An adult film company can serve a subpoena to the defendant's internet service provider. | Photo by Bich Tran from Pexels
SACRAMENTO –– A federal judge will allow an adult film company to find out the identity of the person accused of illegally downloading porn movies off the Internet.
Judge Gregory Hollows of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California granted Strike Three Holding's request for expedited discovery on July 10 in their case against an unknown person, "John Doe." The film company alleges John Doe anonymously downloaded and shared copyrighted material without permission. The defendant has only been identified by his IP address. Strike Three argued that they have no recourse to defend their copyright without knowing John Doe’s real identity.
Hollows ruled the film company can serve a subpoena to the defendant's internet service provider.
Three Strike Holding is one of many adult film companies pursuing illegal downloads. | Courtesy of Shutterstock
However, Hollows placed multiple restrictions on the request.
“Finally, consideration must be given to the fact that this particular case, focused on the theft of pornographic films, would have a different effect on an individual wrongly identified as a defendant that would occur with a run of the mill copyright infringement accusation,” Hollows wrote. “Here, the wrongly named defendant would likely feel exposed to embarrassment and reputational damage in the community."
Strike Three is only permitted to seek the name and address of the person associated with the offending IP address. Once the company learns the defendant’s name, the court has invited both parties to attend a meeting to discuss their options. Strike Three has more work to do before they can bring a suit against John Doe. The defendant’s name will be protected until the court grants permission for it to be revealed.
If the defendant rejects the offer to attend an informal meeting, the court will allow litigation to begin and his or her name will be publicly released.