New Jersey Judge Establishes Parameters for Strike 3 Subpoenas

New Jersey Judge Establishes Parameters for Strike 3 Subpoenas

CAMDEN, New Jersey — A New Jersey judge who was tasked by an appeals court to allow Strike 3 Holdings to issue subpoenas against suspected content pirates has issued an order establishing parameters to safeguard the privacy of the defendants.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel Schneider issued his order last week, providing guidelines for how Strike 3 Holdings can legally interact with the anonymous defendants of their lawsuits.

Strike 3 is the holding company that owns the copyrights to Vixen Media Group content, including those from brands Vixen, Tushy, Blacked and Deeper.

The company’s lawyers have filed more than 3,000 similar lawsuits across the country since 2017, receiving criticism from some legal observers and judges about their tactics.

According to legal news site Law360, Strike 3 “monitors for IP addresses that download its films, then uses geolocation technology to figure out roughly where the network is located. It then files a lawsuit in the appropriate district against the anonymous subscriber linked to the address, allowing it to request a subpoena to force the internet service provider associated with the address to reveal the name of the subscriber.”

As reported by XBIZ, on June 30 Judge Noel L. Hillman — a United States District Judge for the District of New Jersey — overruled a circuit court decision that prevented Strike 3 from identifying people accused of illegally downloading their content.

The case was returned to Judge Schneider to determine a way to balance the “public’s right of access to court proceedings" with "legitimate privacy interests," and after a meeting between the judge and the plaintiff's counsel, the court set restrictions for how Strike 3 could move forward.

As stated in the order, Strike 3 Holdings, LLC “shall not publicly disclose any information identifying the defendant and/or any person associated with the defendant or IP address, including, but not limited to alleged social media evidence and alleged BitTorrent activity, absent express permission by this Court.”

Strike 3 is also required to only refer to suspects under the pseudonym of “Doe,” and any information that could potentially identify a person has to be redacted. 

The second category of this order is that Strike 3 may only communicate directly with alleged copyright violators only if the defendant's counsel initiates settlement discussions.

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