Conclusion: “Armed with hundreds of cut-and-pasted complaints and boilerplate discovery motions, Strike 3 floods this courthouse (and others around the country) with lawsuits smacking of extortion. It treats this Court not as a citadel of justice, but as an ATM. Its feigned desire for legal process masks what it really seeks: for the Court to oversee this high-tech shakedown. This Court declines.”
So read the memorandum opinion by Judge Royce C. Lamberth that was issued in response to an early discovery request by Strike 3 Holdings.
Let’s start by introducing the two main characters…
Judge Lamberth is overseeing the case of Strike 3 Holdings, LLC, versus John Doe, subscriber assigned IP address 188.8.131.52. Strike 3 is accusing John Doe of pirating the company’s porn.
Strike 3 is a producer of adult motion pictures by day, and a copyright troll by night, or however that works. The company has filed more than 1800 copyright infringement complaints roughly over a year.
Judge Lamberth’s memorandum opinion provided a cathartic critique of Strike 3’s appalling behavior.
Firstly, the judge pointed out that Strike 3 request to unmask a pirate using the infringing IP address is “famously flawed”. “Simply put, inferring the person who pays the cable bill illegally downloaded a specific file is even less trustworthy than inferring they watched a specific TV show,” he wrote.
Secondly, he argued that, given the nature of the content produced by Strike 3, any false identification and accusation could lead to irreparable damage for the affected person in terms of his reputation.
“Imagine having your name and reputation publicly – and permanently – connected to websites like Tusky and Blacked Raw,” he said. “Little wonder so many defendants settle.”
Lamberth then moves to viciously denounce Strike 3’s “rinse-wash-and-repeat approach: file a deluge of complaints, ask the court to compel disclosure of the account holders; settle as many claims as possible; abandon the rest.”
“They don’t seem to care about whether the defendant actually did the infringing, or about developing the law. If a Billy Goat Gruff moves to confront a copyright troll in court, the troll cuts and runs back under its bridge,” he wrote.
You can read the full memorandum here.