Strike 3 Holdings has had a very busy start to the New Year, filing more than 100 new cases across New York, Michigan, Virginia, Maryland, and Illinois. Of these, 10 have been filed in Maryland. Last year, Strike 3 Holdings filed more than 2,000 cases across the country, including approximately 100 in Maryland.
The reason this Plaintiff can file so many lawsuits is because each one is nearly identical and alleges that an overseas investigator recorded an IP address downloading and sharing Strike 3 Holdings’ copyrighted adult films through BitTorrent networks. Strike 3 Holdings owns the rights to the Tushy, Vixen, Blacked, and Blacked Raw brands.
Strike 3 Holdings sues each unnamed internet subscriber as a “John Doe”, identified only through an IP address. It then requests the courts to grant a subpoena compelling the subscriber’s internet service provider (ISP) to provide the customer’s identity. Once identified, Strike 3 Holdings names the subscriber as the Defendant and serves them with a summons. The complaint must be answered in court or the Defendant could face a default judgement against them, which can represent $1,000s in damages per infringement.
Often, a subscriber first discovers the lawsuit when they receive a letter from their ISP notifying them of the subpoena and the date their identity will be released. The letter mentions the possibility to file a Motion to Quash – a formal request to the courts to stop (or “quash”) the subpoena. 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. If a subscriber wishes to remain anonymous, it is important to secure representation early on. This can provide more options to protect your identity and fight the allegations.