Cook Productions, LLC v. Doe 1 et al
MINUTE ORDER denying Defendant Doe 7's 16 Motion to Quash Subpoena. Authorized by Judge Thomas S. Zilly. (SWT)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON
COOK PRODUCTIONS, LLC,,
SOMCHIT SITHISAK, et al.,
The following Minute Order is made by direction of the Court, the Honorable
13 Thomas S. Zilly, United States District Judge:
Defendant Doe 7’s motion to quash or vacate the subpoena, docket no. 16,
is DENIED. The Court must quash a subpoena if the discovery sought “can be obtained
from some other source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive.”
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(2)(C)(i). Doe 7 argues that plaintiff’s subpoena to Comcast should
be quashed because plaintiff has “no credible, reliable evidence that Doe 7 has
downloaded plaintiff’s movie” and because the subpoena subjects Doe 7 to an undue
burden. But plaintiff is not required to prove the substance of its claims in order to obtain
discovery, and Doe 7 has offered no support for her bald assertion that discovery of the
name, telephone number, address, and email address connected with her assigned Internet
Protocol (“IP”) address would subject her to undue burden given that compliance requires
no action on her behalf.1 See Mount Hope Church v. Bash Back!, 705 F.3d 418, 427-28
Doe 7 has likewise failed to articulate any legitimate expectation of privacy in her
identity given that she freely communicated the relevant information to her internet service
provider. See, e.g., Sony Music Entm’t Inc., v. Does 1-40, 326 F. Supp. 2d 556, 566 (S.D.N.Y.
22 2004) (“[D]efendants’ First Amendment right to remain anonymous must give way to plaintiffs’
MINUTE ORDER - 1
1 (9th Cir. 2012) (noting that “undue burden” refers to the “burden associated with
compliance” and finding no undue burden where the burdens of complying with the
2 subpoena were not “logistical burden[s] or the result of a failure to narrowly tailor
requests.”). The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permit a party to “obtain discovery
3 regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party’s claim or defense,” Fed.
R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1), and discovery regarding the subscriber’s identity is plainly relevant to
4 plaintiff’s claims. Although there is no guarantee that the owner of the IP address which
downloaded plaintiff’s film was, in fact, the person who ultimately downloaded it, the
5 owner is likely to, at a minimum, have information relevant to the discovery of the actual
infringer. Precluding discovery of identifying information altogether would prevent
6 copyright holders from enforcing their rights in the BitTorrent context no matter how
meritorious the claim or how blatant or widespread the infringement. Identifying the
7 owner of the IP address connected to the alleged infringement is the sole method of
advancing plaintiff’s claim, and thus, there is no “other source” that would satisfy Fed. R.
8 Civ. P. 26(b)(2)(C)(i).
The Clerk is directed to send a copy of this Minute Order to all counsel of
Dated this 4th day of April, 2017.
William M. McCool
right to use the judicial process to pursue what appear to be meritorious copyright infringement
MINUTE ORDER - 2
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