United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S EX PARTE MOTION FOR
EXPEDITED DISCOVERY RE: DKT. NO. 6
C. SPERO Chief Magistrate Judge.
Dallas Buyers Club, LLC ("DBC") alleges that the
unnamed Defendant ("Doe") has infringed its
copyright for the motion picture Dallas Buyers Club.
DBC has been unable to determine Doe's identity, but has
ascertained Doe's IP address (126.96.36.199) and Internet
Service Provider (Comcast Cable). Now pending before the
Court is DBC's ex parte Motion for Expedited
Discovery ("Motion"). DBC requests an order
permitting it to subpoena third party Comcast Cable for
records that will reveal the identity of the subscriber
associated with Doe's IP address. The Court finds that
the Motion is suitable for determination without oral
argument. See Civil L.R. 7-1(b). Good cause shown,
the Motion is GRANTED.
filed the instant Complaint against Doe on June 1, 2016,
alleging copyright infringement under the Copyright Act.
Compl. ¶¶ 35-41. DBC also filed Exhibit 1 in which
DBC lists the date, time, and location of the alleged acts of
infringement. Dkt. 1-1. Exhibit 1 also lists the IP address
and Internet Service Provider used in the alleged acts. In
the Complaint, DBC alleges as follows.
the registered copyright holder for the motion picture
Dallas Buyers Club ("the film"). Compl.
¶¶ 4, 6. The film contains wholly original material
that is copyrightable subject matter currently offered for
sale in commerce. Id. ¶¶ 8-9.
April 11, 2016, to May 18, 2016, Doe distributed a distinct
copy of the film in at least 190 instances. Id.
¶¶ 12, 15-16; see also Id . Ex. 1 (listing
the distributions). Doe distributed the film, as well as many
other copyrighted works, through BitTorrent's
peer-to-peer file sharing network. Compl. ¶¶ 12,
16-17, 30. Doe's BitTorrent activity is consistent with a
singular, identifiable adult who was authorized to use the IP
address from which the distributions were made. Id.
DBC only knows Doe by the IP address from which the
distributions were made (188.8.131.52, "Doe's IP
address"). Id. ¶ 12. Using geolocation
technology, DBC traced the distributions from Doe's IP
address to the Northern District of California. Id.
¶¶ 14-15, 21. DBC determined that Comcast Cable was
the Internet Service Provider for Doe's IP address when
the distributions occurred. Id. ¶ 21. Comcast
Cable generally assigns a subscriber one IP address for
extended time periods and maintains records of its IP address
assignments. Id. ¶ 21-22. Because the Comcast
Cable subscriber assigned Doe's IP address is either Doe
or a person who authorized Doe's Internet access, DBC
would likely be able to identify Doe upon discovering Comcast
Cable's records. Id. ¶ 22-23.
2, 2016, DBC filed the pending Motion, requesting that the
Court permit DBC to subpoena Comcast Cable under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 45. With the Motion, DBC filed the
Declaration of James S. Davis, DBC's counsel. Dkt. 6-3.
Davis declared that he compiled the list of distributions in
Exhibit 1 from data provided by DBC's investigators,
MaverickEye UG. Davis Decl. ¶¶ 5-6. He also
declared that, using three geolocation websites,
traced Doe's IP address to Alameda County and confirmed
Comcast Cable as the Internet Service Provider. Id.
¶¶ 8-9. Pursuant to his findings, Davis asserts
that Comcast Cable is able to identify the subscriber
assigned Doe's IP address, who is either Doe or someone
who can identify Doe. Id. ¶ 11.
Ninth Circuit, a district court may permit a plaintiff to
seek expedited discovery when good cause is shown.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(d)(1); see also Semitool, Inc. v. Tokyo
Electron Am., Inc., 208 F.R.D. 273, 275-76 (N.D. Cal.
2002); G.N. Iheaku & Co. Ltd. v. Does 1-3, No. C
14-02069 LB, 2014 WL 2759075, at *2 (N.D. Cal. June 17, 2014)
(collecting authority). "Good cause may be found where
the need for expedited discovery, in consideration of the
administration of justice, outweighs the prejudice to the
responding party." Semitool, Inc., 208 F.R.D.
at 275. "[G]ood cause is frequently found in cases
involving claims of infringement . . . ." Id.
District courts have broad discretion to fashion expedited
discovery orders. See Laub v. U.S. Dep't of
Interior, 342 F.3d 1080, 1093 (9th Cir. 2003);