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Malibu Media is suing Defendant, alleging they have distributed digital copies of its adult films using BitTorrent software, violating Malibu Media’s copyright.
Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that Malibu Media’s reliance on an IP address to identify him as a defendant is insufficient under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
According to casetext.com, on 4/12/19 the court ordered noted:
[Defendant] contends that Malibu Media has to do more than simply identify him as the registered subscriber of the suspected IP address in order to name him as a defendant, because others may have access to the IP address as well. For example, because he accesses the internet at home via a wifi router, he argues, it is possible that others—such as a roommate, the roommate’s friends, neighbors, a house/dog sitter, and anyone in a “sports field park” right across from his home—could have gained access to his internet account and downloaded the movies. Def.’s Mot. Dismiss at 1. Indeed, he claims that, for more than half of the dates identified, he was not at his home and was out of state.
[Defendant] makes other arguments as well. He contends that “[b]its and pieces are not movies,” and that Malibu Media has no evidence that he made copies. Id. at 1-2. [He] also argues that Malibu Media’s investigator operated without a license and used unreliable methods. And, finally, [he] claims that some of the infringement at issue occurred prior to registration of the copyrights at issue.
The court denied Defendant’s motion to dismiss Malibu Media’s complaint, noting:
Malibu Media has conducted a reasonable pre-suit investigation—it hired an investigator to track down the IP address responsible for infringement and issued a subpoena to the internet service provider to determine the subscriber of the IP address. See Mot. Leave File Am. Compl. at 1, ECF No. 15. The Court is well aware that individuals, other than [Defendant], may have had access to the internet using [Defendant’s] IP address. But short of staking out [Defendant’s] residence, it is unclear how Malibu Media could have obtained any further information concerning [Defendant’s] internet usage. And, given the security features commonly integrated into most wifi routers these days, it is plausible to infer that, as the registered subscriber of the IP address, [Defendant] was the person who accessed the internet using the IP address to download the movies in question. As to [Defendant’s] argument that it was not he who did it, that is a defense to the claim that is best left for discovery.
Accordingly, this Court is in accord with others that find identification of an IP address account holder sufficient to name a defendant for pleading purposes.