A Washington, D.C. law firm called Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver has issued more than 10,000 lawsuits against “John Does” in 9 different lawsuits alleging copyright infringement. These nameless persons are said to have broken copyright law by sharing movies over BitTorrent sites.
In turn, the law firm has requested the names and contact information of all of those 10,000 people. That, of course, means the ISPs and email providers for them are tasked with offering up the information. Many of those alleged infringers were using Time Warner network addresses.
Time Warner’s lawyers have intervened, citing the costs associated with doing this and the manpower required. Their limited subpoena compliance division is only set up to deal with the few law enforcement requests they receive every year. Time Warner’s argument is that complying with the subpoena from Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver would cause delays in the IP lookups law enforcement needs to solve cases.
Time Warner averages about 567 IP lookups per month, nearly all for law enforcement. The judge in this case ruled that they should not be required to do more than 28 more per month (a 5% increase) to comply. Because of this massive delay (it would take Time almost 3 years to complete the lookups at this rate), the lawyers from Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver have asked for extensions on the cases, since they can’t notify defendants they don’t yet know the contact information for.
A lawyer for several of the defendants – many unnamed – has countered that this would put already-named defendants in legal limbo as they wait for others to be named.
Meanwhile, the entertainment industry’s continued push to sue, sue, and sue again as their (obviously failed) efforts to stem illegal file sharing keep going.