�
You are here: Home » Adult Webmaster News » Verizon Strikes Back at Malibu Media 'Copyright...
Select year   and month 
 
October 08, 2015

Verizon Strikes Back at Malibu Media 'Copyright Trolling'

LOS ANGELES—Malibu Media, the parent of X-Art.com, which describes itself as "beautiful erotica," has filed thousands of lawsuits claiming that various internet users have illegally downloaded its movies—and now they want to get paid for them. To do so, Malibu has filed thousands of subpoenas directed at major ISPs, seeking information on just who those end users are, all the better to threaten them with the choice of either paying Malibu varying sums apparently calculated to be just low enough that the user can likely afford to pay but not high enough that the user would be willing to take the case to court—and risk being identified publicly as a "porn pirate." It's a practice that's become well-known in the internet community as "copyright trolling"—AVN has previously written about Malibu's tactics here, here, here and here—and now one ISP, Verizon, is fighting back. On Monday, Verizon Online's attorneys went into federal court in Tampa, Florida and filed a Motion for Protective Order and Motion to Quash Subpoena—with part of the company's rationale being that the current subpoena "would impose an undue burden on Verizon, which has been required to respond to many hundreds of subpoenas from Malibu Media." [Emphasis in original.] Moreover, the Motion to Quash notes that Malibu filed its subpoena to depose Verizon employees just "six days before the proposed deposition (which Plaintiff unilaterally set for September 28, 2015, on the eve of the discovery cut-off)," which subpoena would have required Verizon's employees "to travel from their offices in the Washington, D.C. area to Texas to give testimony"—Texas being so copyright troll-friendly that nearly all of the lawsuits seeking such recoveries have been filed in that jurisdiction. The Motion also claims that much of the information sought by Malibu in the subpoena is "not relevant to the underlying lawsuit, is prohibited from disclosure by the Cable Communications Act [due to privacy considerations], or is more properly sought from a party to the lawsuit, rather than from Verizon." But perhaps Verizon's most relevant argument is that it had already supplied the name and IP address of the alleged infringer to Malibu Media, but that Malibu wanted much more from the company—"correspondence between Verizon and the subscriber, information about the rental of modems or other equipment, Verizon’s policies and procedures for renting equipment or suggesting that customers secure modems, and the subscriber’s Internet usage"—that Verizon charges is irrelevant to Malibu's lawsuit, or could more properly be obtained elsewhere. The Motion can be read here. The body of the Motion recounts some of Malibu Media's tactics to push its copyright claims, many of which have already been rebuffed by courts in California and New York, including waiting until "the eve of the discovery cut-off" to file subpoenas, and filing such subpoenas in remote jurisdictions (Texas) seeking testimony from witnesses who live "outside the 100-mile radius for commanding testimony," which testimony the Motion describes as "not relevant to the underlying dispute (or could be obtained without burdening a non-party)" such as Verizon. But one of Verizon's main objections is the sheer volume of Malibu Media subpoenas the company has had to deal with, which it says "impose a significant cumulative burden on Verizon." "Finally, there are practical implications of Plaintiff’s sought-after discovery," the motion states. "With more than one thousand cases filed by Malibu Media this year alone, permitting depositions of Verizon would create an entire industry devoted to discovery of ISPs —and take away from resources needed to respond to law enforcement personnel and others who require Verizon’s attention to emergency criminal investigations, and other pressing business." [Emphasis added] Verizon had filed similar objections in another Malibu Media case. According to an article on the ArsTechnica.com site, Verizon's Motion "raises the question of whether other ISPs will choose to push back against Malibu's style of litigation. Tangling with ISPs has led to adverse results for other mass copyright campaigns, including that of Prenda Law, which went so far as to sue AT&T and Comcast, saying the ISPs were siding with the pirates. That suit ended with Prenda being ordered to pay the ISPs' legal fees." So far, there has been no ruling on Verizon's Motion.

 
�
�
�
home | register | log in | add URL | add premium URL | forums | news | advertising | contact | sitemap
copyright © 1998 - 2009 Adult Webmasters Association. All rights reserved.