Since mid-April, Malibu Media and Strike 3 Holdings have filed more than 200 more BitTorrent based copyright lawsuits across the country. Despite Strike 3 Holdings’ lead counsel, Lincoln Bandlow, leaving the prestigious law firm Fox Rothschild, Strike 3 Holdings continues to blanket the country in lawsuits – including 30 in California, 10 in Connecticut, 5 in Maryland, 14 in Michigan, 26 in New Jersey, and 74 in New York. Malibu Media has also filed a slew of similar lawsuits – 4 in Connecticut, 1 in the District of Columbia, 10 in Illinois, 1 in Maryland, 10 in Michigan, 12 in New Jersey, 14 in New York, 6 in Pennsylvania, and 8 in Virginia.
The reason these companies are able to file so many lawsuits is in part because each lawsuit is nearly identical. The Plaintiffs each state they hire investigators to monitor BitTorrent network traffic and identify IP addresses associated with downloading the Plaintiff’s copyrighted films. Malibu Media owns the rights to X-Art, and Strike 3 Holdings owns the rights to Vixen, Tushy, and Blacked.
The Plaintiff sues the IP address and claim in order to serve the defendant with the complaint, they need to subpoena the Internet Service Provider (e.g., Charter, Comcast, Optimum Online, RCN, Spectrum, Time Warner Cable, etc.) to discover the identity of the subscriber. Of course, the internet subscriber may not be the person who downloaded the files and other people may, with or without permission, may use a subscriber’s internet connection.
Most people discover the lawsuit when they receive a notice from their ISP indicating that the Plaintiff has subpoenaed the subscriber’s identity. The ISP is obligated to comply with the subpoena unless a Motion to Quash is filed. This is a motion to void or “quash” the subpoena. However, Motions to Quash are complex in these cases as the subpoena is between the Plaintiff and the ISP, meaning the subscriber is a third party.