Federal Court Upholds Subpoenas Compelling ISP to Identify Over 1000 Alleged File-Sharers
By Paul Cathcart – Edited by Jad Mills
Call of the Wild Movie, LLC v. Does 1-1,062, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29153 (D.D.C. March 22, 2011)
Memorandum Opinion hosted by Scribd.com
In two copyright cases, Judge Beryl A. Howell of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia denied Time Warner Cable’s (“TWC’s”) motions to quash subpoenas compelling the identification of subscribers associated with allegedly infringing IP addresses. In a third case, the court granted TWC’s motion on procedural grounds but permitted the plaintiff ten days to re-issue the subpoena.
The court rejected TWC’s claim of “undue burden,” finding that TWC failed to demonstrate hardship sufficient to outweigh the information’s “critical” value to the plaintiffs’ cases. The court additionally rejected three arguments submitted in amicus briefs. Considering judicial efficiency, the potential for prejudice, and the alleged relationship among defendants, the court ruled that defendants were not improperly joined as of this “nascent” stage in the case. The court also rejected amici’s challenge to personal jurisdiction, pending additional discovery. Finally, the court ruled that defendants’ First Amendment rights to anonymity did not outweigh plaintiffs’ need for the information sought, applying a five-part test laid out in Sony Music Entm’t v. Does 1-40, 326 F. Supp. 2d 556, 564-65 (S.D.N.Y. 2004).