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BMG Music v. Does

File Sharing – Following the D.C. Court of Appeals’ ruling in RIAA v. Verizon Internet Services, a group of music companies filed a series of lawsuits, each of which accuses between 7 and 300 anonymous defendants of illegal file-sharing. Public Citizen, along with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union, is seeking to force the music companies to give the unnamed defendants the same Due Process and First Amendment rights as any other defendant. Specifically, Public Citizen has asked the courts to require proof of copyright violations before ordering each defendant’s Internet Service Provider to reveal the defendant’s identity, and to force the music companies to file separate lawsuits where each defendant resides.

Although the district judge did not ultimately protect the identities at issue, she issued an order requiring that in all future file-sharing cases in Philadelphia, a model notice had to be given to the Doe defendants informing them of their rights and identifying sources from which they might obtain free legal advice about how to respond to the subpoenas.