Copyright Law

Judge Orders Copyright Defendants in Mass Suit to Reveal Identities

Copyright defendants targeted by an enterprising law firm will have to disclose their identities, a federal judge has ruled.

The 40 defendants who opposed a subpoena for the information were among 4,577 John Doe defendants identified only by their Internet addresses in a copyright suit filed by the Virginia-based law firm Dunlap, Grubb, & Weaver, the Washington Post reports. The law firm, which calls itself the U.S. Copyright Group, seeks indie filmmakers willing to serve as plaintiffs and offers to represent them for free. It threatens to sue the defendants for $150,000 unless they agree to a $1,500 to $2,500 settlement fee, according to previous reports.

In a Sept. 16 order, U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer refused to quash a subpoena seeking the defendants’ identities, the Post says. Collyer said anonymous litigation is permitted only when the issues involve sensitive issues or personal matters.

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