RCN asks court to dismiss lawsuit against piracy of “copyright trolls” * TorrentFreak
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Internet service provider RCN has asked a New Jersey federal court to dismiss the piracy lawsuit filed by several filmmakers a few weeks ago. According to the FAI, the film companies are part of a well-known network of copyright trolls, who have failed to make formal claims of copyright infringement.
Under US copyright law, Internet service providers must terminate the accounts of repeat offenders “in appropriate circumstances.”
In the past, such drastic action was rare, but with the backing of legal pressure ISPs are increasingly held to this standard.
Initially, these lawsuits were mainly initiated by music companies, supported by the RIAA. However, in recent months a group of independent filmmakers have joined us. These plaintiffs include the directors of films such as The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, London Has Fallen and Hellboy.
One of the targeted ISPs is RCN, which had previously been the subject of a similar RIAA lawsuit. According to the filmmakers, the ISP has not terminated subscribers who repeatedly infringe copyrights. This would allegedly violate the DMCA and therefore RCN should be held responsible.
RCN strikes back against the “trolls”
This week, the Internet service provider responded to the allegations with a motion to dismiss. In addition to refuting the legal claims, RCN begins by providing context and highlighting the earlier legal efforts of the filmmakers and their anti-piracy tracking company Mavericeye.
Some of the companies involved have already sued individual pirates from whom they obtained settlements, and the ISP places them in the corner of “copyright trolls,” a label the filmmakers have previously rejected.
âThe plaintiffs and Maverickeye are part of a well-known network of copyright trolls. So far, the plaintiffs’ modus operandi has been to sue John Doe in the hope of securing swift settlements and dismissing them at the slightest resistance. Complainants rarely succeed in contested cases, âwrites RCN.
âIn addition, the courts and litigants in these cases have convincingly accused Maverickeye of serious wrongdoing, such as the submission of fraudulent ‘expert’ statements by fictitious persons, violation of state law in engaging in unlicensed surveillance and even conspiring with copyright owners to deliver copyrighted content on BitTorrent. then sue whoever tries to download it.
“Failed Hacking Liability Claims”
These counter-allegations do not argue without RCN. However, the ISP goes on to explain why the filmmakers’ piracy liability claims fail. Much of this focuses on the hack evidence provided by Maverickeye.
The ISP notes that it is not clear how the German company detects copyright infringements. There are also no details of forensic evidence that proves actual counterfeiting activity.
RCN argues that without proof of such direct violations, the filmmakers cannot hold the company liable for contribution infringement. After all, it’s hard to hold someone accountable when the underlying hacking activity isn’t supported by proper evidence.
‘Insufficient IP address’
Maverickeye reportedly tracked IP addresses of suspected hackers. However, an IP address is not sufficient to prove that subscribers downloaded infringing material, the ISP claims, citing the “Cobbler” case.
As in Cobbler, the plaintiffs did not allege ‘something more’ beyond identifying an IP address to create a reasonable inference that a particular RCN subscriber is also the alleged direct infringer.
“And without a reasonable inference that an RCN subscriber directly infringed the plaintiffs ‘copyrights, the plaintiffs’ secondary copyright infringement claims against RCN cannot survive a dismissal motion,” adds RCN.
RCN continues with various other arguments as to why contribution and proxy copyright infringement claims fail.
For example, a plausible proxy copyright infringement claim requires complainants to demonstrate that there is a âfinancial benefitâ. According to RCN, this is not the case here.
“The only financial benefit alleged by the applicants is the collection of a fixed fee for Internet service, which remains the same whether or not RCN subscribers infringe the applicants’ copyrights,” writes RCN.
Many of these arguments are similar to those we have seen in similar cases. We expect the filmmakers to disagree with the FAI and file their rebuttal in the coming weeks.
A copy of RCN’s memorandum in support of its motion to dismiss the filmmakers’ complaint is available here (pdf)