Copyright Cyberspace Headline Intellectual Property

Pornography Copyright Claims Against Grandmothers and College Students

Pornography.  A lot of people watch it.  A lot of pornography that is watched is not illegally obtained.  However, you can almost be sure that if you are downloading pornography through a BitTorrent client, you obtaining a movie for free that the copyright holder wants you to pay for.  Such an act is illegal.

Pornographic movie copyright holders are protecting their intellectual property more than ever.  Lawsuits based on illegal downloads of pornographic films have turned into a brand new revenue stream for the copyright owners.  As I have mentioned in the past, though, sometimes film studios threaten the wrong people.  Last time, I wrote about the Palm Beach County grandmother.  She is not alone.  Recently, a 70-year old grandmother in San Francisco was told she had to pay $3,400 to settle her case or potentially pay a $150,000 fine if the case goes to trial.  These are either frisky grandmas or they are being falsely accused.  The San Francisco grandmother plans to fight the accusation.

“I’d say to the judge, ‘I have no idea how this happened,’ ” she said. “If Sony can get hacked, if the Pentagon can get hacked, my goodness, what chance does an individual have?”

But it’s not only grandmothers who are fighting back.  A Purdue University student (currently known as Doe No. 26) was recently accused of downloading pornography in violation of copyright law, and is being sued by producer Third Degree Films, Inc.  Third Degree Films, Inc. served a subpoena on Purdue University to provide Doe No. 26’s name, address, telephone number, and email address, and Doe No. 26 decided to challenge the subpoena through a filed motion to quash.

I recently discussed an alleged infringer’s right to file a motion to quash a subpoena.  The Purdue University student will likely have to show something more than just a general denial of liability to win on his motion.  Certain courts have held that the privacy interest in ISP account information is minimal and not significant enough to warrant the special dispensation of anonymous filing.

Doe No. 26’s motion to quash is embedded below.  Interestingly, the motion seeks to quash based on not only confidential information being shared, but to protect the Doe’s reputational interests.  Let’s see if this Doe gets lucky and the judge actually gives the motion any consideration.

Third Degree v Does motion to quash