Over the past several years, adult entertainment company Strike 3 Holdings has filed thousands of cases in U.S. federal courts.
The company, known for its Blacked, Tushy, and Vixen brands, targets people whose Internet connections were allegedly used to download and share copyright-infringing content via BitTorrent.
Track, Sue and Settle
These efforts, often referred to as so-called ‘copyright-trolling’, are pretty straightforward. Copyright holders track down a ‘pirating’ IP-address and then request a subpoena from the court, compelling ISPs to hand over the associated customer data.
Many of these lawsuits result in private settlements, which can be rather lucrative. With minimal effort, rightsholders can rake in hundreds or thousands of dollars per defendant.
Other rightsholders have deployed similar strategies over the years but Strike 3 is the only major player still involved today. That doesn’t mean that the company is scaling down its business, quite the opposite in fact.
1,660 Lawsuits in 2023
Strike 3 has increased its enforcement efforts in 2023. Looking at the number of new lawsuits filed in the first six months of the year, we see that 1,660 complaints have been filed across various federal courts in the United States.
This figure is a 57% increase compared to the first half of 2022, suggesting that the adult company continues to increase its productivity. At the current rate, it will break the record number of piracy cases it filed last year.
With this level of workload, it’s no surprise that most cases are resolved relatively swiftly. Of all lawsuits filed in the first half of the year, more than a third have already been closed. This typically happens when the parties reach an out-of-court settlement.
Strike 3 can also drop a complaint for other reasons and occasionally it obtains a default judgment due to a lack of response from a defendant. Rarely ever, do we see one of these cases go to trial.
A Trial is Coming
While rare, there is currently a trial in preparation at the Middle District of Florida. This proceeding is scheduled to start later this month and both Strike 3 and the accused pirate will get four days to present their arguments.
In the leadup to this legal battle, Strike 3 asked the court to ban the term “copyright troll” at trial. The company argued that this language is “derogatory” and “prejudicial” but Judge District Court Judge Mary Scriven denied the request.
The trial itself won’t be about semantics. Among other things, the defense seems intent on attacking Strike 3’s evidence-gathering technology, while the adult company will counter by pointing out that the defendant destroyed important evidence on his computer.
Whether the trial will keep Strike 3 busy enough to prevent a new piracy case record has yet to be seen. To reach this milestone, the company ‘only’ has to file 1,129 complaints in the second half of the year.