- Copyright Infringement Defense Lawyer
- Summons or Notice of Default Judgement by Strike 3 Holdings
- Strike 3 Lawsuits
Written By:Adam H. Rosenblum
Your Dedicated & Trusted Legal Team
3 Generations & 100+ Years of Combined Legal Experience
Strike 3 Holdings has filed a plethora of copyright infringement lawsuits against many people all across the United States. If you have received a notice from your internet service provider (ISP) about a subpoena from Strike 3 Holdings against you, or you’ve received a complaint from Strike 3, you need to know the options available to you.
Who Is Strike 3 Holdings?
Strike 3 Holdings is a company that owns the copyright on some pornographic films. They produce adult films under the brand names Slayed, Blacked, Vixen, and Tushy. The company has filed lawsuits against several defendants in different locations, including the Eastern District of Virginia, San Jose, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and Florida.
Strike 3 Holdings lawsuits accuse some internet users of downloading their copyrighted adult movies using BitTorrent or other peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol.
What Does a Notice From Strike 3 Holdings Mean?
A notice from Strike 3 Holdings may be a letter from a person’s ISP informing them of a subpoena from Strike 3 Holdings requesting disclosure of the subscriber’s personal information. Strike 3 Holdings operates by using a third-party vendor to monitor and detect whenever there is an illegal download of any of their copyrights-protected adult movies.
All Strike 3 Holdings has is the IP address that downloaded the movie, but they need to find out the person behind the IP address. To get that, they will file a federal lawsuit and then serve the ISP a subpoena requesting the disclosure of the details of the account holder associated with the IP address.
The ISP will then send the subscriber a letter, usually a copyright infringement notice, informing them of the lawsuit and subpoena against them. If the person files a motion to quash the subpoena and obtains a favorable court ruling, that may be the end of the case. Otherwise, the ISP will turnover the account information to Strike 3 Holdings.
When Strike 3 Holdings receives the information, they will amend their complaint and include the person’s contact information. They will then proceed to serve the person the complaint and a summon.
What Can You Do if Being Sued?
If Strike 3 Holdings sues a person for infringing their copyright, they have the following options:
Ignore It and Do Nothing
It is not compulsory to respond to the letter from the ISP or the civil lawsuit. One can choose to ignore them and hope that the case goes away. However, the consequences may be disastrous.
Ignoring the letter from one’s ISP means the ISP will most likely forward the requested information to Strike 3, who will proceed to the civil lawsuit. In the civil lawsuit, if the person doesn’t respond to the suit and represent themselves, there will probably be a default judgment against them. If Strike 3 obtains a default judgment, the person may become liable for a substantial amount of money.
Note that federal laws allow aggrieved copyright holders to claim up to $30,000 per infringed work in statutory damages for non-willful infringement and up to $150,000 per work if the infringement is intentional. So, if a person downloaded several videos, they could be liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in monetary damages.
File a Motion to Quash the Subpoena
The second option is to hire an attorney and fight Strike 3 Holding’s attempt to get the identifying information by filing a motion to quash the subpoena. If the motion is successful, the ISP won’t divulge the personal information associated with the IP address to Strike 3. In practice it has become more difficult to get a motion to quash granted. And, once a motion is filed, the amount of monetary damages they are willing to accept to settle the claim could go up.
Go to Trial and Defend Oneself
Another option is to go to court and defend against the copyright infringement claim. However, this can be a stressful and a time-consuming process. Strike 3 Holdings is also more interested in settling the lawsuit than going to court. Although going to court is an option, it could cost more than what a person can pay as a settlement. The attorney fee alone may be more than what Strike 3 Holdings is asking for or what they could negotiate, especially in the early stage. Also, if a person loses the case, they could be liable to pay Strike 3 Holdings’ attorney’s fee.
Aggressive copyright holders like Strike 3 Holdings file these lawsuits expecting people to choose to settle over fighting a long battle in court. However, Strike 3 Holdings doesn’t always have enough evidence, and defending the lawsuit can be a viable option.
In Strike 3 Holdings, LLC v. John Doe, the court held that Strike 3 didn’t provide evidence of IP infringement. The court also awarded a $47,777 attorney fee against them. Strike 3 then appealed but lost, as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision. Strike 3 Holdings, LLC v. Doe, 849 F.3d 183 (9th Cir. 2021).
Negotiate a Settlement
Another option when faced with a Strike 3 Holdings lawsuit is to settle the case out of court. Most times, this is the least arduous and least costly option. There are several reasons to settle a copyright infringement case. And, it’s always better to initiate settlement as early in the case as possible. An experienced copyright infringement attorney can help negotiate the settlement to a reasonable amount.
Elements of a Lawsuit with Strike 3 Holdings
A Strike 3 Holdings lawsuit is a copyright infringement lawsuit where the claimant needs to prove ownership of the copyright and infringement of their copyrighted work.
Ownership of Copyright
Federal and state laws protect intellectual property rights. In this case, Strike 3’s pornographic videos are copyright-protected creative works. So, they own the copyright, and they can rightfully file a copyright infringement lawsuit against infringers. Proving this first element is not an issue for Strike 3 Holdings, and they have done so successfully in several cases, such as:
- One from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania: Strike 3 Holdings, LLC v. John Doe
- One from the United States District Court for New Jersey: Strike 3 Holdings, LLC v. Vokoun
For Strike 3 Holdings to obtain a judgment against an individual, they need to prove that the person infringed their copyright. This may be hard to prove in some circumstances.
Possible Defenses for Copyright Infringement
A person facing a copyright infringement lawsuit from Strike 3 Holdings may have a valid defense against the claim. The most common defense is to claim that they did not download the video.
Many times Strike 3’s only evidence in alleging infringement is to connect an IP address to the infringement. Judge Royce C. Lambert in his 2018 ruling for Strike 3 Holdings, LLC v. Doe stated that the system of identifying copyright infringers by IP address is “famously flawed” for several reasons, including:
- IP address spoofing
- Use of unsecured routers
- Malware can crack passwords and open backdoors
- Multiple people (family members, guests, or roommates) may share the same IP address
- Geolocation services may assign IP addresses randomly if they cannot identify the exact location
So, if a person can prove that they didn’t download the Strike 3 content, they can defend the lawsuit successfully. A way to do so is for the person to image their hard drive and prove that they never downloaded the infringing video. That was actually what the defendant in the Washington case we mentioned previously did.
Another possible defense is to argue that the statute of limitation had elapsed. The statute of limitation for copyright infringement in civil cases is three years from when the claim arose 17 U.S. Code § 507. The courts usually apply the discovery rule, so time starts counting when the infringing act was discovered or should have been known. Starz Ent., LLC v. MGM Domestic Television Distribution, LLC, 39 F.4th 1236 (9th Cir. 2020).
Strike 3 Settlements
Settling a Strike 3 lawsuit may be the best option, especially if one is uncertain about mounting a strong defense. Sometimes, even an innocent person wrongly accused of infringement may be better off settling the case than trying to fight and prove themselves in court.
A Strike 3 settlement can help a person prevent their names from being associated with adult content and the embarrassment that can come from it.
How Can an Attorney Help?
Because every case is unique, an attorney can help to decide the best course of action in a particular case. This can either be to file a motion to quash the subpoena, go on trial, or settle. If an attorney decides that settling the case is the best course of action, they can help negotiate the settlement cost to a reasonable and less burdensome amount.
If you or someone you love has been accused of copyright infringement by Strike 3 Holdings, or another copyright holder, contact the attorneys at Rosenblum Law right away. We can walk you through the process we will take to help protect your identity and reduce the impact of what could be a very significant copyright infringement lawsuit. Contact Rosenblum Law or call 888-815-3694 today for a free, initial consultation about your case.
About The Author
Adam is the founding attorney and principal of Rosenblum Law. With more than two decades of legal experience in numerous areas of law practice, his primary focus is law firm management and business development.Read More
How to Cite Rosenblum Law’s Article
Adam H. Rosenblum (May 8, 2023). Strike 3 Lawsuits. Rosenblum Law Firm, https://rosenblumlaw.com/copyright-infringement-defense/strike-3-holdings/lawsuits/
Adam H. Rosenblum "Strike 3 Lawsuits". Rosenblum Law Firm, May 8, 2023. https://rosenblumlaw.com/copyright-infringement-defense/strike-3-holdings/lawsuits/