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]