In only five weeks, 88 new BitTorrent lawsuits were filed in New York – 78 from Strike 3 Holdings and 10 from Malibu Media. This averages to more than 2 lawsuits per day! Although both companies represent different brands (Malibu Media owns the rights to X-Art and Strike 3 Holdings owns the rights to Vixen, Tushy, Blacked, and Blacked Raw), both companies operate similarly. They’re notorious for filing seemingly endless copyright infringement lawsuits against individual internet subscribers identified only through an IP address. Each lawsuits asks the courts to grant a subpoena so that the Plaintiff can learn the name and address of the internet subscriber.
Most people first learn about the lawsuit when they receive a notice from their internet service provider (e.g., Comcast, Verizon, Optimum Online, or Time Warner) that their identity has been subpoenaed and will be released unless further action is taken. The ISP is obligated to comply with the subpoena as it’s a court order to produce the information. The only way to fight the subpoena is through a Motion to Quash – a court motion that argues why the court should cancel (or quash) the subpoena.
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.