Court Orders Pornhub to Expose Copyright Infringers

A federal court in California has ordered Pornhub to hand over names, email addresses, IP addresses, and other identifying information related to uploaders of pirated videos. The subpoena was requested by a producer of adult content which listed more than 1,000 infringing videos on the streaming service.

As one of the largest websites on the Internet to largely rely on user uploaded content, Pornhub is no stranger to copyright infringement allegations.

Similar to other video streaming services, the company maintains a DMCA takedown policy which allows rightsholders to remove content posted without permission.

“We take claims of copyright infringement seriously,” the company states, adding that it reserves the right to terminate the accounts of repeat infringers.

“Responses may include removing, blocking or disabling access to material claimed to be the subject of infringing activity, terminating the user’s access to www.pornhub.com, or all of the foregoing.”

Most porn production companies restrict their enforcement efforts to sending takedown requests, but for some that is not enough. The Seychelles-based company Foshan Ltd, known for the “Wankz” brand, has gone a step further and wants to know who uploaded its videos to the site.

Last week the company obtained a DMCA subpoena from a federal court in California, which orders the adult video portal to identify and expose the uploaders of more than 1,000 copies of its videos.

The request for a DMCA subpoena was granted by a court clerk a day after it was filed. As a result, Pornhub now has until May 1st to hand over the requested information unless it decides to appeal.

The subpoena

The subpoena is rather broad and compels Pornhub to hand over all the information it has available on the uploaders. This includes names, email addresses, IP addresses, user and posting histories, physical addresses, telephone numbers, and any other identifying or account information.

TorrentFreak reached out to Pornhub to find out how the company plans to respond and what personal information it has available on users. However, at the time of publication we were yet to hear back.

It is unclear what Foshan is planning to do if they obtain the personal information of the uploaders. It is likely, however, that they’re considering legal action against one or more persons, if the evidence is sufficient.

As far as we’re aware, this is the first time that a rightsholder has used a DMCA subpoena to obtain information about Pornhub uploaders. And since its a relatively cheap and easy way to expose infringers, this might not be the last.

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