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Subpoenaing ISPs For User Identities May Now Be More Difficult–At Least in Florida

In decisions that could have positive implications for bloggers and other social media users who wish to maintain their anonymity, two judges in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Miami-Dade County, Florida have recently quashed subpoenas seeking the disclosure of the identify of hundreds of nationwide “John Doe” defendants. In the two cases, plaintiffs Open Mind Solutions, Inc. and Boy Racer Inc. issued the subpoenas to a number of Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”).  Although the John Does are alleged to have infringed the plaintiffs’ copyrights in motion pictures through file sharing, rendering jurisdiction exclusive in federal court, the cases were filed in state court under a procedure called a “pure bill of discovery.”  One judge noted in dismissing the suit filed by OpenMind Solutions without prejudice that OpenMind Solutions could amend the suit if it named the ISPs from which it sought discovery as parties (to allow the ISPs to assert available defenses) and alleged that any specific John Doe actually committed… Continue Reading

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