Malibu Media, LLC v. Doe
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DENYING 7 Motion to Quash. Signed by Judge Deborah K. Chasanow on 1/5/2016. (sat, Chambers)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
MALIBU MEDIA, LLC
Civil Action No. DKC 15-1710
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Malibu Media, LLC (“Plaintiff”) filed this action
for copyright infringement against a John Doe defendant (“Doe”).
Presently pending and ready for resolution is a motion to quash
filed by Doe.
(ECF No. 7).
The issues have been briefed, and
the court now rules, no hearing deemed necessary.
For the following reasons, the motion to quash will be
The limited factual background in this case can be found in
a prior order granting Plaintiff’s motion for leave to serve a
third party subpoena.
(See ECF No. 5).
Plaintiff alleges that
a single Doe defendant utilized the BitTorrent file distribution
copyrights held by Plaintiff.
Plaintiff identified Doe only by
customer on a specific date by an Internet Service Provider
Accordingly, Plaintiff moved to expedite discovery and
serve a third party subpoena on the ISP prior to a Rule 26(f)
conference in order to obtain the identity of Doe.
On June 12,
numerous conditions and limitations dictated by the sensitive
specificity of IP addresses.
(ECF No. 5).
On July 29, Doe filed the pending motion to quash the third
(ECF No. 7).
The motion to quash avers that
Doe lives in a large, multiunit apartment complex and uses a
wireless router to access the internet.
The wireless router
was, at times, accessible to individuals not living in Doe’s
Thus, Doe contends that “[t]he likelihood that an
copyrights is too great to support any correlation between Doe
and the alleged violation that Plaintiff seeks to prove.”
Doe argues that “the risk of reputational injury . . .
allegations . . . is too great and presents an undue burden to
counters that Doe does not face an undue burden because the
subpoena is directed at the ISP, not Doe.
(ECF No. 8, at 2-3).
Plaintiff further contends that the court’s prior order allowing
the subpoena includes protections that are sufficient to address
Doe’s concerns regarding anonymity and reputational injury.
Doe’s “argument that the subpoena presents an undue burden
is unavailing because the subpoena is directed toward the ISP
and not [Doe] and accordingly does not require [Doe] to produce
any information or otherwise respond.”
Third Degree Films, Inc.
v. Does 1-118, No. 11-cv-03006-AW, 2011 WL 6837774, at *3 (D.Md.
Dec. 28, 2011).
Doe also cannot move successfully to quash the
subpoena by denying liability.
“[I]t is well-settled that such
quashing a subpoena.”
Third Degree Films, Inc. v. Does 1-108,
No. DKC-11-3007, 2012 WL 669055, at *3 (D.Md. Feb. 28, 2012)
(citation and internal quotation marks omitted).
“For the court
to quash the subpoena would allow a subscriber to prevent Malibu
Malibu Media, LLC v. Doe, No. MJG-14-0747, 2014 WL
7190812, at *2 (D.Md. Dec. 16, 2014).
The court appreciates the potential for undue reputational
harm should Doe’s identity be made public, particularly in light
of the possibility that the alleged copyright violations were
committed by someone other than Doe.
There is also potential
for a plaintiff to use the threat of reputational harm to abuse
adequately are addressed by the existing interplay of procedural
rules and this Court’s order.”
Malibu Media, LLC v. Doe, No.
there is no indication to date that Malibu has failed to comply
with the dictates of the Federal Rules and this Court’s orders,
subscribers that already are in place.”1
The protections the court outlined in its June 12 Order
protect Doe’s privacy interests and ensure the case does not go
That order provides that Plaintiff must not
disclose Doe’s identity publicly absent further order form the
court and “may only use it to determine whether, pursuant to
complaint” to name Doe as an individual defendant.
(ECF No. 5,
Further, “[a]ny amended complaint filed by Malibu
naming an individual defendant shall be filed so that the name
and any specifically identifying information is redacted from
This fact distinguishes a case Doe relies on in the motion
See In re BitTorrent Adult Film Copyright
Infringement Cases, 296 F.R.D. 80, 89 (E.D.N.Y. 2012) (“The most
persuasive argument against permitting plaintiffs to proceed
with early discovery arises from the clear indicia, both in this
case and in related matters, that plaintiffs have employed
abusive litigation tactics to extract settlements from John
Doe defendants, and these tactics distinguish these plaintiffs
from other copyright holders.”).
Here, there is no indication
that Plaintiff is pursuing such tactics.
the publically available court docket, with an unredacted copy
filed under seal.”2
(Id. at 5).
In addition, as has become
customary in this district through the adjudication of similar
order, and Plaintiff is prohibited from engaging in coercive
Accordingly, it is this 5th day of January, 2016, by the
The motion to quash filed by Defendant John Doe (ECF
No. 7) BE, and the same hereby IS, DENIED;
Opinion and Order to counsel for the parties.
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW
United States District Judge
Doe also purports to move for “Leave to Proceed
Anonymously.” (ECF No. 7, at 1). This is not necessary because
the June 12 Order continues to grant Doe anonymity.
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