The holidays have been busy for file-sharing lawsuits in Illinois as Malibu Media and Strike 3 Holdings have filed 30 more copyright cases. In December, Strike 3 Holdings filed 8 more BitTorrent cases, while Malibu Media filed 22 cases on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. This has been a record breaking year for both companies. Since January, Malibu Media has filed more than 150 suits in Illinois while Strike 3 Holdings has filed more than 100 cases. Both companies are notorious mass-filers of copyright suits across the country, suing “John Doe” internet subscribers, identified only through their IP addresses.
Strike 3 Holdings owns the rights to Vixen, Tushy, Blacked, and Blacked Raw while Malibu Media owns the rights to X-Art. Although different companies, they operate very similarly. They hire overseas investigators to monitor BitTorrent activity and record any IP addresses observed sharing the Plaintiffs’ films. The Plaintiff then sues the IP address as a “John Doe” and requests the court issue a subpoena to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) so the subscriber can be identified and served with the complaint.
Often, a defendant first discovers the lawsuit when are informed by their ISP about the subpoena and the possibility to file a motion to quash to stop the release of their identity. It is important to begin an effective defense at this stage. Securing representation early can provide you with more options to protect your identity and fight the allegations.
Although each lawsuit is similar, every case represents potentially thousands of dollars in damages per infringement if not properly defended against. These companies invest money into each case and hope to maximize the damages for their financial benefit. These notices are serious. If you do not respond, the 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.