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Another VPN sued over allegations it facilitates piracy

By | Published on Monday 11 July 2022


Some of the independent movie producers that have been busy, busy of late filing lawsuits in the US against various internet companies for not doing enough to combat piracy have sued another VPN, this time VeePN.

This consortium of movie producers initially followed the lead of the music industry in going after internet service providers based on the argument those companies were not doing enough to deal with infringing content and infringing customers on their networks to benefit from the good old copyright safe harbour. And, without safe harbour protection, those internet companies could be held liable for the copyright infringement of their users.

However, these lawsuits have often gone further than those filed by the music industry, both in terms of the remedies being sought by the copyright owners, and also the kinds of internet companies being targeted. And that includes virtual private networks – or VPNs.

Music companies are also keen for internet companies beyond conventional ISPs to play a more proactive role in combatting piracy. However, the movie industry is often more focused on VPNs, which can also be used to circumvent the geo-blocking that is much more common with TV and film content on legit streaming platforms. Indeed, some VPNs actively promote the circumvention of geo-blocking as a reason to make use of their services.

That said, VeePN – the movie producers argue – goes even further than that, telling prospective users that their service means people can make use of out-right piracy platforms without the risk of being caught by litigious copyright owners.

“[Some] VPN providers emphasise in advertisements that they delete their end users’ log access records so their identities will never be disclosed to copyright owners or law enforcement”, the new lawsuit states. “Emboldened by these promises that their identities will never be disclosed, end users use the VPN services to engage in widespread movie piracy while openly boasting of their piracy and outrageous criminal conduct such as illegal hacking and theft”.

VeePN is one such VPN provider, the movie producers claim. For example, they say, after earlier litigation by the producers forced another service called VPN.HT to stop actively promoting itself as a way for people to hide their use of movie piracy platform Popcorn Time, “VeePN began promoting itself as ‘Popcorn Time VPN’ and operating under a similar profitable scheme to take advantage of prolific pirates’ fear of getting caught”.

Not only that, but “VeePN takes it a step further and even promotes its VPN service on the notorious piracy website YTS as an essential tool to download copies of plaintiffs’ movies without ‘getting fined by legal action!'”

We await to see if and how the latest VPN to be targeted with anti-piracy litigation responds.