Moviemakers sue VPN service for promoting and facilitating piracy

midian182

Posts: 7,085   +62
Staff member
What just happened? We've seen plenty of piracy websites feel the full wrath of copyright lawsuits in the past, but VPNs have avoided any legal repercussions. That's about to change, however, as the makers of several movies have filed two lawsuits against LiquidVPN's former and current owners, accusing them of promoting and facilitating piracy.

As reported by TorrentFreak, a group of connected movie production outfits whose films include "Automata" and "I feel pretty" has already pursued legal action against file-sharers and piracy sites. Now, it is going after Michigan resident David Cox and his company SMR Hosting, which allegedly operated LiquidVPN until early 2019. It is also suing the current owners: Puerto Rican company 1701 Management and its sole shareholder Charles Muszynsky.

While VPNs can make identifying and tracking people's online activities more difficult, they're usually classed as neutral services not responsible for their users' actions. But the movie companies say LiquidVPN actively promotes its service "for the purpose of movie piracy" and is therefore "liable for direct and contributory copyright infringement and DMCA violations."

The lawsuit notes that LiquidVPN's website claims the service is the 'Best VPN for Torrenting and P2P Filesharing today,' a statement that sits over an image of The Pirate Bay. There's also an entire section of the site dedicated to Popcorn Time, the free software BitTorrent client featuring an integrated media player.

"The LiquidVPN defendants further state, 'Experience everything Popcorn Time has to offer in the United States and the UK. Except the risks', 'Stream Content Anonymously. Why bother risking complaints from your ISP, settlement demands, threats and jail time for streaming your favorite TV show'," reads the lawsuits.

The plaintiffs seek damages of up to $150,000 for each pirated movie, statutory damages of $25,000 for alleged DMCA violations, and other fees. They also want the defendants to "block subscribers from accessing notorious piracy websites," "block ports 6881-6889," and to adopt a policy that "provides for the prompt termination of subscribers that engage in repeat infringements."

Permalink to story.

 

Kirby1

Posts: 118   +185
Pointing out that their service makes it easier to download things illegally is a bad move for sure, however suing one company for it will change absolutely nothing other than the marketing words they using in the future.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 959   +1,774
I know is such a long shot as to be guaranteed never to happen but I kind of want a VPN company to sort of fight back only to find out on discovery how region locks are inherently anti consumer adding what gets my vote for the most useless of middlemen in the digital distribution age: local distributors.

I bet it would show that companies *know* that local distributors are losing money in the exact same rate physical media (And in 2020, movie theater attendance) has faded out of fashion in terms of digital distribution, because duh: There is 0 reason to require a local distributor when well, NOTHING IS LOCALLY DISTRIBUTED anymore on Netflix and such.
 

BadThad

Posts: 617   +657
Movies and media in general is so cheap to buy these days pirating movies is not really needed. Hard to believe there are so many cheap b@stards out there they can't afford $5 to watch a movie?
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 959   +1,774
Movies and media in general is so cheap to buy these days pirating movies is not really needed. Hard to believe there are so many cheap b@stards out there they can't afford $5 to watch a movie?

Actually it is often needed, but mostly due to production companies intentionally blocking off content abroad, perfectly fulfilling what Gave said many, many years ago about how piracy simply means your distribution is a failure. Except now it's intentionally so (See my post above)

The reality for anyone abroad is that American companies enter agreements with local distributors who distribute, well sometimes nothing at all. They just make all their money from sitting on the rights for content and not do a thing with them at all. So piracy is actually the *only* way to watch certain movies and shows, specially old ones (That should be public domain anyway but aren't cause that doesn't makes as much money as doing nothing at all with the content....Apparently)
 

terzaerian

Posts: 982   +1,421
Movies and media in general is so cheap to buy these days pirating movies is not really needed. Hard to believe there are so many cheap b@stards out there they can't afford $5 to watch a movie?
What Dimitriid said, plus the fact that means sending money to human traffickers, corrupt capitalists and ideologues that hate me. Piracy in 2021 is as much about spitting in Hollywood's eye as anything else... if only there was anything new coming out worth pirating.

As for VPNs, this is why I use ProtonVPN. They accept crypto, minimal logs (e.g. just that you logged in/logged out of the service), and are based in Switzerland. I'm glad YouTubers have been raising awareness of VPNs through their sponsored reads but a lot of the VPNs they peddle are half-assed. Proton is the real deal, short of rolling your own.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,167   +6,925
At best I give them a 50/50 chance of winning but one things for sure, WESTLAW will have one heck of a write up no matter which way it goes!
 

ZipperBoi

Posts: 86   +147
Movies and media in general is so cheap to buy these days pirating movies is not really needed. Hard to believe there are so many cheap b@stards out there they can't afford $5 to watch a movie?
Cant watch a newly released big budget movie in Full HD or 4K for $5. On any service. Thats just BS. Its usually like $10 to rent in HD and $19.00 to buy in 4K which is basically the cost of the blu ray. Pirating is still 100% viable. $100 a year subscription, I can download 5 brand new movies in great quality and a few TV shows and the VPN more than pays for itself. Unless your a pleb and are fine watching old movies in standard def.
 

duckofdeath

Posts: 448   +586
Pointing out that their service makes it easier to download things illegally is a bad move for sure, however suing one company for it will change absolutely nothing other than the marketing words they using in the future.
Suing one lets them get it into official legal papers, an easy win in subsequent lawsuits. Their lawyers will obviously work hard to broaden the wording in that conviction as much as possible to be able to use it as a tool to go after the rest.
 

Edito

Posts: 133   +51
They can sue all they want but fact is, if the services are only available in US people will download using torrents or other means... at least with VPN people are using to access those services not for free... people are paying for HBO Max, Netflix, Amazon, Disney+ etc to use those services via VPN but blocking VPN to access it all the people will simple download for free.
 

Ludak021

Posts: 529   +387
Movies and media in general is so cheap to buy these days pirating movies is not really needed. Hard to believe there are so many cheap b@stards out there they can't afford $5 to watch a movie?

Yes, there are people working for $500 or less per month, they save and maintain their PC and that's all they can afford. Those people are left with little recourse because they were not born in a money pit like USA.
Arrogant prick. There are more people from USA pirating stuff than poor people around the world. They use VPNs, poor people can't affor $5/month for VPN + good luck persecuting them in, say, Nigeria.
 

tellmewhy

Posts: 102   +50
It’s like they fire fireworks in the sky at night and demand not look them if you don’t pay them. And then sue the sky and the people because they have eyes.

If they don’t want the information of the movies over the internet they have not to distribute them everywhere else except theaters.
Information it’s not like a physical product where only one can have it each time. So there is no damage because they still have what they had and before.

Theaters suffer from pandemic as many others. That’s irrelevant.

And if studios win the case vpns have to take the court decision as a start point and sue the ICANN and demand to remove from internet all domains in US have to do with movies including Netflix and similar because they allow movies to be copied “illegally” as the court decision approved. They have to sue and dvd distribution companies too etc.
 
Last edited:

BadThad

Posts: 617   +657
Yes, there are people working for $500 or less per month, they save and maintain their PC and that's all they can afford. Those people are left with little recourse because they were not born in a money pit like USA.
Arrogant prick. There are more people from USA pirating stuff than poor people around the world. They use VPNs, poor people can't affor $5/month for VPN + good luck persecuting them in, say, Nigeria.

Maybe they shouldn't be spending money on movies (or VPN or anything else except food) if they're that broke?
 

pmshah

Posts: 173   +35
Since when is P2P file sharing and Torrenting illegal? Then they can start suing IBM and MS, just to name two, who use Resilio Sync which shares and syncs file across their global servers using torrent protocol. It is absolutely the only method which can guarantee 100% perfect copy / transfer of even files that could be running in Tera Byte size and taking ages to transfer including and in spite of several breaks in connectivity that might occur. So when is the judge going to toss the suit and penalise these *******s for frivolous charges?

BTW, knife manufactures better not advertise their "Butcher Knives" lest some stupid LEA charges them for advertising products that are or MAY be used by the Jihadis for decapitating "kaffirs" !!!
 
Pointing out that their service makes it easier to download things illegally is a bad move for sure, however suing one company for it will change absolutely nothing other than the marketing words they using in the future.

Actually if this lawsuit were to succeed it would set a precedent that could be used to go after other VPN services. They could claim that by advertising they offer P2P access they are facilitating copyright infringement and breaking the DMCA laws and then force other VPN services to shut down their appropriate streaming and P2P ports. It would be a relevant the exact wording of the advertisement. Just referencing that they offer the facilitation of such things in the advertisement would probably be considered sufficient especially in this cancel culture climate that is fostered by the Demoncrats in power in the United States. This is another reason to do everything in your power whenever you have an election to not cast a vote for any Demoncratic party member. Even if you do not support Republicans do not vote demon Cratic right in anyone’s name even Mickey Mouse or Minnie mouse.
 

BobHome

Posts: 113   +47
Movies and media in general is so cheap to buy these days pirating movies is not really needed. Hard to believe there are so many cheap b@stards out there they can't afford $5 to watch a movie?
Try buying anime in the USA. $5? Where? Best Buy just had a sale on one that retails for $90--and that's a movie, not even a series.
 

BobHome

Posts: 113   +47
Actually if this lawsuit were to succeed it would set a precedent that could be used to go after other VPN services. They could claim that by advertising they offer P2P access they are facilitating copyright infringement and breaking the DMCA laws and then force other VPN services to shut down their appropriate streaming and P2P ports. It would be a relevant the exact wording of the advertisement. Just referencing that they offer the facilitation of such things in the advertisement would probably be considered sufficient especially in this cancel culture climate that is fostered by the Demoncrats in power in the United States. This is another reason to do everything in your power whenever you have an election to not cast a vote for any Demoncratic party member. Even if you do not support Republicans do not vote demon Cratic right in anyone’s name even Mickey Mouse or Minnie mouse.
So if a store sells carving knives for cooking and someone uses one to kill another, should (kitchen) knives not be sold?
The challenge on this planet is everything has a Plus and a Minus. I remember when atomic power was supposed to be for powering cars and homes, but it's biggest use became bombs. Humans.... :)
 

terzaerian

Posts: 982   +1,421
So if a store sells carving knives for cooking and someone uses one to kill another, should (kitchen) knives not be sold?
The challenge on this planet is everything has a Plus and a Minus. I remember when atomic power was supposed to be for powering cars and homes, but it's biggest use became bombs. Humans.... :)
You've got it backwards, the bomb came first, nuclear power after, in 1957. Fun fact, that reactor also came from a cancelled aircraft carrier.