Piracy

New ‘LiquidVPN’ Owner and Companies That Supported the Tool Sued in U.S. Court

By Bill Toulas / May 6, 2021

A large group of copyright holders consisting of 41 movie-making studios, producers, distributors, and entities that protect the interests of rightsholders, have submitted a first amended complaint and demand for jury trial against LiquidVPN. The list of the defendants has been expanded compared to the March lawsuit, now also including AUH20 LLC, Talismark, Waste Professionals LLC, Quadranet Enterprises, Charles Muszynski, Marci Babione, Michael Gamache, and up to 100 John Does.

LiquidVPN found legal trouble previously for promoting its use together with Popcorn Time and Showbox, making claims like keeping pirates safe from identification and generally encouraging copyright-infringing activities. The lawsuit submitted two months ago requested the court to consider awarding statutory damages of $150k per infringed work, $25k for DMCA violations, and litigation costs. Most importantly, though, it requested the blocking of the BitTorrent protocol support on the product and the enforcement of the adoption of a policy that prevents subscribers from accessing pirating portals.

The new motion submitted in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida ups the statutory damages to $2,000,000, adding willful infringement of the Popcorn Time trademark (belongs to one of the plaintiffs), on top of the prayers for relief included in the Florida Court case. The inclusion of QuadraNet pertains to the fact that the company supplies internet services to LiquidVPN while willfully ignoring the hundreds of thousands of notices of infringement sent by the plaintiffs.

Muszynski is targeted as the current owner of LiquidVPN, whereas in the March 2021 motion, the plaintiffs went after David Cox and his company SMR Hosting, as he was the previous owner of the VPN product. As explained by the plaintiffs, Muszynski used various alter-egos like, for example, “Frederick Douglas” and purchased the product shortly before his ex-wife won an "alimony and equitable distribution" order against him in a Florida court. As such, the plaintiffs believe the man bought LiquidVPN to hide money from his ex-wife.

Michael Gamache is a high school buddy of Myszynski and is also using a false alias such as “Jamie Castro.” He is listed as liable for direct copyright infringements, DMCA violations, material contribution, intentional inducement, and vicarious infringement. As it seems, Gamache was mostly dealing with in-person promotion and selling of the LiquidVPN service to individuals residing in Florida.

And as for the 100 Does, these are users of the LiquidVPN product who are expected to be identified by their IP address and targeted for statutory damages for copyright infringement that can be as high as $150,000.



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