ISPs Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner, and Cox are fighting to protect user privacy after being requested to release the identities of just over 1000 users in a piracy lawsuit. Among many concerns, the ISPs claim that some they are asking for are innocent, and it would be unjust for them to have to pay for anything.
Piracy has been a touchy subject for a long time now, and it has only escalated since the introduction of BitTorrent. There have been many lawsuits on individuals who have been found downloading music or movies, and it’s here that the issue of privacy has become prominent.
The companies who are initiating the lawsuits require the identities of the users before they begin charging them, and they usually try to acquire them from the ISPs. Well, now ISPs Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner, and Cox are fighting for user privacy by appealing a district court decision that is asking that they reveal just over 1000 identities.
The ISPs are arguing that the users whose identity they are requesting may not even be the people who downloaded whatever copyright material is in question, and they argue this for a good reason considering there have been cases of falsely accused people in the past on this very subject. The ISPs are saying that this decision has “great potential for coercive and unjust ‘settlements’.”
This case was initiated by an adult movie company AF Holdings, and they’ve actually been rejected many times for bundling in way too many people into one lawsuit, but last year district court Judge Beryl Howell went ahead and granted them the right to obtain the identities of the users. The ISPs are arguing that this decision will further enable copyright trolls to continue to make money at minimal costs. Through this action, Plaintiff hopes to create a ‘safe haven’ in the District of Columbia for pursuing the largest amount of subscribers’ information, at the lowest cost.
They also go on to explain why some of the users aren’t even the correct people they are looking for. “Due to unsecured and shared Internet connections in Internet subscribers’ homes, the contact information that Plaintiff seeks is not necessarily a reliable indicator of the true identities of the ‘Does’ who allegedly downloaded Plaintiff’s pornography.”
What is troublesome is that the movie studios seems to understand this completely but are continuing the pursuit, not for the reason of finding the true perpetrators, but for the profits, regardless of where it comes from. The ISPs are even questioning the credibility of the law firm ‘Prenda’, who were already punished once in court for ‘mob like’ tactics which included creating fake clients and fake documents to support their lawsuits.
Companies like Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner, and Cox catch a lot of heat from people across the internet for a variety of well justified reasons, but it’s nice to see them fighting for the user in this case, because the implications are large and innocent lives are at stake.