Hard Drive Prods. v. Does 1-48, No. 11 C 9062, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. June 14, 2012) (Kim, Mag. J.).
Judge Kim denied two Doe defendants’ motions to quash subpoenas to their Internet service providers in this copyright case involving BitTorrent downloads of adult movies as part of a “swarm.” The first motion was denied because it was filed anonymously by a pro se person identified by an IP address and signed with an “X.” The anonymous filing did not meet the Fed. R. Civ. P. 11 requirement for a signed pleading. The motion was, therefore, dismissed with leave to refile either using the Doe’s name or anonymously via counsel.
The second Doe defendant argued that its First Amendment rights to anonymous internet speech were being violated. But there was no First Amendment right to copyright infringement. Furthermore, there was no reasonable expectation of privacy in Doe’s subscriber information. Finally, in light of the evidence that Doe did not commit infringing acts and the Court’s concern about Hard Drive Productions’ (“HDP”) tactics – having filed 118 lawsuits against 15,000 Does – the Court cautioned HDP to be “mindful” of Doe’s evidence and to consider “long and hard” before moving forward against this Doe so as to comport with Rule 11(b).