The United States Copyright Group has filed a brief that threatens to sue Time Warner Company (TWC) for copyright infringement if the company does not reveal the information about consumers who downloaded films using the BitTorrent application. However, civil rights groups have asked the court to block the subpoena.
The law firm filed the brief on behalf of a group of independent film producers, including those behind “The Hurt Locker,” who are planning to simultaneously sue thousands of BitTorrent users for allegedly downloading pirated movies, according to Wired.com.
However, TWC claims that complying with the request would take so much time that it would make it impossible for the company to comply with any law enforcement requests for information, as it only keeps its IP backup logs for six months, the news provider stated.
In addition, civil rights groups have criticized the way the brief has been framed, saying it may violate individuals’ rights to privacy and due process.
"Lumping thousands of unconnected individuals into a few cases in a court far from where they live, without providing them adequate notice and a real opportunity to challenge the subpoenas, is not [the way to do it]," said Aden Fine, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Speech, Privacy and Technology Project.
Arthur Spitzer, legal director of the ACLU in Washington, D.C., added that people have the right to view internet content anonymously, and that if someone wants to find out their identities, they must "make an adequate factual showing in a proper court, whether the anonymous individual is accused of copyright infringement, defamation or any other improper conduct."