Over the past few years, a company called Strike 3 Holdings has been suing people living in New Jersey and other states based on Federal copyright infringement. These notices can come in the form of a legal summons or a letter from one’s internet service provider (ISP) and contain threats of a Federal lawsuit and in many cases notification that an actual lawsuit has been filed.
These threats are serious and it is urgent that one seek the advice of an experienced copyright infringement attorney. To understand more about who Strike 3 is, the consequences of the lawsuit, and what can be done about this, read on.
Who is Strike 3?
Strike 3 Holdings is an adult movie company that produces films under the brand names Blacked, Tushy, and Vixen. Knowing that much of its products are pirated on the internet, the company files copyright infringement lawsuits, accusing defendants of pirating its pornographic films via BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer file sharing software.
Is Strike 3 Filing Criminal Charges Against Me?
Probably not. Strike 3 likely does however allege that the crime of copyright infringement was committed and are filing civil lawsuits seeking monetary damages as a result of the infringement.
What Might This Lawsuit Cost? Should I Ignore a Letter from Strike 3?
It is not advised that one ignore any threats from Strike 3 Holdings. Although the company’s goal is believed to be that they want to frighten individuals into settling, Strike 3 is serious about taking the matter to court and to that end has filed numerous lawsuits. Federal law allows companies to claim up to $30,000 per work in statutory damages for non-willful infringement and up to $150,000 per work for willful infringement. This means that if multiple films were downloaded the statutory damages could range in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even worse, under Federal copyright law the plaintiff only needs to prove that infringement occurred and not that any money was lost as a result.
How Did Strike 3 Get My Information? Why Are They Targeted Me?
Using proprietary technology Strike 3 determined that certain IP addresses are associated with the illegal downloading one or more of its films. Strike 3 uses this evidence as the basis of a Federal lawsuit and then serves the Internet Service Provider (ISP) with a subpoena demanding that they disclose the information of the account-holder associated with that IP address. The company will likely claim it does this in order to recoup financial losses resulting from the infringing acts as well as deter any future acts of piracy.
While lawsuits can be filed en masse and encompass multiple IP addresses, many lawsuits are only focused on one IP address. After the subpoena deadline passes (usually 30 days), if no valid legal objection is made, the ISP will disclose the account holder’s information to Strike 3 and they will ultimately amend the complaint to name the account holder as the defendant in the lawsuit. Naturally, being associated with a lawsuit that alleges downloading of pornographic films can be very embarrassing. So using the “stick or carrot” approach, the plaintiff is hoping the defendant will take the carrot (monetary settlement) rather than the stick (public humiliation and spending significant sums on litigation).
What Does Strike 3 Really Want?
Strike 3 may claim it is hoping to deter piracy, but it would appear that its primary goal is to “recoup” money from the individuals targeted. Through aggressive communication and threats, the firm hopes people will settle each case rather than undergo a lengthy and expensive lawsuit.
Why Did Strike 3 Subpoena My ISP?
As explained above, one of Strike 3’s tactics is to subpoena internet service providers (ISPs) in an effort to discover the name of the individual(s) it is suing. That is because, at the outset it only has the IP address of the individual it is trying to sue.
Is Strike 3 a Copyright Troll?
A so-called “copyright troll” is a person or company that enforces copyrights it owns with the goal of making money through the litigation. The methods used by Strike 3 are typical of a copyright troll and can often resemble an extortion scheme. However, copyright infringement is a crime and in many cases statutory damages can be very real. Any producer of creative works has every legal right uphold their copyrights and intellectual property. Hence if a person actually illegally downloaded copyright material, one would argue that Strike 3 has every right to pursue damages.
Have I Been Issued a Default Judgement?
Once someone has been issued a summons, the defendant has a limited amount of time to respond (how much time is indicated in the summons itself). If that time lapses without a response, the plaintiff can receive summary judgement, meaning the judge can make a ruling without input from the defendant.
Some people do not even know they are defendants in a lawsuit by Strike 3 until they receive notification of a default judgement against them. This could mean that someone failed to serve the defendant the subpoena in the first place, either in error on the part of the process server (e.g. left it at the wrong house), but it could also have been deliberate (also called “sewer service”). The good news is that such judgements can be dismissed on the grounds of improper service. The bad news is the plaintiff can always re-file.
How Can I Defend Myself Against a Copyright Infringement Lawsuit from Strike 3?
Innocent or not, a copyright infringement lawsuit from Strike 3 is a serious matter. Anyone who has been targeted by Strike 3 Holdings should hire a skilled copyright infringement attorney immediately. Below are some common responses to copyright infringement allegations:
- Doing nothing. This is the riskiest strategy since it will likely lead to a default judgement. This can result in wages being garnished, assets being seized and a judgment being filed against any real property which cannot be sold until the judgement is satisfied.
- Motion to sever or “quash” the lawsuit. In the past, in order to reduce the cost litigating, Strike 3 and others would include multiple defendants in a single lawsuit. In such cases, defendants can ask the court to force Strike 3 and others to refile the lawsuits individually. Because of the success of such defenses, this is rarely done anymore.
- Fight it at trial. This has the potential to be the most expensive option, and also the most time consuming. Remember that companies like Strike 3 have a lot of money to throw at this, and while they would rather settle, they are not afraid to fight.
- Settle. In many cases, this is the best outcome for both sides. Strike 3 does not want to spend a fortune on legal fees and litigation costs (although it can afford it) any more than the defendants do. While there’s no guarantee that this will be cheap, in most cases it will be the least costly option.
Each case is different and there is no guarantee that a settlement or trial can be avoided. Anyone going up against Strike 3 or other copyright plaintiffs must have an experienced attorney who can fight hard to increase the chances of a favorable ruling or minimum settlement.
If you or someone you love is has been accused of copyright infringement by Strike 3 LLC, contact the attorneys of Rosenblum Law today. Our experienced copyright infringement attorneys have helped numerous clients fight allegations by copyright plaintiffs. Email us or call 888-815-364 for a free consultation today.