Cobbler Nevada, LLC v. Does 1-28, No. 15 C 7538, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jan. 15, 2016) (Tharp, J.).

Judge Tharp denied various Does’ motions to quash subpoenas to their respective internet service providers (“ISP”) as well as one Doe’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction in this BitTorrent copyright case involving alleged downloading of the movie The Cobbler starring Adam Sandler, Steve Buscemi and Dustin Hoffman. Of particular note, the Court held as follows:

  • Joinder of multiple Does was proper in this instance. Recognizing the district court split as to whether Does must have participated in the same swarm at the same time or just the same swarm at any time to be joined, there was no issue because Cobbler Nevada alleged that Does 1-28 participated in the same swarm at the same time.
  • Disclosure of Doe 16’s identity in connection with his IP address would not impact his First Amendment associational privilege. Doe 16 did not show that complying with the subpoena would lead to harassment, nor did he identify a group or an association he belonged to that would be adversely impacted by the disclosure of his identity. Furthermore, the Court had already entered an order preventing the disclosure of any defendant’s identity until further notice.
  • The fact that an IP address can be hacked and, therefore, the relation of the IP address to the swarm does not guarantee it is the owner of the IP address, does not prevent discovery of the IP address owner. Once Cobbler Nevada proves the owner of the IP address, it will be up to that defendant to prove that another person used the IP address.
  • Cobbler Nevada’s efforts – using geolocation to locate each IP address within the Northern District of Illinois – were enough to prove personal jurisdiction at this stage.