Federal judge rejects challenge by Internet customers to subpoenas seeking their names

Friday, September 10, 2010

Judge allows subpoenas for Internet users

WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Friday allowed the holder of a movie copyright to subpoena the names of people accused of illegally downloading and distributing a film over the Internet.

Courts have held that Internet subscribers do not have an expectation of privacy once they convey subscriber information to their Internet service providers, U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled.

Collyer denied motions by some computer users to quash subpoenas for subscriber information.

The decision came in the case of a German limited partnership which is suing some Internet users for copyright infringement of the movie “Far Cry,” a video game adaptation.

Achte/Neunte Boll Kino Beteiligungs Gmbh & Co KG, a creator and distributor of motion pictures, holds an exclusive license to the copyright of “Far Cry” in which two reporters investigate the deaths of mercenaries on an island off the coast of the Pacific Northwest.

The partnership identified the Internet protocol addresses of computers associated with the alleged infringement. It then subpoenaed the Internet service providers seeking names of individuals associated with those addresses. Notified by their provider, some of the customers challenged the subpoenas.

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