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Strike 3 Holdings v. Doe

A company that makes pornographic films sued two hundred anonymous Internet users located throughout the country, claiming that computer addresses assigned to them had been spotted offering sections of the company’s films for download via BitTorrent, in violation of copyright. The company served a subpoena on Comcast demanding disclosure of the users identities. Representing an anonymous user in California who denies using BitTorrent or having any of the plaintiff’s movies, we have moved to quash the subpoena and dismiss the suit, arguing that copyright cases can only be filed in  federal court, that a California user cannot be sued in Florida, and that because there is no evidence that our client infringed any copyright, there is no basis for depriving our client of anonymity. On the eve of the hearing on the motion to quash, Strike 3 Holdings dropped the subpoena as to our client. Because federal copyright law completely preempts state law proceedings seeking remedies for copyright infringement, we moved for an award of attorney fees and costs under the Copyright Act’s attorney fees provision, contending that Strike 3 had no reasonable basis for filing in state court and that it conducted its litigation in an unreasonable manner. The court, however, denied the motion, holding that there was no prevailing party.