Hard Drive Productions, Inc. v. Does 1-46

Filing 22

ORDER by Judge Edward M. Chen Denying 18 Doe's Motion to Quash. (emcsec, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/23/2011)

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1 2 3 4 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 6 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 7 8 HARD DRIVE PRODUCTIONS, INC., 9 Plaintiff, v. 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 DOES 1-46, 12 No. C-11-1959 EMC ORDER DENYING DOE’S MOTION TO QUASH Defendants. ___________________________________/ (Docket No. 18) 13 14 15 Doe Defendant (aka IP address has filed a motion to quash a subpoena 16 issued by Plaintiff in the above-referenced case. See Docket No. 18. Having considered the parties’ 17 briefs and accompanying submissions, as well as all other evidence of record, the Court hereby 18 DENIES the motion to quash. 19 In essence, Doe makes four challenges to the subpoena. Each is without merit. 20 First, to the extent Doe argues that complying with the subpoena would be an undue burden 21 because he or she does not have any connection with the IP address or because he or she denies 22 having uploaded or downloaded any of Plaintiff’s copyrighted works, those are merits arguments. 23 As the Court has previously held, see Docket No. 19 (order), “[a] general denial of engaging in 24 copyright infringement is not a basis for quashing . . . . [Doe’s] [d]enial of liability may have merit, 25 [but] the merits of this case are not relevant to the issue of whether the subpoena is valid and 26 enforceable.” Voltage Pictures, LLC v. Does, No. 10- 0873 (BAH), 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50787, 27 at *18-20 (D.D.C. May 12, 2011). 28 1 Second, to the extent Doe argues that the subpoena will infringe on his or her First 2 Amendment right to free speech, the Court has evaluated the same argument in another case and 3 found it unpersuasive. See UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Does, No. 06-0652 SBA (EMC), 2006 U.S. 4 Dist. LEXIS 32821, at *5-9 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 6, 2006); see also Sony Music Ent’t, Inc. v. Does 1-40, 5 326 F. Supp. 2d 556, 558 (S.D.N.Y. 2004). 6 Third, to the extent Doe invokes California Code of Civil Procedure § 1985.3, that statute Finally, to the extent Doe asserts improper joinder, that argument may prevail but, “[a]t 9 this stage in the litigation, . . . when discovery is underway [only] to learn identifying facts necessary 10 to permit service on Doe defendants, joinder . . . of unknown parties identified only by IP addresses 11 For the Northern District of California has no relevance to the instant case, which involves a federal claim for copyright infringement. 8 United States District Court 7 is proper,” particularly where, as here, the complaint contains allegations that the Doe Defendants 12 have infringed Plaintiff’s copyright through “the same file-sharing software program [i.e., 13 BitTorrent] that operates through simultaneous and sequential computer connections and data 14 transfers among the users.” Voltage Pictures, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50787, at *29. Doe may, at a 15 later point in this litigation, raise the joinder issue if Plaintiff maintains this action against him or 16 her. 17 Accordingly, the motion to quash is denied. 18 If, however, Plaintiff decides to maintain this action against Doe (and not dismiss him or 19 her), the Court hereby requires Plaintiff to seek leave of the Court before publicly identifying Doe in 20 its filings. Absent Court order, Doe names shall be kept confidential. 21 This order disposes of Docket No. 18. 22 23 IT IS SO ORDERED. 24 25 Dated: June 23, 2011 26 _________________________ EDWARD M. CHEN United States District Judge 27 28 2

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