The first notice a person will typically get when facing a copyright infringement lawsuit for downloading illegal content is a letter from their internet service provider (ISP). This letter itself is a response to a subpoena that the ISP has been served by Strike 3 Holdings, LLC, a copyright holder of pornographic content, seeking information about the person who downloaded their copyrighted material. The letter typically advises the subscriber that they have a certain amount of time to file a motion to oppose or quash the subpoena.
If you’ve received a letter like this, a clock has begun ticking! As such, it is critical that you hire an attorney to fight the lawsuit right away to protect your identity and reduce any potential settlement.
Your Identity Can Be Revealed
The purpose of the subpoena is to require the ISP to reveal the subscriber’s information to the plaintiff (i.e. the copyright holder). For now, all the plaintiff has is the subscriber’s IP address. However, the IP address doesn’t have a name or physical address behind it. The subpoena compels the ISP to reveal the identity of the person being sued.
One of the many reasons it is important to act fast after receiving such a letter is that, after a certain amount of time has passed, the ISP will be required to disclose that information to the plaintiff.
Three Reasons to Keep Your Identity a Secret from Strike 3
- The plaintiff can and likely will name you in the lawsuit, instead of just the IP address. That can be pretty embarrassing–these lawsuits are a matter of public record and seem to indicate that you are pirating pornography.
- The plaintiff can go online and try to uncover all kinds of information about you. This includes how much money you are worth. For example, if an internet or social media search shows that you own a home, own one or more cars, or live in an upper-class neighborhood, this can make the lawsuit more worthwhile. In turn, it will increase the amount of money that the plaintiff will want to settle for.
- The plaintiff could uncover information that could be used against you at trial. This could include social media posts or other internet content that imply that you regularly download unauthorized content, support or use file sharing sites, or are opposed to stronger copyright laws.
For these reasons, one should hire an attorney to fight this case as soon as possible. If you contact an attorney early enough, it is possible to settle the case before the plaintiff ever finds out who the IP address belongs to. As long as the case can be settled before the deadline on the subpoena, your identity can be protected.
More Time Can Mean More Money
Another reason to act sooner has to do with legal fees. The more time that goes on, the more work that has to be done by the plaintiff’s lawyers. There’s the filing fee, then they will have to hire a process server to serve a subpoena, and then the defendant with the complaint. In addition, they may spend time trying to discover who you are and how much you are worth. As time goes on and the lawyers spend more time on this case, the more money the plaintiff is going to want to recover from this lawsuit.
Hiring an attorney early serves two purposes: it’s more likely the client’s identity will be protected and the settlement amount will be smaller.
What If I’ve Waited Too Long?
Far too often, a person sees this letter and assumes it’s a scam. As a result, too much time passes, and the copyright hold obtains the person’s information.
If too much time passes and it seems unlikely that you will meet the deadline, the best course of action is to remove any and all information about yourself from the internet that could give a hint as to your net worth.
For example, you may have social media posts that are public. Those accounts could have photos of your house or car. In addition, these posts might indicate that you live in a nice neighborhood or went to an expensive college. Such things increase the value of the case in the plaintiff’s eyes. It means they are going after someone with “deeper pockets”, as opposed to someone with lesser assets.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do I have to respond to a Strike 3 lawsuit?
The amount of time that a person has to respond to a Strike 3 lawsuit depends on many factors. Typically, if you have received a letter from your ISP that they have been subpoenaed for your information, the letter will indicate how long you have to respond before they surrender those details. Bottom line: The sooner you respond, the better.
Can I ignore a Strike 3 lawsuit?
Do not ever ignore a Strike 3 lawsuit. While it may seem like a scam, it is not and the consequences for ignoring include having one’s name published in public court documents as someone who downloads porn, as well as paying a far more substantial settlement.
Can Strike 3 find out my identity?
Yes! Strike 3 has the legal right to obtain a person’s identity from his/her ISP, and will likely succeed in doing so unless an attorney settles the case out of court on your behalf before it can get to that point. In such a case, all Strike 3 will know is your IP address, but not who you are or anything about your financial situation.
Who Should I Contact?
If you or someone you love has been accused of copyright infringement by Strike 3 Holdings, Malibu Media, 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. E-mail Rosenblum Law or call 888-815-3694 today for a free consultation about your case.