Hollywood Vs VPN providers’ fight turns ugly, with many filmmakers trying to recoup lost revenue due to piracy. According to the VPN companies are encouraging online privacy with evidence that their customers are abusing the privacy and security provided by virtual private networks.
Additionally, they have also accused VPN providers of enabling illegal activity far beyond copyright infringement. Led legal experts in challenging the notion that VPNs should exist at all.
Millennium, Voltage, and others behind a slate of popular films brought allegations against ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access (PIA), popular “no-log” VPN companies owned by Kape Technologies of user privacy.
VPN offers privacy protection as it encrypts users’ online activity by rerouting it through the company server. This hides the user’s IP address, many VPN providers do not maintain logs of their users’ internet activities. This means in case of a police complaint or compliance with copyright infringement, this data cannot be accessed by the VPN providers. According to the film companies the VPN providers are culpable in any crimes committed while using their services since they are not able to provide comprehensive encryption.
The lawsuit, filed in US District Court in Colorado reads, “Emboldened by Defendants’ promises that their identities cannot be disclosed, Defendants’ end-users use their VPN services not only to engage in widespread movie piracy, but other outrageous criminal conduct such as harassment, illegal hacking, and murder. When these crimes become public, Defendants use these tragic incidents as opportunities to boast about their VPN services.”
ExpressVPN spokesperson said, “operation of ExpressVPN’s service has not been changed or otherwise impacted in any way relevant to the parties’ dispute.”
On the other hand, PIA maintains the litigation jeopardizes user privacy and it will keep fighting in court. The company said, “We assert that the use of VPNs is a legitimate way to protect one’s online privacy—a fundamental human right, which is increasingly in jeopardy of infringement.”
Earlier VPN company TorGuard was forced to block BitTorrent for its US users. Further in October 2021, to not only block BitTorrent but also to log the traffic on its US servers.
Surfshark, VPN Unlimited, and Zenmate are the other VPN players taken to court by Hollywood studios.
Mitch Stoltz, a senior staff attorney at EFF said, “In contrast, a VPN that doesn’t advertise or encourage infringing uses generally won’t be liable in court even if some users do infringe. That’s an important legal protection for VPN providers, who provide an important service that would be undermined if they were faced with broad monitoring and blocking requirements.”