A Las Vegas adult movie firm had hoped to sue more than 100 people in one fell swoop for what it claims are illegal downloads of one of its films.
But a federal judge in Texas struck down the cost-cutting effort by Serious Bidness LLC by cutting loose 108 potential defendants. The judge said the company may pursue litigation against them individually, but not as a group, as Serious Bidness owners had hoped.
The dispute arose over downloads of the Bidness movie "Kayla Kleevage." The company wanted to identify the still-anonymous downloaders by issuing subpoenas to Internet service providers.
The court rejected the discovery motion, saying it would affect the "Does" involved, but because their identities are unknown, they're unable to "represent their interests before this court."
Perhaps even more damaging to Bidness's case was the ruling that there's no indication to the court that the defendants cooperated with each other in infringing on the copyright with their downloads.
The judge wrote that the 109 defendants are likely to have a variety of defenses.
Quoting from a relevant case, the judge wrote, "Comcast subscriber John Doe 1 could be an innocent parent whose Internet access was abused by her minor child, while John Doe 2 might share a computer with a roommate who infringed plaintiffs' works. John Does 3 through 203 could be thieves, just as plaintiffs believe, inexcusably pilfering plaintiffs' property and depriving them, and their artists, of the royalties they are rightly owed."
The ruling leaves Serious Bidness little choice if it wants to continue litigation against the defendants, but to pursue them one by one.
Resource: Las Vegas Sun: "Las Vegas company dealt setback over adult movie downloads" by Steve Green: February 23, 2011