Movie studios: Reddit should have to identify users who have discussed piracy

Movie studios: Reddit should have to identify users who have discussed piracy

The Wild West in Reddit has long since been tamed – especially those who were there in the early days know that. Especially when it comes to file sharing, there is hardly a subreddit left. They were all banned or had to conform to strict guidelines. And although the file sharers have long since moved on and direct links are a rarity, the film industry is demanding more influence.

Coming in in the US case from 2021 against the ISP RCN. It’s about 34 movies – underneath hell boy, Rambo V: Last Blood, Teslaand The Hitman’s Bodyguard rights holders Bodyguard Productions, Millennium Media and others. The plaintiffs are seeking Reddit’s help in this case: They should come out of the nine suspects “IP address registration and logs from 01/01/2016 to date, name, email address and other account registration information”. It is about identifying the user. But probably not to prosecute them, but as a tool in the lawsuit against RCN.

As a reminder: In the USA, a tree strikes principle applies, according to which Internet service providers should block access if users have been warned three times. In practice, the strictness of the provider varies. And Reddit doesn’t really want to be biased either.

“Lie in the nature of a fishing trip”

Reddit’s response provided at least some information about one user, but no information about the other eight. According to the film studios, Reddit argued that “the requests for identifying information related to the additional eight accounts are more in the nature of a fishing trip and are neither relevant nor allowable under the First Amendment.”

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Copyright lawyers don’t like snappy answers at all and they now want to have it clarified whether Reddit has to provide information or not. The plaintiff film companies have filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California submitted an applicationto force Reddit to comply on the report.

“The evidence requested by Plaintiff in Reddit’s Section 45 subpoena is clearly relevant and proportionate to the needs of the case,” the studios’ motion states. Reddit users’ comments allegedly demonstrate “that RCN does not have a reasonable policy to terminate repeat offenders”, that “RCN controls the behavior of its subscribers and monitors its subscribers’ access” and “that the ability to act freely without consequences an incentive was to become a subscriber to RCN”. One of the nine Reddit users commented on RCN’s policy on Reddit: “RCN seems pretty lax… I checked before I switched and had few problems.”

Evidence of the ‘rather lax’ policy

But Reddit doesn’t want to give out the required data: “The post […] mentions RCN, but is eight years old, well past the three-year statute of limitations that we know applies to the matter. This argument misses the point. The plaintiffs want […] shall not be held liable for copyright infringement. Rather, the plaintiffs want the testimony […] as evidence of RCN’s ‘rather lax’ policy on terminating repeat offenders and that this ‘rather lax’ policy was an incentive to become a customer. Although the testimony was made eight years ago, plaintiffs can use the information requested in the subpoena to [den Nutzer] to contact and authenticate her/his post to obtain evidence of her claims.”

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Unsurprisingly, the plaintiffs think little of the argument. In fact, the point is probably not to prosecute Reddit users for file sharing, but to support the case against RCA, where “there is no monitoring of the access of the participants and there is no way to control the behavior of the participants […]”. A 13-year-old post “notes that RCN has the technical capabilities. If RCN was able to do that 13 years ago, it certainly still is.”

We just want to talk

“The plaintiffs are not seeking to take any economic or legal action against these users. Rather, the plaintiffs merely wish to discuss the users’ comments and use their comments as evidence that RCN monitors and controls the behavior of its subscribers, that RCN does not have a meaningful policy to cessation of repeated violations and that this lax or lack of policy was an incentive to use the RCN service.” Two of the users whose data is wanted said they work for an ISP. There may be hope that they are associated with RCN, but Reddit argues they “are irrelevant as they don’t seem to mention RCN at all,” while plaintiffs argue that they were “either in a discussion thread about RCN’s policies or via an ISP with ‘lax policies’, which is most likely an ISP that is a member of the Astound group that manages RCN.” One has to ask oneself anyway how cooperative even one of these nine users is.

Source: torrent geek