Many of you have already figured this out, but I thought I might make it a little easier for the new John Does, as they are coming in fast and furious. I will also add this information to the Motions page.
This is a Rough Guide
Please use these instructions as a guide and not the final rule for filing. Please note that each jurisdiction is a little different and they do have local rules that may be applicable. The good thing I have seen with many of the courts is that for Pro Se John Does, the courts tend to be more lenient on filing errors. Having said that, it still worth reviewing the local rules for each jurisdiction and abiding by them. For example, John Steele has previously been successful in getting Motions tossed in the IL courts just because the Doe did not file a “Notice of Presentment,” announcing that a Motion was going to be presented to the court. A well-crafted Motion goes a long way in showing the court you should be taken seriously.
One thing the court and the Troll is going to look at is your “Standing,” to file the Motion on the case. This essentially is “What gives you the right to file the Motion for the case.” For majority of the Does, this is as easy as “I’m one of Does in this case.” If you are not a Doe in one of these cases, the court is less likely to accept a Motion or Declaration without some good justification. I was fortunate enough to start filing my declarations in response to one Troll filing a declaration complaining about Does filing “Template Motions,” obtained from various Web sites and Blogs. As I run a Blog dedicated to fighting Copyright Trolls and providing Motion template/examples to Does, I had an “In.” It also helped that I was Doe in one of the earlier cases. The thing to remember is whatever the Troll states in the complaint, supporting documents, and other court filings are fair game. “Open a door for me and I will come in.”
Court Web Site
OK – after you determine what type of Motion/Declaration you are filing, go to the Web site for the court the case was filed in. Here is the one for Washington DC Court. From the Web site you can find the local rules , court mailing address, as well as contact information. If all else fails, call the clerk of the court and ask them questions. These are public servants who get paid to assist. Please be courteous to the clerk – otherwise you will make it harder for the rest of us. Here is one example (cut/paste) from the DC local rules on the page length.
A memorandum of points and authorities in support of or in opposition to a motion shall not exceed 45 pages and a reply memorandum shall not exceed 25 pages, without prior approval of the court. Documents that fail to comply with this provision shall not be filed by the Clerk.
One Troll in AZ recently made this mistake and the judge stated he wouldn’t look at their declaration.
Certificate Of Service
I will not go into details on tailoring your Motion/Declaration, as that is very specific to each case and situation. For your Motion/Declaration, you will need to add a “Certificate of Service” (COS). For the Motion templates on my Blog, this is the final page. The COS is used to tell the court that you have sent a copy of the Motion/Declaration to the Troll and you are not trying to surprise them. The date on the COS is the date you mail out the Motion/Declaration.
Sign & Date
Sign and date the Motion/Declaration – either as John Doe, John Doe #/IP address, or Real Name (Yes some people Doe this – see me latest Declarations (#4 & #5)). I would also suggest listing an email address that cannot be associated to your real name or other emails accounts.
Number of Copies
Make the required number of copies – usually one for the Troll and one for the ISP. For my Declarations, I don’t send anything to an ISP – as they are not a player. For the ISP copy, make sure you write your IP address on the copy, as well as attach a memo telling the ISP that you filed a Motion to Quash, provide delivery confirmation number (Screenshot of delivery via USPS is also good), and not to release your personal information until the court rules on your Motion.
Destination & Return Addresses
Prepare three envelopes addressed to the Court, Troll, and ISP. The court address can be obtained via their Web site. Call the clerk of the court if unsure. The address of the Troll can be found at the end of the complaint they filed with the court. The address of the ISP (Legal Dept.) will be on the paperwork they sent you concerning the subpoena for subscriber information. Unless you want the Court and Troll to figure out who filed the Motion/Declaration, DON’T put your real name or address in the “Return Address” field – Make something up (mine is 711 Torpedo Way).
For mailing the Motion/Declaration, remember that there is going to be a post mark showing which post office handled it first (City/State). This may allow the troll to figure out who you are. They are able to geolocate all the IP addresses and see who lives near the mailing post office. If all the Does are from the same jurisdiction, it is less likely, but I would still mail it from a city other than your own. I use a remailing service so the Court and Troll will only see the post mark from another State. I make it clear in the Motion/Declaration that I’m doing this to avoid detection by the Trolls, as they have publicly stated they will & have gone after Does who file Motions. Follow the instruction provided by whatever remailing service you use. I prefer to manually stamp my envelopes verses pay with a credit/debit card. If you are going to mail them from your general location, I would still suggest doing it from somewhere a couple of cities away.
After mailing, it will take some time for delivery, review by the court, and scan/filing in PACER. Give it a little time, but don’t be afraid to call the clerk of the court and ask. Monitor the case in PACER and please post anything interesting. Take a look at this cartoon.
“Some ships are designed to sink… others require our assistance.”