United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
E. MARTIN MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Leave to Take Discovery Prior to Rule 26(f) Conference [DE
4], filed by Plaintiff on May 24, 2017. Plaintiff requests
leave to issue subpoenas to non-party internet service
providers to determine the identity of the Doe Defendants in
filed its Complaint on May 24, 2017, alleging copyright
infringement claims against ten Doe Defendants. Plaintiff
alleges that the Doe Defendants violated Plaintiff's
copyright by downloading and sharing unauthorized copies of
London Has Fallen, a movie in which Plaintiff
maintains a copyright interest. At this time, the only
information Plaintiff has about the Doe Defendants is their
Internet Protocol (IP) address, as well as the city in which
the alleged infringement occurred. Accordingly, Plaintiff now
seeks to subpoena records from various internet service
providers (ISPs) to connect the IP addresses with the Doe
Defendants' actual identities.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure generally prohibit discovery
from occurring before the parties conduct a Rule 26(f)
conference, unless the Court enters an order allowing early
discovery for “good cause.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(d)(1); Progressive Cas. Ins. Co. v. FDIC, 283
F.R.D. 556, 557 (N.D. Iowa 2012). Courts consider the
following five factors to determine whether there is good
cause for early discovery aimed at internet service providers
to uncover internet users' identities:
(1) [A] concrete showing of a prima facie claim; (2) a
specific discovery request; (3) the absence of alternative
means to obtain the subpoenaed information; (4) the need for
the subpoenaed information to advance the claim; and (5) a
minimal expectation of privacy by the defendant in the
Rotten Records, Inc. v. Doe, 108 F.Supp.3d 132, 133
(W.D.N.Y. 2015); see also First Time Videos, LLC
v. Does 1-500, 276 F.R.D. 241, 248-49 (N.D. Ill. 2011)
(quoting Sony Music Entm't v. Does
1-40, 326 F.Supp.2d 556, 564-65 (S.D.N.Y. 2004)).
meets these requirements. First, Plaintiff has made a prima
facie claim of copyright infringement, which consists of two
elements: (1) ownership of a valid copyright and (2) copying
of constituent elements of the work that are original.
Feist Publ'ns, Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv. Co.,
Inc., 499 U.S. 340, 361 (1991). Plaintiff alleges that
it maintains a copyright interest in London Has
Fallen and that the Doe Defendants copied and
distributed London Has Fallen. Second, Plaintiff has
identified specific discovery, limited to identifying the Doe
Defendants through their internet service providers. Third,
Plaintiff does not have an alternative means to match the ISP
addresses with the Doe Defendants' identities.
Plaintiff needs the information it seeks to advance its
asserted claims. Indeed, without discovering the Doe
Defendants' identities, Plaintiff cannot pursue its
claims for relief at all. Finally, Plaintiff's interest
in learning the Doe Defendants' true identities outweighs
the Doe Defendants' privacy interest in sharing
copyrighted work through an online file-sharing network.
See Rotten Records, 108 F.Supp.3d at 133 (quoting
Arista Records, LLC v. Doe, 604 F.3d 110, 124 (2d
Plaintiff has shown good cause for the requested discovery,
and early discovery is appropriate. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(d)(1);
Progressive, 283 F.R.D. at 557.
with the foregoing discussion, the Court hereby
GRANTS the Motion for Leave to Take
Discovery prior to ...