Malibu Media, L.L.C. v. Doe, No. 18 C 450, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jun. 5, 2019) (Ellis, J.).
Judge Ellis denied Doe defendant’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) & (f) motion to dismiss and to strike plaintiff Malibu Media’s copyright infringement complaint in this BitTorrent dispute.
The Court previously dismissed Malibu Media’s complaint because a defendant’s status as the IP address subscriber is not enough, without more, to create a reasonable inference that the defendant is the infringer. Malibu Media repled its complaint providing the following additional details:
- Doe has a bachelor’s degree in computer science with experience in internet security, including password protection and routers;
- Doe was the only male resident of the relevant home during the period at issue; and
- Doe allegedly copied at least 240 other works, including numerous other adult movies, and the alleged copying ended after Doe received notice of the complaint.
While the allegedly infringed works – The Bourne Supremacy, Mr. Robot, the 100 and Vikings, as well as adult titles – did not on their own create a sufficient match to a man in his mid-forties, but the need for additional allegations did not render them superfluous. They were circumstantial evidence, and they were sufficient combined with the allegations regarding the timing of the download, and the allegation that the downloading stopped after Doe received notice of the complaint. The allegations were, therefore, sufficient.
Malibu Media’s identification of the allegedly downloaded works, including title, hit date, and file hash were sufficient. Malibu Media was not required to provide evidence at the pleading stage that Doe had a BitTorrent client on his computer or that he actually copied the works. Those facts had to be proved later in the case, after discovery.