On July 12, 2012, the court held a hearing on a motion to quash filed by "Objector John Doe,"*fn1 and on two motions for protective order filed by ISP Address 18.104.22.168 and IP Address 22.214.171.124. None of these individuals are the John Doe defendant named in the operative complaint. Brett Gibbs appeared for plaintiff. Nicholas Ranallo appeared for the identified IP Addresses. Joseph Edmondson appeared for "Objector John Doe." Upon review of the motions, hearing the arguments of counsel and good cause appearing therefor, THE COURT FINDS AS FOLLOWS:
RELEVANT FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
This action was filed on March 9, 2012 naming a single defendant, John Doe IP
Address 126.96.36.199. See Compl., Ex. A. Plaintiff alleges that this John Doe and certain co-conspirators, who are not named as defendants, illegally downloaded plaintiff's copyrighted creative work, an adult video ("the Work"), from BitTorrent, a file sharing method that distributes data over the Internet. According to plaintiff, John Doe IP Address 188.8.131.52 and his co-conspirators participated in a "peer-to-peer" network in which they exchanged the Work using BitTorrent, thereby taking part in a civil conspiracy to commit copyright infringement.
Plaintiff states that it knows the Doe defendant and his co-conspirators only by their IP addresses, which were identified by plaintiff's agents "observ[ing] unlawful reproduction and distribution occurring among IP addresses listed on Exhibit A ... via the BitTorrent Internet protocol." Compl. at ¶ 4. Exhibit A to the complaint lists the IP addresses of the Doe defendant and Exhibit B lists the IP addresses of the alleged co-conspirators, as well as the date and time in which these individuals allegedly engaged in acts of infringement.
Plaintiff brings suit for copyright infringement, civil conspiracy and contributory infringement. Plaintiffs seek an award for both injunctive and monetary relief. Plaintiff also declares its intent to seek leave of court to amend the complaint to join John Doe IP Address 184.108.40.206's co-conspirators as defendants. B. The Ex Parte Application for Leave to Take Early Discovery Because plaintiff knew the Doe defendant and the co-conspirators' identities only by their IP addresses, plaintiff sought leave on March 13, 2012 to take early discovery ("the Application") in order to subpoena the Internet Service Providers ("ISP") of the IP addresses associated with the single John Doe defendant and the multiple non-party co-conspirators.
C. Order Granting Leave to Take Early Discovery
On March 19, 2012, the undersigned granted the Application, authorizing plaintiff
to serve Rule 45 subpoenas on the ISPs named in Exhibit A and B of the complaint. The subpoenas required the ISPs to notify subscribers of the IP addresses whose information was to be released so that the subscribers would have an opportunity to file objections or motions to quash with the court.
D. Motion to Quash and Motions for Protective Order
On May 24, 2012, "Objector John Doe" filed a motion to quash. Doc. No. 10. On May 25, 2012, the individuals identified by their IP addresses (IP Address 220.127.116.11 and IP Address 18.104.22.168) filed separate motions for protective order. Doc. Nos. 12, 14.