21 new BitTorrent-based copyright infringement lawsuits have been filed in Maryland by Strike 3 Holdings (16 cases) and Malibu Media (5 cases). Strike 3 Holdings owns the rights to Vixen, Tushy, Blacked, and Blacked Raw. Malibu Media owns the rights to X-Art.
The lawsuits filed in this state are nearly identical to lawsuits filed by Strike 3 and Malibu Media in other states. Both Plaintiffs start by identifying an IP address they claim their investigators observed downloading adult films through BitTorrent networks. They then sue the internet subscriber associated with the IP address as a John Doe and ask the courts for a subpoena to get the name of the internet subscriber through the Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Most people discover the lawsuit when they receive a notice from their ISP (e.g., Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner, Optimum Online, etc.) informing them of the subpoena and that their information will be disclosed unless the subscriber files a Motion to Quash.
Motions to Quash are court motions that argue that the court shouldn’t grant the subpoena request. Motions to Quash in these cases are complex because the subpoena is between the Plaintiff and the ISP, meaning the internet subscriber is actually a third-party.
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.