Consider this scenario: you receive a notice from your Internet service provider about a subpoena seeking your identity. According to the letter, a company claims your account’s Internet protocol (or IP) address is involved with unlawfully obtained content from a file-sharing site, and they want to sue you for copyright infringement.
Between 2010 and 2011 alone, more than 200,000 Internet subscribers were sued in mass copyright infringement lawsuits that hinged on IP addresses as evidence. But in recent years, courts have increasingly dismissed what are termed “doe subpoenas,” which are lawsuits that list “John Doe” as the defendant and then use the legal discovery process to determine the identity of the person. Time and again, courts have ruled that an IP address is not sufficient proof in determining an Internet subscriber’s complicity in a crime.
On March 20, Florida District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro tossed a case brought against IP address 188.8.131.52 by adult film producer Malibu Media LLC. In her order, Judge Ungaro wrote that an IP address doesn’t constitute a direct link to an actual person, nor does it confirm that the person lives within the court’s jurisdiction.
Read the rest of my The Consumer Eagle article here.