If You’ve Received a Notice from Malibu Media – Read This!
Twenty-nine more people will receive a notice from their ISP indicating that Malibu Media is suing them in the District of Columbia (1 case), Illinois (7 cases), Maryland (4 cases), Michigan (2 cases), New Jersey (8 cases), Pennsylvania (2 cases), and Virginia (5 cases). Malibu Media has sued thousands of people across the country based on their IP address. The Plaintiff claims to have investigators that monitor BitTorrent downloading traffic and record the IP addresses of people sharing Malibu Media’s copyrighted films (operating under the X-Art brand). Malibu Media is quite experienced and has been doing this for years. I was part of the defense for the first Malibu Media case to go to trial.
The scheme hasn’t changed much over the years. Once the Plaintiff has identified an IP address as infringing regularly (or enough that they feel they can get a large enough settlement out of it) they file a lawsuit against the internet subscriber behind the IP address. In order to serve the defendant with the lawsuit, Malibu Media subpoenas the Internet Service Provider (e.g., Charter, Comcast, Optimum Online, RCN, Spectrum, Time Warner Cable, etc.) for the subscriber’s identity.
However, this is a tenuous connection. Many people, with and without permission, may have access to a person’s internet connection. Sometimes the subscriber doesn’t even live where the internet is being provided, such as when the subscriber is a landlord. There are numerous other reasons a subscriber may not be the one responsible for copyright infringement. Still, Malibu Media has filed thousands of lawsuits over the years.
Most subscribers find out about the lawsuit when they receive a notice from their Internet Service Provider (ISP) notifying them the ISP has received a subpoena from Malibu Media to discover the subscriber’s identity. The ISP is obligated to comply with the subpoena unless a Motion to Quash is filed. This is a court 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. I’m happy to discuss with you whether filing a Motion to Quash or alternative motions is advisable in your case.
If you’ve received one of these notices or have even been served with the lawsuit, it’s vital to retain counsel without delay. This Plaintiff is notoriously aggressive and an effective defense can help secure the best possible outcome for you.