Since February, Strike 3 Holdings has asked a Florida Miami-Dade County court for subpoenas for more than 650 internet subscriber identities from AT&T, Comcast, Cox Communications, Optimum Online, Spectrum, and Verizon. They’re using an obscure provision under state law called a Bill of Pure Discovery However, these subpoenas are on very shaky ground. Strike 3’s claims fall under copyright law, which is under Federal jurisdiction. The second issue is that most of the IP addresses are not located within Florida. This means that someone who has never been to Florida, didn’t commit any copyright infringement in Florida, and has no business there, can still have their identity subpoenaed through a Florida court.
Strike 3 Holdings was once known for filing thousands of John Doe copyright infringement lawsuits against individual IP addresses in Federal court. They typically allege that their investigators observed the IP address downloading Strike 3’s movies (marketed under the brands Vixen, Tushy, and Blacked) through BitTorrent networks. However, an IP address is not a person, so they would file motions for early discovery to allow them to subpoena an internet subscriber’s identity from the ISP. However, this was expensive. Each lawsuit cost $400 to file and the subscriber information they received may have meant they couldn’t reasonably pursue a copyright case (e.g., if the subscriber was a coffee shop).
By filing in county court, they can subpoena hundreds of identities for a few hundred dollars. If anyone tries to challenge the legitimacy of the case through a Motion to Quash, Strike 3 dismisses those IP addresses from the case. However, that may not be the end of the case for that individual. If you’ve received a notice that your identity has been subpoenaed, please contact us so we can explain the benefits and risks of filing a Motion to Quash.
These cases are serious. Statutory copyright infringement damages are often calculated at $2,250 per infringement. We have experience defending against these new tactics and will be able to help explain what the case means, your options for defense, and recommend the best path forward for you.