Porn Companies Sue Verizon For Refusing To Name Alleged BitTorrent Pirates

(Meg)

Months after Comcast refused porn companies’ requests to hand over names of Internet customers allegedly involved in illegal file sharing, a trio of porn purveyors are going after Verizon for its denial of such requests.

The porno peeps have lists of IP addresses of suspected pirates but those strings of numbers are pretty much worthless unless someone puts a name to them. So the lawyers send subpoenas to ISPs like Verizon and Comcast requesting the companies provide the customers’ names associated with each address.

Once the porn lawyers have those names, they make each alleged pirate an offer: Pay a cash settlement now or risk being taken to court and having your name publicly associated with the often-embarrassing titles of the X-rated films you are accused of sharing.

But TorrentFreak reports that Verizon has recently begun objecting to such requests, saying the subpoenas seek “information that is protected from disclosure by third parties’ rights of privacy and protections guaranteed by the first amendment.”

Verizon also argues that these massive lawsuits, sometimes filed against hundreds or thousands of alleged pirates, are improper because the defendants did not necessarily commit their supposed crimes as a group.

The trio of companies suing Verizon write:
“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.”

The plaintiffs claim that Verizon is acting in bad faith because it is profiting from BitTorrent pirates and thus has “seemingly no incentive… to aggressively identify infringers on their network.”

But as the folks at TorrentFreak point out, Verizon is a partner in the new “six strikes” program, which is aimed at thinning the numbers of online pirates by identifying repeat offenders.

One lawyer, who calls himself the “Original Copyright Troll,” recently said that he’s settled around 5,000 cases related to online porn piracy, though he admits he’s never actually been to trial with any of the defendants because “there’s a backlog.”