Bookmark and Share

 

LITIGATION

» Access to Courts and Court Remedies

» Campaign Finance and Election Laws

» Constitutional Rights and Requirements

» Health, Safety, and Environment

» Open Government and Open Courts

» Representing Consumers

» Workers' Rights


Currently Featured Topics

Government Transparency
Consumer Justice
First Amendment
Health, Safety and the Environment

SUPREME COURT
ASSISTANCE PROJECT

Read about our work helping lawyers
with cases in the Supreme Court.

 


  Public Citizen | Litigation Cases ***Search other cases***

Mick Haig Productions v. Doe

Topic(s): Internet Free Speech - File-Sharing

Documents:

Description:

A German maker of pornographic movies brought suit in Dallas Texas alleging that more than six hundred anonymous Internet users had infringed its copyright by making its movie "Der Gute Onkel" available for others to download. Mick Haig moved for early discovery, seeking authority to send subpoenas to the Does' Internet Service Providers. The trial judge appointed lawyers from Public Citizen and the Electronic Frontier Foundation as attorneys ad litem for the Does, so that there would be an adversary presentation on the issue of early discovery. Counsel ad litem argued that the case had not been properly brought in Texas, that joining hundreds of separate Does in one action was procedurally improper, and that the risk of misidentifying the anonymous Internet users as having offered pornography to others required special care to ensure a proper showing of infringement by each of the Does before discovery to identify them should be allowed.

It turned out that Mick Haig's lawyer issued subpoenas without waiting for the judge to approve its motion, and when we found out about this action, we complained to its lawyer about his jumping the gun. Our letter warned of the possible consequences of his action; in reaction, the lawyer immediately dismissed the suit with prejudice. However, the lawyer has refused to answer questions about his dealings with the Doe defendants. At our behest, the district court imposed sanctions on plaintiff’s counsel, ordering him to provide information about his contacts with the anonymous defendants and to notify all courts in which he is counsel about the sanctions order, as well as imposing a fine and requiring the payment of attorney fees.

Stone appealed the sanctions order and the attorney fees award, but the Court of Appeals affirmed, including a useful albeit brief discussion of the reasons why anonymous defendants may care very much about remaining anonymous, and why plaintiffs’ efforts to identify defendants should be constrained.

Copyright © 2010 Public Citizen. All rights reserved. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation.  Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.


Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation

 

Together, two separate corporate entities called Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation, Inc., form Public Citizen. Both entities are part of the same overall organization, and this Web site refers to the two organizations collectively as Public Citizen.

Although the work of the two components overlaps, some activities are done by one component and not the other. The primary distinction is with respect to lobbying activity. Public Citizen, Inc., an IRS § 501(c)(4) entity, lobbies Congress to advance Public Citizen’s mission of protecting public health and safety, advancing government transparency, and urging corporate accountability. Public Citizen Foundation, however, is an IRS § 501(c)(3) organization. Accordingly, its ability to engage in lobbying is limited by federal law, but it may receive donations that are tax-deductible by the contributor. Public Citizen Inc. does most of the lobbying activity discussed on the Public Citizen Web site. Public Citizen Foundation performs most of the litigation and education activities discussed on the Web site.

You may make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., Public Citizen Foundation, or both. Contributions to both organizations are used to support our public interest work. However, each Public Citizen component will use only the funds contributed directly to it to carry out the activities it conducts as part of Public Citizen’s mission. Only gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible. Individuals who want to join Public Citizen should make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., which will not be tax deductible.

 

To become a member of Public Citizen, click here.
To become a member and make an additional tax-deductible donation to Public Citizen Foundation, click here.