Strike 3 Holdings LLC v. Doe

Full title: STRIKE 3 HOLDINGS, LLC, Plaintiff, v. JOHN DOE subscriber assigned IP address 173.3.84.160, Defendant.

Court: United States District Court, D. Connecticut

Date published: Oct 13, 2021

Facts

This case is one of over one hundred cases brought in this District since 2017 by the Plaintiff, Strike 3 Holdings, LLC, (“Strike 3”) against a “John Doe” defendant identified only by his or her Internet Protocol (“IP”) address. Each case follows a similar pattern. Strike 3 alleges that the defendant committed copyright infringement by downloading and distributing the plaintiff’s adult films using BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer file distribution network. (See Complaint, ECF No. 1). It then moves under Fed R. Civ. P. 26(d)(1) for leave to serve a third-party subpoena on defendant’s internet service provider (“ISP”) before any Rule 26(f) conference for the limited purpose of discovering defendant’s identity. (See Motion for Leave to Serve Third Party Subpoena, ECF No. 8). The motion is granted as a matter of course. See, e.g., Strike 3 Holdings, LLC v. Doe, No. 3:18-cv-1332-CSH, 2018 WL 4846676 (D. Conn. Oct. 5, 2018) (citing Arista Records, LLC v. Doe 3, 604 F.3d 110, 119 (2d Cir. 2010). Additional conditions are often imposed to protect the Defendant’s privacy. See, e.g., Order Granting Motion for Third Party Subpoena, Strike 3 Holdings, LLC v. Doe, No. 3:18-cv-01555-MPS (D. Conn. Oct. 16, 2018), ECF No. 9; Order Granting Motion for Third Party Subpoena, Strike 3 Holdings, LLC v. Doe, No. 3:18-cv-00988-JBA (D. Conn. Jul. 10, 2018), ECF No. 10. After one or more extensions of the pre-trial deadlines, Strike 3 files a notice of voluntary dismissal according to Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(a)(1)(A)(i). The merits of the claims are not litigated, and the Court lacks any opportunity to determine whether the third-party subpoena procedures are fairly implemented and effective to protect the privacy interests of defendants identified by their ISPs.

Issue

Decision

Plaintiff shall serve the ISP and file proof of such service within 14 days of this order.

10. Defendant will be permitted to litigate this case anonymously unless and until the Court orders otherwise. The Court will not require the defendant to proceed under his or her name without providing the defendant an opportunity to challenge the disclosure of his or her identity, including an opportunity to challenge the technology used to identify the defendant’s IP address. Therefore, a plaintiff is ordered not to publicly file any of the defendant’s identifying information and to file all documents containing the defendant’s identifying information under seal.

Plaintiff shall file on the docket, under seal, the terms of any settlement agreement with defendant John Doe. Should the plaintiff choose to dismiss this case for reasons other than settlement, it shall file a statement indicating and identifying those reasons on the docket. Failure to comply with this or any of the foregoing conditions will result in sanctions. Even after dismissal, the Court will retain jurisdiction to enforce this order.

IT IS SO ORDERED. 

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