(ATLANTA, May 11, 2015 ) — Birch Communications (“Birch”) a leading nationwide provider of communications, network and cloud services to small, mid-sized, enterprise and wholesale businesses, announced today a favorable ruling by the U.S. District Court in which a copyright litigant sought to use Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) subpoenas to obtain information about its customers’ online activities.
Rightscorp, a firm that represents assorted copyright holders, had served its subpoena to gain access to Birch’s customer information in an effort to identify customers claimed to have infringed its clients’ copyrighted content. Rightscorp had served similar subpoenas on dozens of other Internet Service Providers.
Acting on its customers’ behalf, Birch argued that it was not legally required to divulge the information and the court agreed. The DMCA did not provide any basis to require an Internet Service Provider in Birch’s position to open its files to private litigants. Because Birch acts simply as a conduit to Internet content, the court found that the rights owners could not use the DMCA subpoenas to obtain subscriber information.
On Tuesday, May 5, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia adopted the ruling and quashed Rightscorp’s subpoena.
“We safeguard our customer information and take privacy issues seriously,” said Birch President and Chief Executive Officer Vincent Oddo. “The U.S. District Court did the right thing by backing our view, and we’re very pleased to see that this case will serve to help protect our customers’ private information.”
“Our first order of business when anyone requests access to a customer’s private information is to refuse, absent a valid subpoena or court order, which we then scrutinize as we did with Rightscorp’s illegal subpoena in this matter,” said Christopher Bunce, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Birch. “Rightscorp’s attempt to gain access to our customers’ data was in essence a piracy fishing expedition.”
About Birch Communications
Birch Communications, Inc. is a leading nationwide provider of communications, network and cloud services. Recognized for its award-winning customer care, Birch manages a nationwide footprint that services small, mid-sized, enterprise and wholesale businesses. Its industry-leading product portfolio includes: managed communications, broadband, cloud solutions, Metro-Fiber, Metro-Ethernet, unified communications, data center and IT Services. For more information, visit birch.com.