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Filmmakers demand ISP customer data is linked to “pirating” Reddit users

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WOW! is a US ISP that is being sued by a number of film companies, notably Millennium Media and Voltage Pictures, for not terminating subscribers accused of copyright infringement.

And now this ISP has received an order to give the filmmakers personal data about 375 customers suspected of copyright violations, which the companies intend to compare with information retrieved from YTS and Reddit user accounts.

168 of the 375 have filed their objections, and are supported in this by the ISP, TorrentFreak reports.

This is happening amid the ongoing legal battle, with the provider trying to avoid liability and potentially paying millions to the film company. WOW! is asking a federal court to dismiss the case because it says an IP address alone is not enough to identify a copyright infringer – that is, which person is using that internet connection to download or share “pirated” content.

And while the court is still considering this, as well as plaintiffs’ counter motion, WOW! is working against the order to turn customer data over. The original request targeted about 14,000 subscribers and the data in question includes their names and home addresses. The ISP’s argument here was that this information is irrelevant to the case, i.e., the filmmakers’ claim that it failed to act properly against infringers.

The other side, however, asserted that cross-checking data from the ISP and the social media accounts can help find out if subscribers received notification that their online activity was reported as copyright infringement, and if their subscriptions were terminated during the time they had a particular IP.

The court decided to accept plaintiffs’ reduced number of requests as a compromise solution, and also allow the subscribers to object to the order. 168 have done so – but the content of these filings has not been published.

What is known is that on this issue as well, WOW! and the filmmakers can’t see eye to eye. The latter claim that all the objections amount to the subscribers denying they infringed on copyright.

WOW! on the other hand, sees no reason for this course of action and prefers to provide account numbers than reveal personal information, and the same goes for cross-checking for YTS or Reddit users.

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