I received another email from one of the trolls. Most likely Steele or one of his lackeys. They like to drop me notes from time to time. Funny how he used to post with True name to back up what he has to say. Well the Troll wanted to pass along (and gloat) how the DC Court just denied the ISPs Motions to Quash the subpoena to provide subscriber information. MemoOp_ISPs_00048(DC)
This Memorandum Opinion is for AF Holdings LLC, v. John Does 1-1058, 1:12-cv-00048 (Docket), from Judge Beryl A. Howell (so it is not really a great surprise). The Trolls know that DC is a friendly jurisdiction, and especially Judge Howell. Judge Howell background.
What Does This Mean?
No need to go Chicken Little and run around. “The sky isn’t falling.” Judge Howell stated the ISPs request that the subpoenas for ISP subscriber information be quashed is denied. Her denial was essentially at this stage of the preceding, it is too early to address the issues of improper joinder and jurisdiction. So the Trolls will have an easier time of obtaining ISP subscriber information in DC. Doesn’t change the fact that the cases will go nowhere as usual.
As discussed below, the Court concludes that the plaintiff’s Complaint is not procedurally defective because consideration of personal jurisdiction and joinder are not appropriate at this procedural juncture. Accordingly, because the Complaint sufficiently alleges prima facie allegations of copyright infringement, there are no named defendants in this case, and the plaintiff must obtain information necessary to identify those allegedly infringing its copyright in order to proceed with a lawsuit, the plaintiff’s subpoenas to the ISPs are properly issued, and compliance with these subpoenas will not impose an undue burden upon the ISPs.
It is a bit of a long read, but you can clearly see what side Judge Howell favors. At one part she states allowing the Trolls to list mass John Does (majority who are nowhere near DC) is efficient (bottom of page 24) and gives Plaintiff a remedy for the alleged infringing activity. She also believes that the simple use of a IP address geolocation tool does not serve any useful purpose to the court.
The Movant ISPs argue that the plaintiff cannot establish a “good faith belief” that personal jurisdiction exists over the unknown individuals without use of geolocation tools, but this Court does not agree. By setting forth prima facie allegations of copyright infringement predicated upon capture of the Listed IP Addresses engaged in allegedly infringing activity, the plaintiff has met its burden and is entitled to a period of discovery to identify the customers to whom the ISPs assigned the Listed IP Addresses. Indeed, it is virtually impossible for the plaintiff to allege in good faith a basis for personal jurisdiction or venue when it does not know the names and addresses of the unknown individuals.
Judge Howell barely touched the issue that the Trolls do not litigate 99.999% of the cases. She stated they are the masters of their complaints and are allowed to do what they see fit. I guess using the DC court as a tool to extort money is OK in her eyes.
Now the ISPs have immediately filed an appeal on this issue. As pointed out by Mr. Troll in his email, such appeals have a small chance of success. I’m willing to see what comes of it.
Yes Mr. Troll, I’m a little upset that the DC court ruled as such, but it doesn’t change the facts of your cases and the scumbag business model you are pursuing. Even with you minuscule naming and serving of defendants, you are still a joke. You will still send out your settlement demands, Idiot-Lutz calls, robo-calls, and Informal Discovery paperwork. People will turn to Google and find out all about you and how to handle these garbage allegations. DC may become the venue to obtain ISP subscriber information, but you will still be unable to take 99.999% of these people into a DC court. I don’t doubt you will get a few lucky default judgments, but that is going to pale in comparison to the counterclaims that will eventually come your way.
So I say, “yes you won one here.” Don’t gloat too much; you will not be able to see the bitch-slap when it hits! ;)