– A trio of consumer rights groups has filed legal briefs asking a court to
block subpoenas seeking the identities of alleged illegal movie downloaders,
saying the subpoenas "violate the individual users’ rights to due process
and anonymity." The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Electronic
Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Public Citizen Litigation Group are supporting
Time Warner Cable’s motion to quash or modify subpoenas for the identities of
thousands of its subscribers who allegedly downloaded certain movies using
The groups note that the subpoenas improperly join thousands of
unrelated defendants into a single action, and were filed in a jurisdiction
(D.C.) where few, if any, of the defendants reside.
The briefs also argue that
the plaintiffs "failed to show sufficiently that they had reason to
believe the individual defendants did anything wrong before attempting to
obtain their identifying information and failed to give the individual
defendants notice and an opportunity to challenge the subpoenas."
of the movie industry have the right to challenge alleged copyright
infringement, but they must do so in a way that upholds the law and
individuals’ due process rights," said Aden Fine, staff attorney with the
ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project.
"Lumping thousands of
unconnected individuals into a few cases in a court far from where they live,
without providing them adequate notice and a real opportunity to challenge the
subpoenas, is not that way."
(DMW previous coverage)