Feeds

Judge to movie studios: Why shouldn't I dismiss piracy lawsuits?

Improper joining of 4,577 downloaders alleged

3 Big data security analytics techniques

A federal judge has ordered attorneys representing movie studios to explain why they lumped thousands of alleged copyright violators into just two lawsuits, an indication she is seriously considering claims by ISP Time Warner and civil liberties advocates that the actions violate well-established court procedures.

Rosemary M. Collyer of the US District Court for the District of Columbia gave the attorneys until June 21 to explain why more than 4,500 defendants shouldn't be dismissed “for misjoinder,” a legal term used to describe the improper joining of defendants in a single lawsuit. The alleged pirates of independent movies are named as John Does in two separate lawsuits, which seek subpoenas ordering Time Warner and other internet service providers to identify customers behind a massive list of IP numbers.

Collyer's instructions came after Time Warner and civil liberties advocates argued the complaints suing 4,577 defendants were improperly filed. Under US Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, lawsuits generally must be filed in court districts in which the defendants live and each defendant named in a single complaint must be accused of carrying out the “same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences.”

According to a friend-of-the-court brief (PDF) filed last week by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Public Citizen Litigation Group, many defendants live outside of the District of Columbia and there is no evidence the alleged downloaders are connected, except for the movies they sought and their use of BitTorrent.

“Of particular importance here, before the defendant’s identity can be disclosed, a plaintiff must come forward with some evidence that each individual defendant infringed the plaintiff’s rights, and each defendant must be given notice and an opportunity to quash,” lawyers for the groups wrote in the brief.

The brief follows opposition mounted by Time Warner, which in separate court documents has sought the quashing of subpoenas seeking the identities of thousands of its customers. Among other things, the ISP has argued the demands are overly burdensome.

The complaints were filed by the attorneys from US Copyright Group on behalf of studios that produced the independent films Far Cry and The Steam Experiment. The attorneys have accused called Time Warner's opposition “procedurally defective” and argued the information they are seeking is not confidential or privileged. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.