The new year has brought new BitTorrent-based copyright lawsuits by Malibu Media and Strike 3 Holdings. Pennsylvania has been flooded with more than 20 new cases with Malibu Media filing 7 new cases on January 8 and Strike 3 Holdings filed 14 more on January 22 and 23. These two notorious copyright Plaintiffs are different companies (Malibu Media owns the X-Art brand and Strike 3 Holdings owns Tushy, Vixen, Blacked, and Blacked Raw) but operate very similarly. Both allege an overseas investigator recorded an IP address downloading and sharing the Plaintiff’s copyrighted adult films.
Once an IP address has been observed downloading multiple films, the Plaintiff files a lawsuit against the alleged infringer as a “John Doe”. They then subpoena the internet service provider (e.g., Comcast, Verizon, Optimum Online, Time Warner, etc.) and compel them to identify the subscriber the IP address was assigned to. The Plaintiff typically names the subscriber as the Defendant and then serves them with a summons and complaint.
Often, a subscriber first learns the lawsuit when they receive a letter from their ISP notifying them of the subpoena and the possibility to file a Motion to Quash – a 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 as soon as possible.
These notices are serious. If you do not respond, your 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. If you do not respond to the complaint in court, the Plaintiff can ask for a default judgement, where damages can be in the $1,000s per infringement plus attorneys fees and costs.
For more information on what these lawsuits mean for internet subscribers, please check out our FAQ section.
Many defendants wish to defend anonymously because federal civil lawsuits are generally public record and easily searchable. For those who wish to minimize the suit’s effect on their private and professional lives, it is vital they retain counsel without delay.
If you have received a notice in one of these cases, please don’t hesitate to call me immediately at 888.801.8681. If calling after-hours, please leave a message; I do return calls after-hours.
I have years of experience defending file-sharing lawsuits and can help you achieve the best outcome possible. I have defeated several copyright plaintiffs in lawsuits around the U.S.; I also fought Malibu Media in their first trial. I’ve represented over 600 defendants in both settling and litigating file-sharing lawsuits. I’ve written a subpoena defense guide for your information, as well.
I look forward to speaking with you and helping you put this matter behind you. Please don’t hesitate to call. 888.801.8681.