Porn Piracy Cases Getting Mainstream Attention

Jul 14, 2011 2:00 PM PST

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — As more adult companies continue filing BitTorrent lawsuits targeting hundreds of John Does, one lawsuit has received mainstream attention.

A BitTorrent suit, filed by Third Degree Films, has been thrown into the mainstream spotlight after a Purdue University College student filed a motion to quash its subpoena seeking that the school release the student’s identity.

The news of the motion was picked up by several mainstream outlets including TheSmoking Gun, Chronicle.com, Salon.com and Indiana news agencies.

The studio filed the suit last December targeting nearly 2,000 John Does who allegedly downloaded “Illegal Ass 2.” The subpoena seeks the name, address, telephone number and email address of the student by Aug. 15.

The 19-year-old student, known as Doe 26, filed the motion to quash in federal court, claiming that the company is on an unjustified fishing expedition that would “risk reputational injury to a promising young college student.

The motion to quash, filed by attorney Raymond Modesitt, contends that an IP address is “not a fingerprint or DNA evidence.” It cites a similar case where an Illinois judge wrote that a correlation may or may not exist between an individual subscriber, an IP address and the “infringing activity.”

Third Degree’s lawsuit alleges that the student’s IP address was used last fall to download the film starring Sasha Grey. It also names IP addresses at seven other universities where “Illegal Ass 2” was downloaded.

The motion to quash contends Doe 26 lived in a dorm surrounded by a roommate and other college students.

"Every passer-by with even a modicum of technological skill had ample opportunity to use Doe 26's IP address for their own purposes without detection," the motion states.

Third Degree Film’s attorney Ira Siegel told XBIZ he can’t comment on ongoing litigation.

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