The PIA's attorneys argue that the allegations must be withdrawn from the case because they are “completely irrelevant” Served for ৷ in this paragraph. “
ExpressVPN and PIA have denied the allegations in a statement to Wired. A spokesman for ExpressVPN also stressed that “the operation of the ExpressVPN service has not been changed or otherwise affected in the context of the parties' dispute.”
The PIA has maintained that this lawsuit endangers user privacy and therefore it will continue to fight in court. “We strongly believe that the use of VPNs is a legitimate way to protect one's online privacy, a fundamental human right that is at risk of increasing violations,” the company said.
Legal counsel representing movie studios did not respond to WIRED's request for comment.
Although Hollywood has waged legal battles around the world for years, its fight against the VPN industry in the United States has intensified over the past year. VPN company TorGuard, for example, has entered into legal hot water with the same group of plaintiffs who successfully forced the VPN provider to block BitTorrent traffic for its US users. And in October 2021, VPN.ht agreed with the filmmakers to not only block BitTorrent, but also to log traffic to its US servers. Hollywood studios have sued providers such as Surfshark, VPN Unlimited and GenMate.
Film company Voltage, which is part of a group of companies that regularly sue VPN providers, went one step further by sending letters to Internet customers demanding fines for alleged piracy and threatening legal action.
In March 2021, some similar production companies sued ExpressVPN and PIA, suing no-log VPN provider LiquidVPN for “encouragement and convenience” piracy. Film companies later demanded ১০ 10 million in damages from the company. A judge issued a default ruling against LiquidVPN this March, ordering studios to pay 14 million.
The lawsuit is based on the liquid marketing practice of LiquidVPN and claims that VPN is “optimized for torrenting” and allows you to “unblock ISP banned streams”. These strategies, the studios argued, encourage illegal use of the service by those who wish to avoid legal restrictions on accessing online content. They may be right.
According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an Internet civil liberties group, Hollywood's claims are “extreme and not supported by law.” But VPNs are also entering dangerous areas through their marketing strategies.
“The studios argued that a VPN provider And its hosting company They should have a legal obligation to monitor what their clients are doing with the service to see if copyright infringement is taking place, “said Mitch Staltz, a senior EFF staff attorney. “Not only the law, it will undermine the whole purpose of a VPN service, which is to protect people from internet snatching.”
Staltz warns, however, that bold marketing language used by VPNs, such as LiquidVPN's “Optimized for Torrenting” claim, could be considered a “temptation” in a legal context and carry liability for copyright infringement. For fear of heavy financial losses, VPN providers may instead suspend some of their services or settle out of court.
“Conversely, a VPN that does not encourage the use of advertising or infringing will generally not be liable in court even if some users do infringe,” Stoltz said. “This is an important legal protection for VPN providers, who provide an important service that would be compromised if they faced the need for extensive monitoring and blocking.”
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