In re BitTorrent Copyright Infringement Cases, 12-CV-1189, Slip. Op. (C.D. Ill. Feb. 11, 2013)(Gorman)
Malibu Media v. John Does 1-7, 12-CV-1189, Slip. Op. (C.D. Ill. Feb. 11, 2013)(Gorman)
Mass copyright infringement suits have sprung up everywhere, and are being filed at an absolutely dizzying pace. One of the most prolific and successful mass copyright plaintiffs (or copyright trolls if you prefer) is Malibu Media – they have filed more than 50 cases in the Northern and Central District since mid-2012.
A pair of opinions issued from the Central District of Illinois on February 11, 2013. The first addressed joinder in eleven separate cases filed by various mass copyright plaintiffs against numerous Does. The Court found that the requirements of joinder were not met by a typical Bit Torrent file transfer. In particular, the Court observed:
- The complaint only alleged that the plaintiff’s investigators observed that each Doe had participated in a torrent swarm distributing a single piece of a larger file, and therefore, the plaintiff did not allege that the Does participated in distributing the work, but rather a small piece of the work.
- The dates that each Doe was observed spanned weeks to months, and accordingly, it is unlikely that the Does actually collaborated with one another to distribute the work.
- Accordingly, the Does did not act in concert and there was no “series of transactions.”
This opinion was binding on Case No. 12-CV-1189, and recommended in a number of other cases. Magistrate Judge Gorman also recommend that future peer-to-peer copyright infringement actions be filed against single defendants.
While this might seem to be a win, the Doe that actually filed the motion to quash ended up in a suit by himself against Malibu Media. While the subpoena to his ISP was modified to only reveal the information necessary to serve process, his ISP was ordered to reveal his information to Malibu, and, given recent trends, Malibu is likely to proceed against him. Strategically, this is likely a costly move, as Malibu will get his information, and the cost for him to settle is likely to double or more.