New Jersey has received 14 new BitTorrent-based copyright infringement lawsuits from Strike 3 Holdings and Malibu Media. Strike 3 Holdings filed 8 nearly identical cases on February 21 and Malibu Media filed 6 on February 14 – Valentine’s Day. Strike 3 Holdings owns the rights to Vixen, Tushy, and Blacked, while Malibu Media owns the right to X-Art. Although different companies, they both file very similar lawsuits and follow a similar strategy to turn BitTorrent downloading into a revenue stream.
They both begin with hiring an investigator that monitors BitTorrent traffic, including downloading the Plaintiffs’ films. The IP addresses are then geolocated to determine what state the IP address likely originates from and the Plaintiffs file a John Doe lawsuit against the IP address subscriber. The Plaintiffs claim that in order to properly serve the defendant, they must identify the John Doe and ask the courts for a subpoena for the identity from the internet service provider (e.g., Charter, Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner, etc.).
This is when most subscribers find out about the lawsuit. ISPs are required by the Cable Privacy Act to inform subscribers that their personally identifying information has been subpoenaed and give the subscribers a chance to file a Motion to Quash to prevent their identity from being released. Motions to Quash are complex in these cases as the subpoena is between the Plaintiff and the ISP, making the subscriber a third party.
Many defendants wish to defend anonymously because federal civil lawsuits are generally public record and easily searchable. For those who wish to minimize the suit’s effect on their private and professional lives, it is vital they retain counsel without delay.
These notices are serious. If you do not respond, your ISP is obligated to provide your identity to the Plaintiff, which allows them to serve you with a summons and complaint. Once you are served, you typically have 21 days to respond in Federal court. If you do not respond to the complaint in court, the Plaintiff can ask for a default judgement, where damages can be in the $1,000s per infringement plus attorneys fees and costs.
For more information on what these lawsuits mean for internet subscribers, please check out our FAQ section.
If you have received a notice in one of these cases, please don’t hesitate to call me immediately at 888.801.8681. If calling after-hours, please leave a message; I do return calls after-hours.
I have years of experience defending file-sharing lawsuits and can help you achieve the best outcome possible. I have defeated several copyright plaintiffs in lawsuits around the U.S.; I also fought Malibu Media in their first trial. I’ve represented over 600 defendants in both settling and litigating file-sharing lawsuits. I’ve written a subpoena defense guide for your information, as well.
I look forward to speaking with you and helping you put this matter behind you. Please don’t hesitate to call. 888.801.8681.