Tag Archives: repeat infringer

Music Companies Sue Internet Provider RCN For Enabling ‘Massive’ Piracy

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/music-companies-sue-internet-provider-rcn-for-enabling-massive-piracy-190828/

For roughly two decades, copyright holders have been sending takedown notices to ISPs to alert them that their subscribers are sharing copyrighted material.

Under US law, providers must terminate the accounts of repeat infringers “in appropriate circumstances” and increasingly they are being held to this standard.

Several major music industry companies have filed lawsuits against a variety of Internet providers. With help from the RIAA, the companies targeted Cox CommunicationsGrande Communications, and Charter, hoping to recoup damages for their role in the pirating activities of their subscribers.

The overall theme of these lawsuits is the same. The music companies accuse the ISPs of turning a blind eye to pirating subscribers. This is also made clear in a new complaint that was just filed against several ISPs that operate under the RCN brand.

The lawsuit is again filed by music companies, including Arista Music, Bad Boy Records, Capitol Records, Laface Records, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music, UMG Recordings, and Warner Records. Some of these are also involved in the aforementioned cases.

“This is a case about a leading internet service provider knowingly enabling its customers’ massive online copyright infringement of sound recordings,” the music companies allege in a complaint filed at a federal court in New Jersey.

“Defendants operated RCN as a haven for infringement. Defendants promoted RCN’s high internet speeds to customers, knowing that the ability to download copyrighted material illegally using high-speed internet, without repercussions, was a substantial draw for infringers,” they add.

The music companies state that RCN, including several local branches, willingly profited from keeping pirates on board. The ISP advertised high-speed internet which would be particularly appealing to BitTorrent pirates, it’s claimed.

“RCN provides its subscribers with a fully functioning system that allows them to engage in copyright infringement on a massive scale using BitTorrent networks,” the complaint reads.

“And for those subscribers who want to pirate more and larger files at faster speeds, RCN obliges them in return for higher fees. The greater the bandwidth its subscribers require for pirating content, the more money RCN receives.”

Current ‘speed’ mention on RCN.com

We have seen similar claims in related “repeat infringer” lawsuits. Previously it was pointed out that, while it is certainly true that high-speed Internet access is beneficial for pirates, legal users of streaming platforms such as Netflix would benefit as well.

The music companies, however, are convinced that the high speeds lure pirates to RCN. On top of that, they accuse the Internet provider of ignoring repeat infringers, so it can continue to profit from this piracy activity.

The music companies back up their claims with data from anti-piracy tracking company Rightscorp, which previously sent RCN more than five million infringement notices. These notices identified tens of thousands of alleged pirates.

Despite being aware of this copyright-infringing activity, RCN did nothing to stop it, the complaint notes. According to the Rightscorp data, 36,773 subscribers repeatedly engaged in piracy, with hundreds of these being flagged more than 1,000 times.

Since Rightscorp doesn’t monitor all activity, this is likely a small fraction of all the infringing activity occurring over RCN’s network, the music companies add. And despite the high number of repeat infringers, RCN did little to stop it.

“Defendants failed to take any meaningful action to discourage this
wrongful conduct. Instead of terminating repeat infringers—and losing subscription revenue— RCN for years simply looked the other way and chose to allow the unlawful conduct to continue unabated.

“By ignoring the repeat infringement notifications and refusing to take action against repeat infringers, and instead providing those customers with ongoing internet service, Defendants made a deliberate decision to contribute to known copyright infringement,” the complaint adds.

In cases like this, Internet providers can generally rely on the DMCA safe harbor defense, which shields them from liability. However, the music companies argue that RCN lost this right by not having a properly functioning repeat infringer policy.

“Although RCN purported to adopt a policy to address repeat infringers, RCN in reality never adopted or reasonably implemented a policy that provided for the termination of repeat infringers—despite receiving over five million infringement notices. Its purported policy was a sham,” the complaint reads.

The allegations are very similar to the other “repeat infringer” lawsuits we have seen in the past. As in the other cases, the ISP is accused of both contributory and vicarious copyright infringement. The same also applies to RCN’s management company Patriot.

The music companies claim substantial losses for which they want to be compensated. They request actual damages or statutory damages of $150,000 per work. With an illustrative list of more than 1,000 tracks as evidence, a list that may grow even longer, the potential damages are already over $150 million. 

A copy of the complaint, filed at the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, is available here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Movie Company Sues Hawaiian ISP Over ‘Repeatedly Pirating’ Hotel

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/movie-company-sues-hawaiian-isp-over-repeatedly-pirating-hotel-190826/

The “repeat infringer” issue is a hot topic in US Courts that has resulted in several lawsuits already.

Under the DMCA, companies are required to implement a reasonable policy to deal with frequent offenders. Those who don’t, risk being held liable.

Thus far we have seen lawsuits targeting ISPs including Cox Communications, Charter, and Grande Communications. These companies were all sued by music industry companies and most cases remain ongoing.

In Hawaii, a new ISP was targeted a few days ago, this time by a movie outfit. In a complaint filed at a Hawaiian federal court, Bodyguard Productions accuses Internet provider Pacific DirectConnect of failing to terminate a repeat infringer.

The movie outfit, which is the copyright holder of “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” is a familiar player in US courts. The company has previously sued many individual BitTorrent pirates. With the latest lawsuit, it breaks from this trend by going after the Internet provider itself.

Pacific DirectConnect is not a typical consumer ISP. It mainly targets hotels and resorts in Hawaii, offering integrated network solutions including Internet access. According to the complaint, one of these clients is Aston Waikiki Sunset, a large hotel in Honolulu.

According to the movie company, one of the hotel’s IP-addresses was repeatedly caught pirating. The ISP was made aware of this, both directly and through notices that were sent to its own bandwidth supplier, but apparently failed to take any meaningful action in response.

“Despite multiple notifications of infringements from Plaintiff, Hawaiian Telcom and third parties, Defendant has failed and steadfastly refused to terminate the account of subscriber Aston,” the complaint reads.

“Said infringements would have been stopped if Defendant merely terminated subscriber Aston’s service,” the movie company adds.

Bodyguard Productions argues that the ISP purposely failed to terminate the account of the Hawaiian hotel, despite knowing that it was a repeat
infringer. As such, the company is liable for the copyright infringements of its ‘subscriber.’

Through the lawsuit, the movie company requests an injunction requiring the ISP to terminate the account of the hotel. It accuses the company of both contributory and direct copyright infringement, asking the court to grant “any and all other relief” that’s appropriate in this case.

According to the complaint, Pacific DirectConnect is not protected by the DMCA’s safe harbor because it willingly failed to terminate the alleged repeat infringer. In addition, the ISP doesn’t have a registered DMCA agent, which is a requirement to enjoy safe harbor protection.

As far as we know, this is the first time that an ISP has been sued for providing Internet services to a hotel. This sets the case apart from the other repeat infringer cases that mostly deal with ordinary consumer providers.

Needless to say, the lawsuit has the potential to create another shockwave in the industry. If an Internet provider can indeed be liable for servicing hotels, resorts, or other large companies that have hundreds of users themselves, it will have to be much more careful.

The complaint doesn’t mention whether Bodyguard Productions reached out to the resort directly to address the repeat infringer issue.

A copy of the complaint filed by Bodyguard Productions against Pacific DirectConnect is available here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

BPI Wants Piracy Dealt With Under New UK Internet ‘Clean-Up’ Laws

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/bpi-wants-music-piracy-dealt-with-under-uk-internet-clean-up-laws-180523/

For the past several years, the UK Government has expressed a strong desire to “clean up” the Internet.

Strong emphasis has been placed on making the Internet safer for children but that’s just the tip of a much larger iceberg.

This week, the Government published its response to the Internet Safety Strategy green paper, stating unequivocally that more needs to be done to tackle “online harm”.

Noting that six out of ten people report seeing inappropriate or harmful content online, the Government said that work already underway with social media companies to protect users had borne fruit but overall industry response has been less satisfactory.

As a result, the Government will now carry through with its threat to introduce new legislation, albeit with the assistance of technology companies, children’s charities and other stakeholders.

“Digital technology is overwhelmingly a force for good across the world and we must always champion innovation and change for the better,” said Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

“At the same time I have been clear that we have to address the Wild West elements of the Internet through legislation, in a way that supports innovation. We strongly support technology companies to start up and grow, and we want to work with them to keep our citizens safe.”

While emphasis is being placed on hot-button topics such as cyberbullying and online child exploitation, the Government is clear that it wishes to tackle “the full range” of online harms. That has been greeted by UK music group BPI with a request that the Government introduces new measures to tackle Internet piracy.

In a statement issued this week, BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor welcomed the move towards legislative change and urged the Government to encompass the music industry and beyond.

“This is a vital opportunity to protect consumers and boost the UK’s music and creative industries. The BPI has long pressed for internet intermediaries and online platforms to take responsibility for the content that they promote to users,” Taylor said.

“Government should now take the power in legislation to require online giants to take effective, proactive measures to clean illegal content from their sites and services. This will keep fans away from dodgy sites full of harmful content and prevent criminals from undermining creative businesses that create UK jobs.”

The BPI has published four initial requests, each of which provides food for thought.

The demand to “establish a new fast-track process for blocking illegal sites” is not entirely unexpected, particularly given the expense of launching applications for blocking injunctions at the High Court.

“The BPI has taken a large number of actions against individual websites – 63 injunctions are in place against sites that are wholly or mainly infringing and whose business is simply to profit from criminal activity,” the BPI says.

Those injunctions can be expanded fairly easily to include new sites operating under similar banners or facilitating access to those already covered, but it’s clear the BPI would like something more streamlined. Voluntary schemes, such as the one in place in Portugal, could be an option but it’s unclear how troublesome that could be for ISPs. New legislation could solve that dilemma, however.

Another big thorn in the side for groups like the BPI are people and entities that post infringing content. The BPI is very good at taking these listings down from sites and search engines in particular (more than 600 million requests to date) but it’s a game of whac-a-mole the group would rather not engage in.

With that in mind, the BPI would like the Government to impose new rules that would compel online platforms to stop content from being re-posted after it’s been taken down while removing the accounts of repeat infringers.

Thirdly, the BPI would like the Government to introduce penalties for “online operators” who do not provide “transparent contact and ownership information.” The music group isn’t any more specific than that, but the suggestion is that operators of some sites have a tendency to hide in the shadows, something which frustrates enforcement activity.

Finally, and perhaps most interestingly, the BPI is calling on the Government to legislate for a new “duty of care” for online intermediaries and platforms. Specifically, the BPI wants “effective action” taken against businesses that use the Internet to “encourage” consumers to access content illegally.

While this could easily encompass pirate sites and services themselves, this proposal has the breadth to include a wide range of offenders, from people posting piracy-focused tutorials on monetized YouTube channels to those selling fully-loaded Kodi devices on eBay or social media.

Overall, the BPI clearly wants to place pressure on intermediaries to take action against piracy when they’re in a position to do so, and particularly those who may not have shown much enthusiasm towards industry collaboration in the past.

“Legislation in this Bill, to take powers to intervene with respect to operators that do not co-operate, would bring focus to the roundtable process and ensure that intermediaries take their responsibilities seriously,” the BPI says.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and the Home Office will now work on a White Paper, to be published later this year, to set out legislation to tackle “online harms”. The BPI and similar entities will hope that the Government takes their concerns on board.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Reddit Repeat Infringer Policy Shuts Down Megalinks Piracy Sub

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/reddit-repeat-infringer-policy-shuts-down-megalinks-piracy-sub-180430/

Without doubt, Reddit is one of the most popular sites on the entire Internet. At the time of writing it’s the fourth most visited site in the US with 330 million users per month generating 14 billion screenviews.

The core of the site’s success is its communities. Known as ‘sub-Reddits’ or just ‘subs’, there are currently 138,000 of them dedicated to every single subject you can think of and tens of thousands you’d never considered.

Even though they’re technically forbidden, a small but significant number are dedicated to piracy, offering links to copyright-infringing content hosted elsewhere. One of the most popular is /r/megalinks, which is dedicated to listing infringing content (mainly movies and TV shows) uploaded to file-hosting site Mega.

Considering its activities, Megalinks has managed to stay online longer than most people imagined but following an intervention from Reddit, the content indexing sub has stopped accepting new submissions, which will effectively shut it down.

In an announcement Sunday, the sub’s moderators explained that following a direct warning from Reddit’s administrators, the decision had been taken to move on.

“As most of you know by now, we’ve had to deal with a lot of DMCA takedowns over the last 6 months. Everyone knew this day would come, eventually, and its finally here,” they wrote.

“We received a formal warning from Reddit’s administration 2 days ago, and have decided to restrict new submissions for the safety of the subreddit.”

The message from Reddit’s operators makes it absolutely clear that Reddit isn’t the platform to host what amounts to a piracy links forum.

“This is an official warning from Reddit that we are receiving too many copyright infringement notices about material posted to your community. We will be required to ban this community if you can’t adequately address the problem,” the warning reads.

Noting that Redditors aren’t allowed to post content that infringes copyrights, the administrators say they are required by law to handle DMCA notices and that in cases where infringement happens on multiple occasions, that needs to be handled in a more aggressive manner.

“The law also requires us to issue bans in cases of repeat infringement. Sometimes a repeat infringement problem is limited to just one user and we ban just that person. Other times the problem pervades a whole community and we ban the community,” the admins continue.

“This is our formal warning about repeat infringement in this community. Over the past three months we’ve had to remove material from the community in response to copyright notices 60 times. That’s an unusually high number taking into account the community’s size.

The warning suggests ways to keep infringing content down but in a sub dedicated to piracy, they’re all completely irrelevant. It also suggests removing old posts to ensure that Reddit doesn’t keep getting notices, but that would mean deleting pretty much everything. Backups exist but a simple file is a poor substitute for a community.

So, with Reddit warning that without change the sub will be banned, the moderators of /r/megalinks have decided to move on to a new home. Reportedly hosted ‘offshore’, their new forum already has more than 9,800 members and is likely to grow quickly as the word spreads.

A month ago, the /r/megaporn sub-Reddit suffered a similar fate following a warning from Reddit’s admins. It successfully launched a new external forum which is why the Megalinks crew decided on the same model.

“[A]fter seeing how /r/megaporn approached the same situation, we had started working on an offshore forum a week ago in anticipation of the ban. This allows us to work however we want, without having to deal with Reddit’s policies and administration,” the team explain.

Ever since the BMG v Cox case went bad ways for the ISP in 2015, repeat infringer policies have become a very hot topic in the US. That Reddit is now drawing a line in the sand over a relatively small number of complaints (at least compared to other similar platforms) is clear notice that Reddit and blatant piracy won’t be allowed to walk hand in hand.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

How Many Piracy Warnings Would Get You to Stop?

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/how-many-piracy-warnings-would-get-you-to-stop-180422/

For the past several years, copyright holders in the US and Europe have been trying to reach out to file-sharers in an effort to change their habits.

Whether via high-profile publicity lawsuits or a simple email, it’s hoped that by letting people know they aren’t anonymous, they’ll stop pirating and buy more content instead.

Traditionally, most ISPs haven’t been that keen on passing infringement notices on. However, the BMG v Cox lawsuit seems to have made a big difference, with a growing number of ISPs now visibly warning their users that they operate a repeat infringer policy.

But perhaps the big question is how seriously users take these warnings because – let’s face it – that’s the entire point of their existence.

There can be little doubt that a few recipients will be scurrying away at the slightest hint of trouble, intimidated by the mere suggestion that they’re being watched.

Indeed, a father in the UK – who received a warning last year as part of the Get it Right From a Genuine Site campaign – confidently and forcefully assured TF that there would be no more illegal file-sharing taking place on his ten-year-old son’s computer again – ever.

In France, where the HADOPI anti-piracy scheme received much publicity, people receiving an initial notice are most unlikely to receive additional ones in future. A December 2017 report indicated that of nine million first warning notices sent to alleged pirates since 2012, ‘just’ 800,000 received a follow-up warning on top.

The suggestion is that people either stop their piracy after getting a notice or two, or choose to “go dark” instead, using streaming sites for example or perhaps torrenting behind a decent VPN.

But for some people, the message simply doesn’t sink in early on.

A post on Reddit this week by a TWC Spectrum customer revealed that despite a wealth of readily available information (including masses in the specialist subreddit where the post was made), even several warnings fail to have an effect.

“Was just hit with my 5th copyright violation. They halted my internet and all,” the self-confessed pirate wrote.

There are at least three important things to note from this opening sentence.

Firstly, the first four warnings did nothing to change the user’s piracy habits. Secondly, Spectrum presumably had enough at five warnings and kicked in a repeat-infringer suspension, presumably to avoid the same fate as Cox in the BMG case. Third, the account suspension seems to have changed the game.

Notably, rather than some huge blockbuster movie, that fifth warning came due to something rather less prominent.

“Thought I could sneak in a random episode of Rosanne. The new one that aired LOL. That fast. Under 24 hours I got shut off. Which makes me feel like [ISPs] do monitor your traffic and its not just the people sending them notices,” the post read.

Again, some interesting points here.

Any content can be monitored by rightsholders but if it’s popular in the US then a warning delivered via an ISP seems to be more likely than elsewhere. However, the misconception that the monitoring is done by ISPs persists, despite that not being the case.

ISPs do not monitor users’ file-sharing activity, anti-piracy companies do. They can grab an IP address the second someone enters a torrent swarm, or even connects to a tracker. It happens in an instant, at a time of their choosing. Quickly jumping in and out of a torrent is no guarantee and the fallacy of not getting caught due to a failure to seed is just that – a fallacy.

But perhaps the most important thing is that after five warnings and a disconnection, the Reddit user decided to take action. Sadly for the people behind Rosanne, it’s not exactly the reaction they’d have hoped for.

“I do not want to push it but I am curious to what happens 6th time, and if I would even be safe behind a VPN,” he wrote.

“Just want to learn how to use a VPN and Sonarr and have a guilt free stress free torrent watching.”

Of course, there was no shortage of advice.

“If you have gotten 5 notices, you really should of learnt [sic] how to use a VPN before now,” one poster noted, perhaps inevitably.

But curiously, or perhaps obviously given the number of previous warnings, the fifth warning didn’t come as a surprise to the user.

“I knew they were going to hit me for it. I just didn’t think a 195mb file would do it. They were getting me for Disney movies in the past,” he added.

So how do you grab the attention of a persistent infringer like this? Five warnings and a suspension apparently. But clearly, not even that is a guarantee of success. Perhaps this is why most ‘strike’ schemes tend to give up on people who can’t be rehabilitated.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.