What is a Strike 3 lawsuit?
Strike 3 Holdings, LLC has accused some internet users of infringing its film copyrights by using BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol.
Strike 3 identifies John Doe defendants it accuses of infringing its copyrights by sending subpoenas to an internet service provider (“ISP”) such as Verizon, Cox, Xfinity, or Spectrum that own the internet protocol addresses associated with the activity they allege infringes their copyrights. These subpoenas demand that ISPs reveal the subscriber information associated with those IP addresses.
Once Strike 3 subpoenas an ISP, the ISP will send its subscriber a letter informing the subscriber of a Strike 3 lawsuit and subpoena request. The letter will give the subscriber a deadline by which to file a Motion to Quash the subpoena. Otherwise, the ISP will turn over the subscriber’s personal identification information to Strike 3 which allows Strike 3 to amend the John Doe complaint to publicly include the subscriber’s true name and serve you with a summons.
What should you do if you get a letter from your ISP regarding a Strike 3 lawsuit?
First, you can file a Motion to Quash the subpoena before your ISP provides your personal information to Strike 3. If the Motion to Quash is granted by the court, Strike 3 will have no way of obtaining the subscriber’s personal identification information and the lawsuit will be unable to proceed. If the Motion to Quash is denied by the court, the ISP will then provide the subscriber’s personal identification information and Strike 3 will proceed to amend its complaint with the subscriber’s true name. Whether a Motion to Quash will be successful depends on the facts and circumstances of your case, however many courts have denied these motions.
Second, you can settle the case. The settlement amount will depend on numerous factors, including the amount of infringements that Strike 3 is alleging, the location the IP address is connected to, financial hardship, and military status. If you have received a letter from your ISP about a Strike 3 lawsuit filed against you, it is important that you speak with an attorney who is experienced in negotiating and settling these types of cases and keep in mind that it may be better to settle as early in the case as possible. An attorney can help explain the settlement process and explain how you might be able to protect your reputation and anonymity. An attorney can also help negotiate a settlement payment that is more reasonable for you.
Third, you can fight the case in court after Strike 3 amends its complaint with your personal identification information. There are many factors to consider in making this decision, and taking a civil case to trial is often a time-consuming and expensive process. But given the facts and circumstances of your case, it may be worth considering this option. Sometimes, however, even if you are wrongfully accused of infringement, it might be worth considering settling the case depending on your circumstances.
If you receive a letter from your ISP regarding a Strike 3 subpoena, contact our Office to speak with one of our attorneys from our civil practice group. Once our attorneys know more about the specifics of your case, we can discuss the pros and cons of each option and figure out the best way to reduce the impact of a Strike 3 lawsuit for you. Our attorneys have extensive experience responding to, defending against, and settling Strike 3 lawsuits, particularly in the Eastern District of Virginia. Our Office is conveniently located less than a mile and a half from the Alexandria Division of the Eastern District of Virginia.
*This blog post is not intended as legal advice and is for informational purposes only. Past results do not guarantee future outcomes.