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Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) Is Fed Up With This Porn Troll

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ)

Verizon Communications Inc. has faced dozens of porn lawsuits in the past one year. Most of them were from one adult film maker, Malibu Media. Malibu, the studio behind the ‘X-Art’ movies, is known as the most litigious copyright holders in the country. Since 2009, it has filed more than 4,000 lawsuits over online piracy. These accuse users, using an IP address, of downloads of its work via BitTorrent.

Verizon Wireless

Malibu’s lawsuits seldom go to trial. Instead, the porn maker gets an order from court that allows it to ask ISPs to expose those accused. The user is then forced to [pay a few thousand dollars to make the case go away, or defend themselves in court.

Verizon Decides to Fight Back

Verizon Communications Inc. has often responded to thousands of such subpoenas from Malibu without ever complaining. But a broad subpoena arrived a few days ago, demanding Verizon hand over one of its subscriber’s private data.

In its September 22 subpoena, Malibu asked for a number of things including info about “the rental of modems or other equipment”, the firm’s “policies and procedures for renting equipment or suggesting that customers secure modems”, and how the user used the service.

Verizon Communications Inc. decided enough was enough. It was time it fought back Malibu’s dragnet tactics. So this Monday, the firm filed a motion to quash Malibu’s newest subpoena.

The wireless giant argues that it has already given Malibu the name and contact info of the person, whose IP address is in question.

The info sought by the X-Art maker should be sought “(if at all) from defendant,” Verizon said.

The firm said it “does not monitor or obtain information about which members of a household use an IP address, or whether a subscriber’s Internet connection is secured or shared by friends, neighbors, or others. The defendant alone would have that information.”

Verizon Communications Inc. further argued that the data looked for by Malibu is beyond the scope of the law. It could not share the info without written consent from the user involved.

Malibu Media Has a History of Using Harassment Tactics

Malibu is one of the country’s most active copyright trolls. But it often looks to adopt devious means in going after users. It has drawn protest from some courts for its methods.

Just last month, Malibu received a big rap on its knuckles from New York judge Katherine Forrest. The studio had sought license to go after an accused person’s spouse and neighbors for info

The firm was not allowed to do that. The judge said that it would amount to  “a fishing expedition and/or harassment of defendant.”

In 2013, Florida District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro ruled that the firm did not have the right to sue a person just because his PC was used to download the content. The Florida judge said  that an IP address is not enough to pin point who had access to the PC when the alleged crime took place.

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