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Time Warner Fights Mass Porn BitTorrent Lawsuits

Time Warner Fights Mass Porn BitTorrent Lawsuits

Limits IP address lookups to no more than 10 a month, pushing the time it would take to reveal the identities of more than 4,000 unnamed BitTorrent users to a little over 33 years.

Time Warner Cable is pushing back against attempts by Dallas-based attorney Evan Stone, on behalf of Larry Flynt Publishing (LFP), to divulge the names of thousands of IP addresses suspected of illegally sharing copies of “This Ain’t Avatar XXX.”

Stone has filed three separate lawsuits against more than 4,000 unnamed BitTorrent users, but TWC is refusing to turn over the names all at once, limiting discovery to just 10 a month, and pushing the length of time it would take to identify all the suspected file-sharers to a little over 33 years.

“If you’re a pirate in these times, TWC is the ISP to have,” he said in a statement to CNET.

TWC has fought similar mass BitTorrent lawsuit efforts in the past. Earlier this year it told the US Copyright Group that it cannot reasonably handle more than 28 IP address lookups per month, but the law firm countered that the ISP has no “outer limit” to the number of IP address subpoenas it can “reasonably handle” per month.”

TWC told the USCG that the thousands of IP address subpoenas it submits are on top of the hundreds per month it already receives, virtually all coming from law enforcement, and some being “emergency requests in which death or serious physical injury are at issue.” It said responding to all of the USCG’s subpoenas would require it to “redirect substantial resources away from compliance with law enforcement requests.”

The USCG continued to challenge TWC’s claims of what was feasible and push on with the mass BitTorrent lawsuit, but in this case the LFP has decided to discontinue the lawsuit altogether. LFP apparently has a number of business dealings with TWC and doesn’t want to poison the relationship.

U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer recently refused a request by the USCG to extend the deadline for identifying file-sharers it intends to sue to 58 months, the amount of time TWC says it’ll take to identify the names of nearly 800 IP addresses, and submit a list of only those Defendants “whom it reasonably believes the Court has personal jurisdiction” over.

The USCG submitted a revised list of 140, down from the initial 4,577, though it still included a number of IP addresses well beyond Judge Collyer’s jurisdiction.

The Adult Copyright Company, the self-proclaimed “market leader in fighting piracy of adult content,” has also suffered a severe setback to its mass BitTorrent lawsuits.

It tried to argue the Defendants named in the lawsuit could be joined together under Federal Rule 20(a)(2) of Civil Procedure “based upon the Does’ use of some of the same ISPs and some of the same peer-to-peer (‘P2P’) networks to infringe the same copyright,” but US District Judge John Preston Bailey disagreed, ruling that simply committing the same type of copyright infringement in the same manner does not link them together for the purposes of Rule 20.

He said that each defendant is likely to have a different defense of the charges against them, and therefore should have the opportunity to argue their individual cases on their own merits.

The argument made by the Adult Copyright Company is the same made by the USCG which contends that DC courts do have jurisdiction because of the nature of a BitTorrent swarm. It says that each BitTorrent user, by being part of a swarm, is part of the same “transaction” responsible for sharing copyrighted material.

Stone says this is not enough, that you have to prove the members of the swarm have the “same .torrent reference file to obtain the exact same copy of Plaintiff’s film.”

“They only could have obtained [this] from other defendants in this case or yet unlisted defendants who themselves had already obtained the film,” he wrote in a court filing.

“This swarm is the group of users that are connected to each other to obtain the data referenced in the .torrent reference file… such as a reference file for a motion picture. For this process to work, each user must have the same .torrent file. It is not enough for a user’s .torrent file to merely reference a copy of the same motion picture. It must reference the same specific copy of the motion picture as everyone else in the swarm for that user to participate in the swarm,” he added.

That may be so, but it’s still not clear if it qualifies the Defendants for shared inclusion under “Permissive Joinder of Parties.” Each is still certain to have a different defense, and lining up thousands of Defendants in a single trial seems highly improbable.

Either way, the best defense seems to be ISPs who refuse to play games with attorneys who don’t realistically expect many cases to go to trial. Quick settlements are all these law firms are looking for, not justice, and so anything that impedes their efforts is welcome news.

Copyright laws were written to punish both those who prevent originators from making money off their intellectual property as well as those who make money from its illegal distribution. It was never intended to punish an average viewer who likely watched a copyright video a few times and then deleted it to make room for another,

Stay tuned.

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Jared Moya
I've been interested in P2P since the early, high-flying days of Napster and KaZaA. I believe that analog copyright laws are ill-suited to the digital age, and that art and culture shouldn't be subject to the whims of international entertainment industry conglomerates. Twitter | Google Plus
Switcheroo
Switcheroo

In fairness to TWC, they do crack down on bit torrenting. The sporadic policing they actually do, though, is probably to keep their network traffic in check. It's just business. They need to keep a lid on their costs, and when bit-torrenting customers hog bandwidth, it slows down the network for other customers.

isnt TWC evil mafiaa?
isnt TWC evil mafiaa?

im so confused here. isnt TWC evil mafiaa scum? mafiaa will just sell eachother out for money EVERY time? what about all their collusion, dunno if id call it honor among theives or anything so noble, but dont all these big content mafiaa parasites forgo short term p[rofit to maintain their cartel? kinda reminds me of that tower scene from lord of the rings, when the orcs are just killing eachother, cuz even though theyre on the same "side", theyre all evil dicks deep down. 'the coica law can only be destroyed in the fires of mount doom....' LOLZ

disinter
disinter

Congrats Mr. Flynt! After all these years of fighting "the man" you've finally become one of them. Just another fat tub of shit suing his fans. It's odd that he had more integrity while he peddled his smut in the 70s and 80s than he does now.

10pound
10pound

“If you’re a pirate in these times, TWC is the ISP to have,” he said in a statement to CNET.OHHHHH BURN!!!



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