Comcast Wins Protest Against “Shake Down” of BitTorrent Pirates

moneyA big win for Comcast and its subscribers in a federal court in Illinois.

Comcast successfully defended its subscribers from being harassed by so-called copyright trolls.

Two weeks ago we first reported that Comcast was no longer complying to court ordered subpoenas where the ISP is asked to give up personal information of alleged BitTorrent pirates.

Instead of handing over subscriber info, Comcast asked the court to quash the subpoenas.

Among other things, the ISP argued that the court doesn’t have jurisdiction over all defendants, because many don’t live in the district in which they are being sued. The company also argues that the copyright holders have no grounds to join this many defendants in one lawsuit.

The real kicker, however, came with the third argument. Here, Comcast accused the copyright holders of a copyright shakedown, exploiting the court to coerce defendants into paying settlements.

“Plaintiffs should not be allowed to profit from unfair litigation tactics whereby they use the offices of the Court as an inexpensive means to gain Doe defendants’ personal information and coerce ‘settlements’ from them,” Comcast’s lawyers wrote.

“It is evident in these cases – and the multitude of cases filed by plaintiffs and other pornographers represented by their counsel – that plaintiffs have no interest in actually litigating their claims against the Doe defendants, but simply seek to use the Court and its subpoena powers to obtain sufficient information to shake down the Doe defendants.”

Comcast cited several previous cases to back up their claims and pointed out that federal rules require courts to deny discovery “to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense.”

These arguments were successful because the judge quashed the subpoenas for the Comcast subscribers and dismissed the cases in question.


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