UMG Recordings Inc. 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, sought 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 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. The court rejected amici’s arguments as premature and granted leave to take early discovery, but ordered Verizon to give notice to the anonymous defendants first so that they could seek to quash the subpoena if they desired.