Filmmakers Against VPNs: “They Help Piracy and Do Nothing to Prevent It”

Over twenty filmmakers have condemned Private Internet Access (PIA) and Express VPN International in yet another chapter in the fight against VPNs (or Virtual Private Networks), solutions to circumvent the restrictions used to limit the spread of content.

VPNs are typically used to mask your connection and allow you to, for example, browse sites that have been blocked in one country, or to access online platforms, such as streaming services available elsewhere.

In particular, Wired said, the accusation is that people through VPNs are infringing the copyright of movies and TV series, and that VPN operators are not only doing something to prevent it, but on the contrary, are taking advantage of them to promote their services.

The accusations

The two companies cited in court by 26 filmmakers do not collect user data, and in case of copyright infringement or other illegal activities performed while the connection was protected by a VPN, no information can be passed on to law enforcement. : because companies do not have that information.

In other words,
the accusation is that VPNs encourage online piracy and filmmakers have sued PIA and Express VPN on the grounds that they refuse to prevent users from committing illegal acts.

The European Union, the United States and 32 other states have signed the Declaration on the Future of the Internet

Go to the elaboration

The document states that film companies have accused VPNs of being “an important tool for people who want to pirate content through P2P networks“emphasizes the anonymization of network traffic.

In fact, according to the indictment, those who use VPNs indulge in other illegal activities such as “illegal hacking and murder“because their identity is protected and companies”they use these tragic events as an opportunity to promote their VPN services“, which shows that they guarantee anonymity.

The documents also refer to the political views of some people who are part of the VPN operators. One of these is Rick Falkvinge, PIA’s privacy officer and founder of the Swedish Pirate Party, who, among other things, proposes to revise copyright laws and allow the free distribution of non-commercial audiovisual content.

The companies defended themselves by arguing that the allegations concerning the murder cases or cyber attacks are irrelevant to the case of copyright infringement and that they are only used to put VPN operators in a bad light and influence the jury.

Previous cases: banning BitTorrent and registering IP addresses

In the past, some VPN operators have succumbed to requests from filmmakers: TorGuard has banned BitTorrent and so has VPN.ht, which in addition has also begun collecting information about its users’ IP addresses. Another company that does not collect data about its users, LiquidVPN, has had to pay $ 14 million to some production companies for copyright infringement.

A representative of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group raising awareness of civil liberties on the Internet, defined “extreme and not supported by law“the allegations made by filmmakers.

In a note sent to Wired, EFF senior lawyer Mitch Stoltz added that if VPN operators start monitoring their users’ activities as required in this lawsuit, “it would undermine the whole feeling of a VPN service, which should protect people’s communication on the Internet from being overheard“.

Stoltz pointed out, however, that the use of marketing phrases that flash into the possibility of pirating content via VPNs is an easy goal in a legal battle. In fact, when this is not advertised, companies will “they cannot be held liable even when some users violate them“of the laws.

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