The manufacturing companies behind Dallas Buyers Club, I Feel Pretty and Colossal is taking internet service providers to court for allegedly facilitating mass piracy of their films.
Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and Comcast have been hit with copyright lawsuits alleging ignoring customers who illegally distribute and download pirated movies. Production companies seek to force internet providers to implement policies that provide for the termination of accounts held by repeat offenders and the blocking of certain piracy websites.
A trio of complaints were filed throughout September, with the most recent filed Tuesday in Pennsylvania federal court, coming from Voltage Pictures, After Productions and Ammo Entertainment, among others. Two law firms, Dovel & Luner and Culpepper IP, are representing the production labels.
The internet providers knowingly contributed to the piracy of their customers, the lawsuits claim. The plaintiffs said they sent Verizon, AT&T and Comcast hundreds of thousands of notices about specific violations. For instance, they claim to have sent over 100,000 notices to Comcast regarding illegal downloads I feel beautiful use its services. The lawsuit aims to hold internet providers accountable for not investigating.
“Comcast has failed to take meaningful action to prevent the continued violations of these Comcast users,” the complaint states. “Comcast cannot terminate accounts associated with these IP addresses or take any meaningful action in response to these Notices. Comcast is generally unable to forward Notices to customers using its internet services or to notify them of the Notice or its content. “
As a result, internet providers indirectly infringed the plaintiffs’ movies because they had the right to terminate the accounts of customers who violated copyright law, the lawsuit alleges.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, passed in 1988, criminalizes services that circumvent controls on access to copyrighted works. It provides protection from liability for service providers.
But the production companies argue that internet providers have no safe haven under the law because it only protects companies if they have adopted and implemented policies that provide for the termination of accounts. held by the repeat offender.
The lawsuit says no internet provider maintains policies that mandate the exclusion of customers who repeatedly receive copyright infringement notices. According to AT&T policy, subscribers receiving multiple copyright warnings are only one factor used by the company to determine whether service should be terminated. Comcast says under its policy that it will deal with repeat violators, but only counts violations received by customers in a month, not the total number of violations. In comparison, Verizon’s policy requires manufacturing companies to notify them of cases of piracy and do nothing about the piracy even if they know it, the lawsuit claims.
“Verizon failed to terminate customer accounts even when they received information about a large number of repeat violations at those customer accounts,” the complaint states. “Example: Verizon Communications Inc. allowed hundreds of violations to occur on certain accounts, despite how many violation notices were received regarding those accounts at least. And Verizon users have reported receiving multiple breach notices from Verizon without having their accounts terminated
AT&T, Comcast and Verizon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Voltage has a history of suing to protect its intellectual property. In 2014, it sued dozens of people for piracy Dallas Buyers Club, was nominated for best picture at last year’s Oscars. Some were forced to accept a four-figure settlement. The company then sued Grande Communications, an internet provider in Texas, last year for failing to address the illegal download.