Ever since the advent of the internet and especially since network speeds have reached a level capable of transferring large data files quickly, there have been problems with copyright infringement. Countless copyright claims have been filed involving music, film and other copyrighted works illegally shared through BitTorrent technology.
Until recently, most of the cases have involved direct lawsuits against the people being accused of directly transferring the files in question. The procedure would involve contacting the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses of the people transferring files illegally and issuing a subpoena to the ISP to get the names and contact information of the owners of the IP addresses. Then lawsuits would be filed against these IP address owners.
A new trend
In recent months, however, copyright holders have changed their approach. In some cases, they have been bringing in the companies the Virtual Private Network (VPN) or ISPs into the claims.
In a recent Florida case, a group of independent film makers brought a lawsuit against a hosting company, Quadranet. The initial claim was against a VPN provider, LiquidVPN, and the plaintiffs brought in Quadranet, as well.
According to TorrentFreak online, the hosting company Quadranet moved to dismiss the case. “Quadranet…believes that the copyright infringement claims fail. The company leased servers to LiquidVPN and did indeed receive copyright infringement notices, which it forwarded to the VPN service. That should be sufficient.”
Further, the company makes only a miniscule percentage of its overall income from leasing its servers to LiquidVPN. Finally, Quadranet correctly claims that it is at least two steps removed from any direct infringement. This is a “shotgun pleading” and should be dismissed.
What will happen?
While there is always a degree of mystery and suspense when waiting for a court to rule, Quadranet is making a strong defense. The public policy concerns alone if this type of litigation were to be successful are staggering.
In any specific pending case, all we can do is wait and see. In the meantime, if you are an individual or representative of a company being brought into copyright infringement litigation, it is critical to defend yourself aggressively with the help of an experienced copyright lawyer who has handled BitTorrent cases like this.