Malibu Media, LLC v. Doe, No. 18-CV-1510 (D. Conn.) November 2, 2018.
The United States District Court in Connecticut has granted Malibu Media’s request to subpoena an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to obtain disclosure of the name of an individual alleged to have infringed on Malibu Media’s copyright to films by downloading and distributing the films without authorization. Investigation identified use of an ISP address and a distribution program directly correlated in time and date to the infringing activity. A subpoena was sought to compel the ISP provider to disclose the identity of the ISP address holder, without which Malibu Media would be without a means to protect its intellectual property interests.
The court noted that an alleged infringer cannot interpose the First Amendment right to anonymous speech to defeat the copyright owner’s legitimate interest in protecting his property. Neither can an internet user complain of Fourth Amendment violations where he has voluntarily provided information to an ISP. Nonetheless, the court observed, as an infringer may find settlement preferable to public disclosure of alleged involvement in unlawful distribution of copyrighted pornography, the court cautioned Malibu Media that any information about the alleged infringer it might obtain could be used only for purposes of the case before the court. Moreover, the subpoenaed ISP must in turn notify its subscriber of the subpoena, who would be permitted to move to quash the subpoena or to request to litigate the subpoena anonymously.