7,097 Defendants Pared From 'Batman XXX' Suit

Mon, Dec 27 2010 05:15pm PST
MARTINSBURG, Va. — The federal judge who quashed thousands of subpoenas requested in seven porn BitTorrent suits earlier this month has struck again.

This time, 7,097 defendants have been pared from Axel Braun Productions' suit, which alleges the John Doe defendants poached "Batman XXX: A Porn Parody." Only one Doe defendant remains in the suit.

"The plaintiff appears to allege that joinder is based upon the Does’ use of some of the same ISPs and some of the same peer-to-peer networks to infringe the same copyright," U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey said in an order. "Moreover, several courts agree that where there is no allegation that multiple defendants have acted in concert, joinder is improper.

"Further evidence of misjoinder is found in the undeniable fact that each defendant will also likely have a different defense," he said. "For this reason also, the court finds joinder in this case improper.

"This court chooses the route of severance. In fact, this court will sever all Doe defendants except Doe No. 1."

Today, Axel Braun Productions' attorney sent letters out to 12 ISPs explaining the judge's order.

When the "Batman" suit was filed, Axel Braun told XBIZ he wouldn't be shy suing those who pirate his movies, and he planned to use legal avenues against those who steal his content for every movie going forward.

"Fuck 'em all," he said at the time. "People don't realize that when you pirate a movie it hurts all of the people who work very hard to get it produced — from the cast to the production assistants to the makeup artists. These are people who live paycheck to paycheck, and with 'Batman XXX,' that was a film I financed myself. "

The suits involving the eight cases, including "Batman," that have resulted in quashed subpoena were filed by Kenneth Ford of the Adult Copyright Co.; all of those cases were filed at U.S. District Court in Martinsburg, W. Va.,

Braun and Ford couldn't immediately be reached by XBIZ late Monday.

Bailey earlier this month threw out 5,462 unnamed defendants from suits filed by Combat Zone, Elegant Angel, Third World Media and West Coast Productions.

Bailey, in Braun's case and the other adult studios' cases, said if they wanted to proceed they can do so by filing fees for each of the amended complaints, which would be assigned separate civil action numbers, but only if the defendants are located in West Virginia, where the cases were filed.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed amicus briefs in some of the cases, lauded the judge's ruling, calling it a "big victory in the fight against copyright trolls."

The EFF said that the studios in the suits were "abusing the law in an attempt to pressure settlements."

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