement on launching a movie or game file. The sites installed software on the user's system which operated for a three-day 'demo period'.
If users did not manually cancel the demo after three days, they were enrolled in an annual billing service for the software which then launched series of pop-up windows demanding payment.
The FTC charged that the software installation process was unclear and deceptive, often installing without the user's knowledge. The pop-ups were also alleged to be unnecessarily intrusive and difficult to remove.
Under the terms of the settlement, Movieland will pay $501,367.95 in consumer redress. The site also agreed to provide users with a way to remove the billing software and stop the pop-ups.
Users who have not accessed Movieland content in the past 60 days will be removed from the recurring billing programme.
The FTC warned that Movieland will be forced to pay an additional $500,000 if it violates any terms of the settlement.
Many of the conditions have been in place since January, when Movieland entered into a temporary agreement in order to avoid a preliminary hearing. The case was set to go to court in January 2008.
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