A group of adult movie companies is suing Verizon for failing to hand over the personal details of alleged BitTorrent pirates.
The provider systematically refuses to comply with court-ordered subpoenas and the copyright holders see these actions as more than just an attempt to protect its customers.
According to the them, Verizon’s objections are in bad faith as the Internet provider is profiting from BitTorrent infringements at the expense of lower-tier ISPs.
TorrentFreak.com says the ongoing avalanche of mass-BitTorrent lawsuits reveal that IP-addresses can get people into a heap of trouble.
To shield their customers from this kind of outcome Verizon now objects to subpoenas granted by courts in these cases. Not in one case, but in dozens. One of the arguments cited by Verizon’s attorneys is that the requests breach the privacy rights of its customers.
“[The subpoena] seeks information that is protected from disclosure by third parties’ rights of privacy and protections guaranteed by the first amendment,” their counsel informed the copyright holders.
Verizon further cites arguments that have previously been successful in similar cases, including the notion that mass lawsuits are not proper as the defendants did not act in concert.
Three of the copyright holders, all makers of adult films, have had enough of Verizon’s refusals and have filed a lawsuit against the company at a federal court in Texas. Malibu Media, Patrick Collins and Third Degree Films ask the court to hold Verizon in contempt and compel Verizon to respond to the subpoenas.
“Verizon objects to the subpoenas on various grounds, all of which lack merit. Accordingly, Plaintiffs respectfully request that the Court overrule each of Verizon’s objections, compel immediate compliance with Plaintiffs’ subpoenas and hold Verizon in contempt for failing to obey the subpoenas,” they write.
Aside from countering Verizon’s arguments directly, the copyright holders claim that Verizon’s refusal to hand over customer details is in bad faith, as the ISP profits from the alleged copyright infringements.
The movie companies back up this claim by pointing to a study published last year, which concluded that large ISPs profit from BitTorrent at the expense of smaller ones.
“Verizon’s current Objections can only be seen as being asserted in bad faith, and with the expectation to continue to profit from BitTorrent infringement at the expense of other, lower-tier ISPs and the consuming public at large. There is seemingly no incentive for ISPs such as Verizon to aggressively identify infringers on their network,” they tell the court.
“Add to this the fact that Verizon and its cohorts enjoy virtual immunity from liability under the development of laws such as the DMCA, and this scenario presents multiple concerns of fairness and accountability.”
While it’s a novel argument, the movie studios omit to mention that Verizon is also one of the partners in the upcoming “six-strikes” scheme, which aims to decrease copyright infringements through BitTorrent.