Attorney Steve® Copyright Watchdog® - Comcast sued for activity of torrent downloaders
The world of online Torrent infringement is heating up once again. Following similar lawsuits against Verizon and AT&T, Comcast is now being sued for alleged copyright law violations. Plaintiff's allege that Comcast is failing to enforce its DMCA copyright policy to terminate repeat infringers, and thus, that they are liable for contributory and vicarious infringement of its users. They claim the infringement notices were not forwarded, and no action was taken against repeat infringers unless there were two or more notices in a month. There is also a claim that 1202 (CMI) copyright management information was removed resulting in a further DMCA copyright violation. Comcast is or will be denying the accusations.
Allegations in the lawsuit
Case citation: Case No. 2:22-cv-03659. Read Full Text here.
Here is a basic overview of some of the allegations made in the lawsuit recently filed in Pennsylvania Federal Court.
Plaintiff Voltage Holdings, LLC is a beneficial and actual owner of copyrights in the motion pictures Ava; A Family Man; Don Jon; Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile; Fathers & Daughters; First Love; Good Kill; I Feel Pretty; I.T.; Lady Bloodfight; Pay the Ghost; Revolt; Status Update; The Cobbler; The Professor and the Madman; The Company You Keep; and The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman. The copyright registration numbers for Ava include PA0002235557 and PAu003943693. The copyright registration numbers for A Family Man include PA0002039392, TXu001967832, and TXu001374031. The copyright registration numbers for Don Jon includes PA0001873185. The copyright registration numbers for Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile include PAu003953148 and PAu003905674. The copyright registration numbers for Fathers & Daughters include PAu003762811.....
To download a film using BitTorrent technology, a user needs to obtain a torrent file. A user can find and download a torrent file for pirating a particular movie from a torrent site. A torrent site is a website that indexes and provides torrent files for download. Examples of torrent sites are RARBG, 1337x, The Pirate Bay, OxTorrent, and YTS. The United States Trade Representative has listed YTS and RARBG as examples of online marketplaces that engage in and facilitate substantial piracy.....
Publicly-available records from the American Registry for Internet Numbers (“ARIN”) identify the IP addresses allocated by Comcast. ARIN initially allocates IP addresses to Comcast, and Comcast reallocates IP addresses to its subscribers. These Comcast-allocated IP addresses (“Comcast IP addresses”) can then be used to access the internet, and transfer and receive files over the internet. Comcast is required to report the IP reallocation information to ARIN. ARIN makes information about the reallocation of IP addresses publicly available on its Whois service.
Plaintiffs engaged data providers such as Maverickeye UG (“Maverickeye”) to identify the IP addresses that were used to engage the BitTorrent protocol and pirate copies of Plaintiffs' Works.
Maverickeye used forensic software to enable the scanning of peer-to-peer networks for the presence of infringing transactions. Maverickeye extracted the resulting data from the investigation and isolated the transactions and IP addresses associated with the files identified by their hash values. Maverickeye logged information including the IP addresses, the hash values, and hit dates (access or use dates) that show that users of Comcast's internet services engaged BitTorrent to download and distribute copies of Plaintiffs' Works. For each of the Works, Maverickeye verified that a full file distributed and downloaded in this process contained a digital copy of a motion picture that is identical (or alternatively, strikingly similar or substantially similar) to one of Plaintiffs' Works. Maverickeye verified that the IP addresses were allocated by Comcast using publicly-available information from ARIN.
Maverickeye's findings show that Comcast users downloaded pirated copies of Plaintiffs' Works to their computers and then transmitted pieces of Plaintiffs' Works to other computers in a swarm using BitTorrent, so that other computers can download re-assembled and fully-playable copies of Plaintiffs' Works. These swarms included computers both within the United States and outside of the United States. These transmissions are distributions of copyright-protected elements of Plaintiffs' Works to others.
Comcast knew, had reason to know, or was willfully blind to, its users' direct infringements of Plaintiffs' Works.
Plaintiffs' agents sent notices of infringement (“Notices”) for instances in which Maverickeye confirmed infringement of copyright-protected content using Comcast IP addresses.
Each Notice included at least the name of the copyright owner, the title of the Work, the name of infringing file, the IP address and port number where infringement was confirmed, the date and time of infringement, and that the infringement used the BitTorrent protocol.
The recipient email address for the Notices was the email address that Comcast provided on its website for receipts of copyright infringement claims
The Notices gave Comcast knowledge of specific instances of third parties' infringements of Plaintiffs' Works using Comcast's internet services. In the alternative, these Notices gave Comcast reason to know of specific instances of infringements, or alerted Comcast to the high probability that Comcast users infringed Plaintiffs' Works, and Comcast deliberately avoided confirming that fact. If Comcast had any doubt as to the truth of these infringement notices, it could use the information contained in the Notices to investigate and verify the infringements.
For example, Comcast could have obtained the torrent file for downloading a movie, using the infringing file name contained in the Notices, and opened the file in a BitTorrent client to view information about the file, such as the infringing file's unique hash value. Comcast could use this unique hash value to confirm that the file contains a copy of one of Plaintiffs' Works. For example, Comcast could have obtained data packets of the traffic from the IP addresses recorded in the Notices and verified that they contain copies of one of Plaintiffs' Works.
Plaintiffs' agents sent Comcast hundreds of thousands of Notices about specific instances of infringements of Plaintiffs' Works using Comcast's internet services.
For example, Plaintiffs' agent sent over 100,000 Notices to Defendant concerning infringement of the movie I Feel Pretty using Comcast internet services and Comcast IP addresses.
Despite knowledge of specific infringements, Comcast continued to provide infringing accounts with services essential to infringement.
As alleged above, Comcast knew, had reason to know, or was willfully blind to, copyright infringements using internet service and IP addresses provided by and controlled by Comcast, including knowledge of repeat infringements from Comcast IP addresses.
But Comcast did not take meaningful action to prevent ongoing infringements by these Comcast users. Comcast failed to terminate the accounts associated with these IP addresses or otherwise take any meaningful action in response to these Notices.
Comcast often failed to even forward the Notices to its internet service customers or otherwise inform them about the Notice or its contents. 88. Instead, Comcast continued to provide the internet access and services necessary for users to commit further online piracy. Comcast continued to provide access to the internet from the IP addresses that infringers used to pirate movies.
Comcast also continued to transmit copies of Plaintiffs' Works to a user's computer for infringing reproduction, infringing public performance, and/or infringing public display when a user was downloading a Work. And Comcast continued to transmit copies of Plaintiffs' Works from a user's computer to distribute the Work, and for reproduction, public performance, and public display.
The provision of these internet services is an essential step in the third-party infringements, and substantially magnifies the underlying infringements.
Torrent Sites being used
The torrent sites alleged to be used by customers include:
- The Pirate Bay
- seleZen (Russia)
Other Plaintiff's in the lawsuit
Here is the full list of Plaintiffs who have joined in the lawsuit:
- Voltage Holdings, LLC
- Voltage Pictures, LLC
- After II Movie, LLC
- After We Fell Productions, LTD
- Venice PI
- Bedeviled, LLC
- Colossal Movie Productions, LLC
- Dallas Buyers Club, LLC
- YAR Productions, Inc.
- Wonder One, LLC
- REP Productions 12 LTD
- Fun Mom Dinner, LLC
- Chase Film Nevada, LLC
- H Films, Inc.
- Ammo Entertainment, LLC
- SF Film, LLC
- MON, LLC
- Goldenrod Holdings, LLC
- Rep Productions Scandi, LTD.
Contact a Copyright Torrent Defense Law Firm
Our Copyright Defense Law Firm has handled hundreds of cases, both in and out of federal court alleging DMCA violations, Direct, contributory and vicarious copyright infringement, 1202 CMI violations, BitTorrent illegal downloads, photo infringement and other copyright claims. In fact, Vondran Legalr was identified by Unicourt.com as the #1 copyright infringement defense law firm in 2020, 2021 and we are poised to repeat in 2022 (in terms of number of federal copyright cases handled). We have appeared in over 330 federal court infringement matters. If you receive a ISP subpoena, notice of infringement, photo infringement demand letter, software audit demand letter, or Strike 3 Holdings lawsuit, call us to discuss at (877) 276-5084. You can also fill out our contact form and we will contact you. When it comes to this area of law, there is no substitute for hiring the best copyright and technology lawyer possible.