In just one day, Malibu Media filed another 9 BitTorrent-based lawsuits in Maryland. This has been a record breaking year for the company. In Maryland alone, they have filed almost 100 file-sharing lawsuits. They are a notorious for these cases, filing more than 1,000 lawsuits across the country this year alone.
They claim to hire overseas investigators to monitor BitTorrent activity and record any IP addresses that allegedly download or share their adult films, marketed under the X-Art brand. The Plaintiff then sues the IP address as a “John Doe” and gets a subpoena to force the Internet Service Provider (ISP) to reveal the subscriber associated with that IP address. Once they have an identity, they will name the subscriber and try to serve them with the lawsuit. Importantly, the subscriber may not even be the one to download the films.
Often, a defendant first discovers the lawsuit when they receive a letter from their ISP notifying them of 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 how to 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.