The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Anthony J. Battaglia U.S. Magistrate Judge United States District Court
Order Granting Application For Leave To Take Immediate Discovery
On October 18, 2007, Plaintiffs filed a complaint against the Doe Defendant for copyright infringement, alleging that Defendant used an online media distribution system to download and distribute copyrighted works. Plaintiffs do not know the name of the Doe Defendant, but have identified the unique Internet Protocol address assigned to Defendant at the date and time of the alleged infringing activity and have also identified the Internet Service Provider that provided Defendant with internet access at the date and time of the alleged infringing activity. Simultaneous to their complaint, Plaintiffs have filed an Ex Parte Application seeking leave of the Court to serve immediate discovery on the Internet Service Provider, San Diego State University, to identify Defendant. Plaintiffs intend to serve a subpoena pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45 on San Diego State University seeking documents that identify Defendant's true name, current and permanent addresses and telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, and Media Access Control addresses.
In accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(d), discovery does not commence until parties to an action meet and confer as prescribed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(f), unless by court order or agreement of the parties. A court order permitting early discovery may be appropriate "where the need for expedited discovery, in consideration of the administration of justice, outweighs the prejudice to the responding party." Semitool, Inc. v. Tokyo Electron America, Inc., 208 F.R.D. 273, 276 (N.D.Cal.2002).
After reviewing Plaintiffs' Ex Parte Application to take discovery, the declaration of Carlos Linares, and the accompanying Memorandum of Law, the Court finds good cause to grant Plaintiffs' Application, based on: (1) the allegations of copyright infringement contained in Plaintiffs complaint; (2) the danger that San Diego State University will not preserve the information that Plaintiffs seek; (3) the narrow tailoring of the discovery request so as not to exceed the minimum information required to advance this lawsuit without prejudicing the Defendant; and (4) the Court's finding that the expedited discovery requested will substantially contribute to moving this case forward. Furthermore, without such discovery, Plaintiffs cannot identify the Doe Defendant, and thus cannot pursue their lawsuit to protect their copyrighted works from infringement. Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
1. Plaintiffs may serve immediate discovery on San Diego State University to obtain the identity of the Doe Defendant by serving a subpoena pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45 that seeks information sufficient to identify the Doe Defendant, including the name, current and permanent addresses and telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, and Media Access Control addresses for the Defendant.
2. Any information disclosed to Plaintiffs in response to the subpoena may be used by Plaintiffs solely for the purpose of protecting Plaintiffs' rights under the Copyright Act.
3. If San Diego State University and/or the Defendant wishes to move to quash the subpoena, they shall do so before the return date of the subpoena. If such a motion is brought, San Diego State University shall nonetheless preserve the information sought in the subpoena pending resolution of such motion.
4. Plaintiffs shall provide a copy of this Order to San Diego State University when the subpoena is served.
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