You may have heard of the copyright lawsuits that Strike 3 Holdings LLC have been filing for years. They allege that individuals have illegally downloaded their adult films without paying the proper licensing fees.
Defendants often have little time to act and can face large fines as well as the risk of their name being tied to the case. Defendants usually become aware of the case when they receive a letter from their internet service provider (ISP) and a subpoena from Strike 3 Holdings.
Strike 3 Holdings typically requests the defendant’s name in what is called “expedited discovery”. This allows Strike 3 Holdings access to the defendant’s name, enabling them to amend the case to reflect the defendant’s name, resulting in a loss of anonymity.
Many defendants choose to settle anonymously, some choose to file a motion to quash, and others choose to fight in court. But some judges have pointed out that these lawsuits are no more than ‘copyright-trolling’, seemingly siding against Strike 3 Holdings.
Good News for Strike 3 Defendants?
While the results of each case have varied, a court in New Jersey recently denied Strike 3 Holdings’ requests for expedited discovery stating that Strike 3 Holdings had not “established good cause to request the discovery and the discovery is unreasonable under the present circumstances”.
According to the recent opinion by Magistrate Judge Joel Schneider, good cause does not exist because:
“(1) Strike 3 bases its complaints on unequivocal affirmative representations of alleged facts that it does not know to be true; (2) Strike 3’s subpoenas are misleading and create too great of an opportunity for misidentification; (3) the linchpin of Strike 3’s good cause argument, that expedited discovery is the only way to stop infringement of its works, is wrong; (4) Strike 3 has other available means to stop infringement besides suing individual subscribers in thousands of John Doe complaints; (5) the deterrent effect of Strike 3’s lawsuits is questionable; (6) substantial prejudice may inure to subscribers who are misidentified; and (7) Strike 3 underestimates the substantial interest subscribers have in the constitutionally protected privacy of their subscription information.”
What This Means for Defendants
While this ruling is a win for defendants in Strike 3 Holdings lawsuits, it may not be indicative of every courts’ ruling. Defendants in these cases should never assume that their case will be an easy win and should consider consulting with an ISP subpoena defense lawyer to discuss their specific case.
Antonelli Law has worked on cases just like these for years and helped roughly 3000 clients resolve their cases across the US. We can look at your specific case and help you decide the best course of action for you.
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