Federal Judge smacks down porn copyright trolls: IP addresses are not people

Malibu Media is a well known porn troll that has filed over a thousand lawsuits, all of which regard allegations of illegal downloads of pornography that Malibu holds the copyright to. Sometimes this involved tactics of attaching lewd movie titles to the claim that Malubu didn't even own, merely as an attempt to harass and bully the defendants.

A federal judge in Florida wasn't falling for Malibu's troll tactics however, as last week Judge Ursula Ungaro threw out Malubu's lawsuits and ruled that there is nothing that links the identity of the alleged pirate to the IP address that Malibu was providing. 

"There is nothing that links the IP address location to the identity of the person actually downloading and viewing Plaintiff’s videos, and establishing whether that person lives in this district." - Judge Ungaro 

Malibu attempted to justify that the geolocation technology used is always accurate, but aside from being a ridiculous claim, the judge established that a geolocation is still not sufficient to incriminate a specific person. 

An example of this is to consider the concept of a shared car: If 10 people share a car, then just having the license plate of the car is not sufficient to prove who was driving the car at some specific time. Likewise with IP addresses, it merely establishes that that specific internet connection was used, however it doesn't establish who the user was.

"Even if this IP address is located within a residence, the geolocation software cannot identify who has access to that residence’s computer and who would actually be using it to infringe Plaintiff’s copyright." - Judge Ungaro 

Going further than that, we can establish that because we don't know the identity of the person, we don't know whether or not the accused person lives in the correct district, state, or even country for that trial to take place. Using the car example, a friend from out of town may have borrowed the car, or a relative from another country may have requested to use it.

Judge Ungaro understood this concept well and wasn't even remotely mislead by Malibu's legal team: she quickly pointed out that they cannot prove who the user was, and dismissed the case. Adding insult to injury, her ruling also specified that Malibu's geolocation technology can't even prove that the alleged pirate is even in the correct district, so Malibu wasn't even able to establish that the case should even be heard in her courtroom.

This is another nail in the coffin for copyright trolls, and hopefully this ruling sets precedent for other cases based on the same dubious evidence to be thrown out.

The full ruling can be read here.

Source: ArsTechnica, Archive | Image via BGR

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prenda_Law

> Prenda Law, also known as Steele | Hansmeier PLLP and Anti-Piracy Law Group, was a Chicago-based law firm that ostensibly operated by undertaking litigation against copyright piracy, but was later characterized by the United States District Court for Central California in a June 2013 ruling as a "porno-trolling collective"

More of this type of common sense needs to spread elsewhere throughout the Judicial system on all levels--Federal, State, and Local.

It's time for judges to understand that an IP addess is not a proof. It's good enough to get a search warrant but that's all.

LaP said,
It's time for judges to understand that an IP addess is not a proof. It's good enough to get a search warrant but that's all.

Search warrant for who? Which items/rooms would they be allowed to search?

Its not enough for anything.

Geolocation isn't even accurate look at my IP address and it'll tell you I live 500Kms away from where I actually am or have those twats never heard of CGNat

Let me guess, no-one from Malibu Media was available for comment.
Probably because their spokesperson didn't want a black eye for being an idiot.