Important – If You’ve Received a Notice from Strike 3 Holdings – Read This!
On June 18, 19, and 20, Strike 3 Holdings filed 88 new lawsuits in Colorado (14 cases), Maryland (21 cases), New Jersey (28 cases), and New York (25 cases). Strike 3 Holdings owns the rights to Vixen, Tushy, and Blacked brand adult films and is known for suing individuals associated with an IP address they alleged downloaded their films through BitTorrent networks.
For any other type of Plaintiff, filing 88 lawsuits in 3 days would be a massive undertaking, however, Strike 3 Holdings can file so many lawsuits because each one is nearly identical. They allege their investigators observed an IP address repeatedly downloading the Plaintiff’s copyrighted works through BitTorrent networks and then sues each IP address for copyright infringement.
But, an IP address is just a unique identifier for an internet connection. In order to find the proper defendant, that is the person that actually infringed the Plaintiff’s copyright, the Plaintiff subpoenas the Internet Service Provider (e.g., Charter, Comcast, Optimum Online, RCN, Spectrum, Time Warner Cable, etc.) for the subscriber’s identity. Some judges have noted that it’s tenuous to equate the internet subscriber (the person that pays the bill) and the person who actually downloaded the material. After all, many homes have multiple people who use the same internet connection – sometimes even those without permission may access a poorly secured wifi connection. Some subscribers may not even live at the residence the internet is being provided for, such as with some landlords.
Yet, courts across the country have granted tremendous leeway to Strike 3 Holdings to allow them to get the identities of internet subscribers to try to find a person willing to pay a settlement. The settlement amounts are carefully calculated to be just below the cost of an effective defense.
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 Strike 3 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. If you do not try to fight the subpoena, you may be served with the complaint – meaning you usually have 21 days to respond in Federal court or risk a default judgement. Default judgments typically involve ruling in the Plaintiff’s favor and awarding thousands of dollars in damages per infringement in addition to the Plaintiff’s legal fees and costs.
For more information on what these lawsuits mean for internet subscribers, please check out our FAQ section.