Adult film company Strike 3 Holdings accused another “John Doe” defendant of using BitTorrent to download and distribute Strike 3’s films without consent. Strike 3 served a third-party subpoena on internet service provider RCN to obtain the name and address of the subscriber of the IP address.
Magistrate Judge Kelley denied the subscriber’s motion for a protective order allowing him/her to proceed anonymously as moot, given that a protective order has already been entered in the case that provided all of the protections sought by the subscriber. Judge Kelley further denied the subscriber’s motion to quash the subpoena. She noted that the motion relied primarily on a District of Columbia order that was overturned on appeal. She further noted that the primary argument – that it is possible that someone other than the actual subscriber (such as a roommate, a quest at the premises or the like) did the downloading – supported entry of the protective order and may provide a defense at trial, but was not a sufficient basis to prevent Strike 3 from identifying the subscriber’s name and address. Finally, she determined that the privacy concerns associated with pornography-related charges were sufficiently addressed by the protective order that allowed the subscriber to proceed anonymously.
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