Mass-media companies and others with interests in entertainment copyright protection in the online environment have seen anti-piracy laws, three-strike rules and related litigation as an obvious and effective means of curbing the flood of illegally downloaded material. Of course, there has been strong opposition to this proposal from the start, and, as of yet, efforts to codify these rules into law have been unsuccessful.
However, there is a possibility that something like a three-strike rule or similar anti-piracy laws could become part of the legal landscape of online copyright law, based on a recent lawsuit.
Film industry conglomerate sues ISP
A group of film industry producers, many of whom are linked to Millennium Media, have recently filed a lawsuit against Wide Open West (WOW), an Internet Service Provider (ISP) for allowing copyright infringement of repeat offenders to occur on their networks.
As reported by Complete Music Update, this lawsuit follows along the line of a previous successful claim brought by Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) against the ISP Cox Media. BMG found success in holding the ISP liable for its users’ copyright infringement violations because the ISP had deliberately ineffective system for dealing with repeat offenders. That lawsuit was followed by other major music concerns, leading to $1 billion in aggregated damage awards.
What the success of BMG’s lawsuit could mean for movies
While BMG’s suit was in the world of music, Millennium Media’s claim could lead to similar results. Further, BMG’s suit could lead to even greater restrictions across the ISP and mass media industries. Part of this new claim seeks a court order forcing ISPs to utilize a “three-strike system” to deal with repeat offenders – canceling those offenders’ internet service on the third offense.
If Millennium wins this case and gets its requested court order, this could look something like a default requirement for ISPs, lest they face similar lawsuits which now have the power of precedent in their corners. It could also, of course, work back to the music industry from which this line of litigation stemmed in the first place.
This could be an important development for the future of BitTorrent copyright law, and we will keep our eyes on these developing trends.