Strike 3 Holdings, one of the largest filers of online copyright infringement lawsuits in the United States, has filed 52 more lawsuits in California over just 5 weeks. The reason why Strike 3 Holdings can file so many lawsuits in such a short period of time is because each lawsuit is nearly identical.
Strike 3 owns the rights to several adult film brands, including Vixen, Tushy, Blacked, and Blacked Raw. It claims that it uses an overseas investigator to monitor BitTorrent traffic. The investigators record each IP address that they observe sharing one of Strike 3’s films. They then file a lawsuit against the internet subscriber to which the IP address is assigned. It argues that in order to properly name and serve the complaint on the defendant, it needs to subpoena the identity of the internet subscriber from the Internet Service Provider (e.g., Comcast, Verizon, Optimum Online, Time Warner, etc.).
Many people first discover the lawsuit when they receive a notice from their ISP that Strike 3 Holdings has subpoenaed their identity. As the subpoena acts like a court order, the only way to fight it is through filing a Motion to Quash. Motions to Quash are complicated in these cases as the subpoena is between the Plaintiff and the ISP, meaning the internet subscriber is a third party.
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.