Verizon Refuses to Reveal Subscriber Details in BitTorrent Case

May 12, 2012 12:00 PM PST

NEW YORK — Verizon is starting to refuse handing over names of subscribers accused of pirating content through BitTorrent networks.

One of the reasons given by Verizon to a recent BitTorrent plaintiff  is that the plantiff plans “to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of litigation” by demanding such information for improper purposes.

The plaintiff in the controversy is a non-adult company, the John Wiley and Sons company,  publisher of the “For Dummies” books, which is suing those alleged to have traded some of its books online.

Wiley and Sons has been an active BitTorrent plaintiff, suing hundreds of John Does in the past year. The book publisher has been able to subpoena Internet service providers for the personal details of account holders numerous times in courts.

With those details, Wiley has been able to approach defendants and negotiate out-of-court settlements.

Most ISPs typically hand over the data with court-ordered subpoenas, but Verizon has balked in this case.

Verizon, in a response to Wiley, says that the book publisher is seeking “information that is protected from disclosure by third parties’ rights of privacy and protections guaranteed by the First Amendment.”

Wiley, which has agreed to compensate Verizon $45 for each subscriber it gives details about, has asked a federal judge to compel Verizon to respond to the subpoenas.

U.S. Judge Katherine Forrest has scheduled a telephone conference with parties on Monday to decide the matter.

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