Home > News > D.C. Circuit Hands Prenda Law a Stinging Defeat • Bookmark   • Newsletters   • Register Search Options

NEWS STORY

D.C. Circuit Hands Prenda Law a Stinging Defeat

D.C. Circuit Hands Prenda Law a Stinging Defeat
Get XBIZ News
May 28, 2014 10:30 AM PDT    Text size: 

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court yesterday rebuffed Prenda Law's attempt to  subpoena identifying information on more than 1,000 allegedly illegal porn downloads.

The decision by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is a stinging one for the copyright troll law firm and is the first appellate ruling on key tactics employed by them to tilt the playing field.

“It is quite obvious that AF Holdings could not possibly have had a good faith belief that it could successfully sue the overwhelming majority of the 1,058 John Doe defendants in this district,” U.S. Circuit Judge David Tatel wrote. “AF Holdings clearly abused the discovery process.”

Tatel and two other judges ruled that AF Holdings is not entitled to contact information for people whose IP addresses were linked to BitTorrent downloads of the film “Popular Demand” because few of them live in the District of Columbia, where the lawsuit was filed.

As a result, the panel said it’s unlikely any connection exists among all of the Internet addresses subject to the subpoena.

"To paraphrase an analogy offered by amicus counsel at oral argument, two BitTorrent users who download the same file months apart are like two individuals who play at the same blackjack table at different times," the 16-page ruling said. "They may have won the same amount of money, employed the same strategy, and perhaps even played with the same dealer, but they have still engaged in entirely separate transactions."

Tatel criticized counsel from Prenda Law, noting that a judge in another case, Los Angeles federal jurist Otis Wright, had described it as a “porno-trolling collective” and that the firm “appears to have disbanded and then reconstituted itself in a similar form." AF Holdings is represented by Paul Duffy, who works for Prenda Law.

"[S]ometimes individuals seek to manipulate judicial procedures to serve their own improper ends. This case calls upon us to evaluate — and put a stop to — one litigant’s attempt to do just that.”

The appeal was brought by several ISPs — Verizon, Comcast, AT&T and affiliates — with amicus support from Electronic Frontier Foundation, the ACLU, the ACLU of the Nation's Capitol, Public Citizen and Public Knowledge.

The ruling in AF Holdings LLC vs. Cox Communications, 12-7135, is a key one because it likely will discourage copyright infringement suits against large numbers of defendants seeking to corner them through embarrassment or costly litigation into paying settlements without establishing a sound legal basis, according to the EFF.

"Prenda, and other groups like it, wanted to use the courts' subpoena power to identify Internet subscribers, then shake them down for $2,000-$4,000 'settlements,'" the EFF's Mitch Stoltz said. "They assuredly didn’t want to invest the time and expense needed to actually figure out who, if anyone, likely infringed a copyright. Trolls use court processes not to enforce their rights or to protect a legitimate business, but to make a profitable business out of groundless threats and intimidation."

More ways to get XBIZ News:  RSS Feeds  |  E-Newsletters  |  Desktop Widget  |  Mobile
Looking for porn star news and behind-the-scene videos? Check out XFANZ.com !

PROFILES & BIOS

WIA Profile: Kate Hodgson-Egan

Each month, industry news media organization XBIZ spotlights the career accomplishments and outstanding contributions of Women in Adult. WIA profiles offer an intimate look at the professional lives of... More »

Q&A: Holiday Products Founder Moe Levy Reflects on Decades of Career Accomplishments

Born and raised in the Bronx, N.Y., as an only child, Moe Levy learned to become business savvy at an early age from his parents. Even more importantly, Levy says his parents instilled in him their people-oriented... More »

AWSummit’s Alexandru Gheorghe Has Eyes Set on Growth

The AWSummit has quickly made its mark and has become a top draw for chat hosts, studios and cam sites from all over the world. Founded by CEO Alexandru Gheorghe just two years ago, the cam-centric AW... More »
XBIZ NEWSLETTERS
Stay informed of the latest industry developments. Get XBIZ newsletters delivered to your inbox. Subscribe today!
Enter email address:

* To manage existing subscriptions click here.






POPULAR PRODUCTS & SERVICES
Submit your press release to
multiple news outlets with 1 click.
Subscribe to RSS news feeds or
add free content to your website.
Access XBIZ news and articles
with your mobile device.
Subscribe to XBIZ Premiere magazine, the industry's leading adult retail trade publications, delivering the most timely and comprehensive business news and information to producers and retailers of adult products.

UPCOMING EVENTS

XBIZ 2017

Jan 09 - Jan 13
Hollywood, CA

XBIZ Awards 2017

Jan 12 - Jan 12
Los Angeles, CA

ANME Founders Show

Jan 14 - Jan 15
Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport

Everything To Do With Sex Show

Jan 20 - Jan 22
Montréal, Québec
Everyday thousands of business professionals browse XBIZ's industry directory for quality products and services. Not listed yet? Your company could be losing potential new business. Submit your company today!
Use XBIZ RSS feeds to stay informed of the latest industry developments or as a content syndication tool for your website!