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Pacific Century Internationalhrl Ltd v. Unknown

August 5, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Howard R. Lloyd United States Magistrate Judge

** E-filed August 5, 2011 **


United States District Court For the Northern District of California




Plaintiff Pacific Century International, Ltd. ("Pacific"), a Malta-based producer of adult film 19 content, filed this complaint on June 27, 2011. Docket No. 1. ("Compl."). Pacific alleges that at least 129 unknown Defendants knowingly and willfully infringed its copyright by downloading and 21 sharing its copyrighted work, "Amateur Creampies -- Farrah" (the "Work"). Specifically, it alleges 22 that Doe Defendants engaged in unlawful concerted conduct for the purpose of infringing its Work 23 using an online peer-to-peer ("P2P") file-sharing tool called BitTorrent, in violation of the 24 Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 101 et seq. The BitTorrent protocol, as explained by Judge Grewal: 25 is a decentralized method of distributing data. Since its release approximately 10 years ago, BitTorrent has allowed users to share files anonymously with other users.

Instead of relying on a central server to distribute data directly to individual users, the BitTorrent protocol allows individual users to distribute data amo[ng] themselves by exchanging pieces of the file with each other to eventually obtain a whole copy of thefile. When using the BitTorrent protocol, every user simultaneously receivesinformation from and transfers information to one another.

Diabolic Video Productions, Inc. v. Does 1-2099, No. 10-CV-5865 (PSG), 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS having to disclose their identities, using only an Internet Protocol ("IP") address assigned to them by their respective Internet Service Providers ("ISPs"). See Compl. ¶ 20. detection, to identify the IP addresses of individuals engaged in file-sharing of its copyrighted Work. See Hansmeier Decl. ¶¶ 12-20. MCG used proprietary forensic software to locate the swarms 16 downloading and distributing Pacific's Work and to identify the IP addresses of each user in the 17 swarm, noting the date and time of the observed activity. See id.; Compl. Ex. A. Pacific joined multiple Doe Defendants in this suit, claiming that P2P sharing of its copyrighted Work comprised a transaction or series of transactions and asserting common questions 20 of law and fact among each Defendant. See Compl. ¶¶ 9-13. Using the list of IP addresses, Pacific 21 seeks leave to subpoena the ISPs to identify each Doe Defendant's name, address, telephone 22 number, email address, and Media Access Control information. Ex Parte Application for Leave to Defendants for purposes of service of process unless its Application is granted.

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(d), a court may authorize early discovery before 27 the Rule 26(f) conference for the parties' convenience and in the interest of justice. FED. R. CIV. P. 26(f)(1), (2). Courts within the Ninth Circuit generally use a "good cause" standard to determine In the BitTorrent vernacular, individual downloaders/distributors of a particular file are called "peers." The group of peers involved in downloading/distributing a particular file is called a "swarm." A server which stores a list of peers in a swarm is called a "tracker." A computer program that implements the BitTorrent protocol is called a BitTorrent "client."

The BitTorrent protocol operates as follows. First, a user locates a small "torrent" file. This file contains information about the files to be shared and about the tracker, the computer that coordinates the file distribution. Second, the user loads the torrent file into a BitTorrent client, which automatically attempts to connect to the tracker listed in the torrent file. Third, the tracker responds with a list of peers and the BitTorrent client connects to those peers to begin downloading data from and distributing data to the other peers in the swarm. When the download is complete, the BitTorrent client continues distributing data to the peers in the swarm until the user manually disconnects [from] the swarm or the BitTorrent client otherwise does the same.

58351, at *3-4 (N.D. Cal. May 31, 2011). BitTorrent also allows users to exchange files without Pacific hired Media Copyright Group ("MCG"), a firm specializing in online piracy Take Limited Expedited Discovery ("Application") at 25. It claims that it cannot identify Doe 24

United States District Court For the Northern ...

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