IP address does not prove online piracy, US judge says in landmark ruling
The studio argued that “the defendants either (a) downloaded the pirated film themselves, or (b) permitted, facilitated, or promoted the use of their Internet connections by others to download the film,” according to TorrentFreak.
Washington District Judge Robert Lasnik said this week that the rationale is insufficient, in part because it begins with the assumption of guilt. Ruling on a motion to dismiss the claim, Lasnik sided with the defendants because the conditions described in complaint section b were overly vague.
“[The movie studio] has actually alleged no more than the named defendants purchased Internet access and failed to ensure that others did not use that access to download copyrighted material,” the judge wrote.
Lasnik also said that there was no proof that the person who could wind up facing a lawsuit was in fact the person who chose to download the copy of ‘Elf Man.’
“Simply identifying the account holder associated with an IP address tells us very little about who actually downloaded ‘Elf Man’ using that IP address,” he wrote. “While it is possibly that the subscriber is the one who participated in the BitTorrent swarm, it is also possible that a family member, guest, or freeloader engaged in the infringing conduct.”