Judge Sides With Comcast Against “Shakedown” Porn Lawyers

Last week, we told you about Comcast’s refusal to comply with subpoenas for lawyers for porn companies who wanted the cable company to identify the customers behind IP addresses believed to have illegally downloaded copyrighted material. Now the judge in the case has sided with the Kabletown crew, quashing those subpoenas.

Comcast had argued that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the numerous “John Doe”s was really just a “shakedown” effort. The lawyers use the subpoenas to identify potential defendants and then leverage the fact that most people don’t want the world to know what kinds of porn they are watching to get them to settle out of court.

In its request to have the subpoenas quashed, Comcast noted that this particular plaintiff has already filed at least 118 lawsuits against more than 15,000 currently-unnamed defendants. And they are only one of many companies that have found a comfortable spot in the growing niche of lawsuits related to porn downloads.

“Plaintiffs should not be allowed to profit from unfair litigation tactics whereby they use the offices of the Court as an inexpensive means to gain Doe defendants’ personal information and coerce ‘settlements’ from them,” argued Comcast. “It is evident in these cases — and the multitude of cases filed by plaintiffs and other pornographers represented by their counsel — that plaintiffs have no interest in actually litigating their claims against the Doe defendants, but simply seek to use the Court and its subpoena powers to obtain sufficient information to shake down the Doe defendants.”

Some publishers, like John Wiley, the company behind the “For Dummies” series of books, have recently launched similar legal actions against alleged downloaders. However, there the plaintiff only has the leverage of people not wanting to get involved in a legal quagmire… unless there is some secret shame to having read “Copyright Law for Dummies.”

Comcast crushes porn owner’s “shakedown” of subscribers [PaidContent.org]

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  1. buddyedgewood says:

    I thought I’d never say this… Thank you Comcast!

  2. Ouze says:

    …. and how is this different then when the RIAA was doing it?

    • nishioka says:

      The porn industry probably gives less money to your local congresscritter than the music industry does.

    • Crank says:

      The difference? One is a sleazy, amoral, remorseless money grubbing soul sucking wrecker of lives. The other one is the RIAA.

      • Crank says:

        Doh! This thing needs an edit function. I meant to say, “The other one is the pornographer.”

    • Darrone says:

      The RIAA targeted MUCH smaller numbers and actually took people to court/won judgements based on the evidence. These lawyers take HUGE swaths of people in a single case, with zero intention of going to court, they only seek to scare checks out of people and make money. This is partly because they have virtually no evidence against them, other than an IP address.

      The RIAA was never meant to make money, it spent more in court costs than it ever collected. It was designed to be a deterrent and show people it was against civil law. These clowns are 1 step above nigerian scammers.

  3. drjayphd says:

    unless there is some secret shame to having read “Copyright Law for Dummies.”

    Charles Carreon’s secret shame is he hasn’t even read that.

  4. Blueskylaw says:

    I’m still waiting for the Downloading Porn Without Getting Caught For Dummies book.

  5. Robert Nagel says:

    I am impressed that the writer knows the difference between quashed and squashed. Most don’t. Kudos to you.

  6. TerraSin says:

    I thought smut couldn’t be copyrighted to begin with?

    • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

      I think their ploy was to target folks who had downloaded porn and copyrighted material, and then get them to pay up before they were outed as porn fiends.

    • sirwired says:

      Why would you think that? It is just as copyrightable as any movie, magazine, picture, etc.

      Obscenity is not copyrightable, but something has to be truly vile to cross that particular line. Mere porn doesn’t even come close.

  7. spazztastic says:

    Wait…we’re on Comcast’s side here? But…but…Comcast is evil…right?

  8. dolemite says:

    I guess porn lobbyists don’t have the $ the MPAA and RIAA have.

  9. CrazyEyed says:

    People actually pay for porn?

    • sirwired says:

      What I can’t figure out is why you’d need to resort to BitTorrent (which exposes you to legal liability) to download porn. It’s not as if there’s any shortage of freely downloadable porn out there. And nobody, not the RIAA, MPAA, or even these guys, have gone after people that just download copyrighted material; it’s the “making available for upload” that they hinge their arguments on.

      Lesson: If you are not going to pay for something copywritten, be a freeloader.

      • CrazyEyed says:

        I agree. There’s too many free sites out to even consider pirating paid porn. In addition, everyones going to streaming so there’s no need to go the download route either.

  10. krom says:

    Re the “For Dummies” lawsuit… this is all that needs to be said:

    http://www.amazon.com/BitTorrent-For-Dummies-Susannah-Gardner/dp/076459981X