RedTube Wants to Start Serving Subpoenas After Email Threat

SAN JOSE, Calif. — RedTube attorneys asked a federal judge today to allow them to start serving subpoenas on those thought to be responsible or have knowledge in the redirection of RedTube traffic on July 24.

The motion for expedited discovery was requested because RedTube said one of its attorneys was subject to an anonymous threat that was sent via email.

The motion identified attorney Thayer Preece as the recipient of email “with implicit and explicit threats stemming from her representation of RedTube.”

Preece is an associate with the Menlo Park, Calif., office of Sheppard Mullin Richter and Hampton, which handles all of RedTube’s civil litigation.

Preece told XBIZ late Wednesday that RedTube still is in the dark over who the individuals responsible for the redirection and the threat, “and that is why we are seeking to serve subpoenas.”

She wouldn’t disclose how many subpoenas would be served, but court documents reveal 20 John Doe defendants are named in the suit filed at U.S. District Court in San Jose.

“We would serve the subpoenas immediately after the judge signs the order,” she said.

In court papers filed today, RedTube said that “while it is currently unclear whether this threat is linked to the prior attack … the threats appear to relate specifically to this litigation and hence there is reason to believe that the person or persons who are responsible for the threats were also involved in that attack.

“Without the requested discovery, [Red Tube] will be unable to determine the danger of the threat and whether the sender is linked to the prior attack.”

The threat to Preece on Oct. 18 said:

“RedTube and the owners/operators of the site are stealing and have been stealing content from legitimate producers in clear violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. You know this, and you know it's illegal.

"We will do whatever it takes to fund efforts to defeat them and their frivilous lawsuit against those others who have sought to do them or their business harm. We have the names and personal information of all those who are associated with the case and will stop at nothing to show our hatred for their ongoing theft and blatant disregard for the work of others.

"Anyone who works with them or an attorney who represents them should ask themselves who they're working for and what they're being paid to do — it really just might not be worth it in the end.”

RedTube parent company Bright Imperial Ltd. of Hong Kong is seeking $6 million in damages against the unknown defendants.

In its complaint, RedTube said defendants hacked in “with malice, ill will and intent to harm [the tube site].”

RedTube said it lost “millions of visits” by its customers by the hackers’ efforts, as well as lost value to advertising rates that are dependent upon its traffic. The site has about 7.5 million daily users in the U.S.

The suit claims violation of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, unfair competition, tortuous interference with prospective business advantage and trespass.