Strike 3 Holdings continues to flood the courts across the country with more BitTorrent-based file-sharing lawsuits. They have filed 12 more lawsuits in Illinois alone. Last year, this Plaintiff filed more than 2,000 cases across the country.
Each case is nearly identical. Strike 3 Holdings alleges that an overseas investigator documented an IP address downloading and sharing the Plaintiff’s adult films (marketed under the Tushy, Vixen, Blacked, and Blacked Raw brands). The Plaintiff then sues each unnamed internet user as a “John Doe”, identified only through an IP address. They then subpoena the internet service provider (ISP) responsible for the IP address (e.g., Verizon, Comcast, Optimum Online, etc.) to provide the identity of the subscriber the IP address was assigned to. They only ask for the identity of the account subscriber, who may or may not have committed the alleged infringements.
Once Strike 3 Holdings names the subscriber as the Defendant, they serve 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 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 early on.