United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville
I.T. PRODUCTIONS, LLC, PLAINTIFF
DOES 1-11, DEFENDANTS
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B. RUSSELL, SENIOR JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Leave to Take Limited Discovery Prior to Rule 26(f)
Conference. For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's
motion, [DN 8], is GRANTED.
a copyright infringement action related to Defendants'
alleged infringement of Plaintiff's registered copyright
in the movie I.T., which was released in the United
States in September 2016. [DN 1 at 1-2 (Complaint).]
Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants, who it identifies as
Does 1-11, (the “Doe Defendants”), used a
peer-to-peer file sharing program called BitTorrent to
distribute Plaintiff's copyrighted material.
[Id. at 3.] The Doe Defendants “are currently
known only by their Internet Protocol (“IP”)
addresses, which were observed by Plaintiff's
investigator . . . as distributing Plaintiff's motion
picture.” [Id.] As a result, in the instant
motion, Plaintiff seeks to conduct limited discovery prior to
the Rule 26(f) planning conference to determine the
identities and contact information of the Doe Defendants. [DN
8-1 at 2-3 (Motion for Leave to Take Limited Discovery).]
26(d) provides, initially, that “[a] party may not seek
discovery from any source before the parties have conferred
as required by Rule 26(f).” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(1).
However, the Rule goes on to identify an exception for
discovery “authorized . . . by court order.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(1). District courts within the Sixth Circuit
“require a showing of good cause in order to authorize
expedited discovery.” Malibu Media, LLC v.
Doe, No. 2:15-CV-2714, 2015 WL 12732840, at *1 (S.D.
Ohio Aug. 19, 2015) (citing Tesuco Holdings Ltd. v. Does
1-12, 2012 WL 6607894 (E.D. Tenn. December 18, 2012)).
See also Woodward v. Chetvertakov, No.
2:13-CV-11943, 2013 WL 5836219, at *1 (E.D. Mich. Oct. 30,
2013) (“In deciding whether to permit discovery in
advance of the Rule 26(f) conference, the Court should
evaluate whether good cause exists.”) (citation
cause may be found based upon ‘(1) allegations of
copyright infringement, (2) the danger that the ISP will not
preserve the information sought, (3) the narrow scope of the
information sought, and (4) the conclusion that expedited
discovery would substantially contribute to moving the case
forward.'” Manny Film, LLC v. Doe, No.
2:15-CV-1053, 2015 WL 12732854, at *1 (S.D. Ohio Mar. 27,
2015) (quoting Best v. Mobile Streams, Inc., No.
1:12-CV-564, 2012 WL 5996222, at *1 (S.D. Ohio Nov. 30,
2012)). In addition, “[c]ourts . . . look to whether
evidence would be lost or destroyed with time and whether the
proposed discovery is narrowly tailored.” Id.
(citing Best, 2012 WL 5996222, at *1).
wishes to serve Rule 45 subpoenas on Comcast, the Internet
Service Provider for each of the eleven Doe Defendants, so
that it may obtain the subscriber names and contact
information for each of the Doe Defendants. In determining
the appropriateness of conducting such early discovery in a
similar case, one court explained:
In granting expedited discovery in BitTorrent cases, courts
have found several factors significant. One such factor is
the specificity with which the defendants have been
identified, including the assigned IP addresses, the date and
time of the alleged illegal download, the hash identifier of
the downloaded file, the ISP, and the location of the IP
address. Also significant are the steps taken by the
plaintiff to locate and identify the Doe defendants. Further,
courts have looked to whether the elements of a copyright
infringement claim have been pled. Courts also have
considered whether the proposed discovery seeks information
likely to lead to information which would allow a plaintiff
to effectuate service on the defendants. Finally, courts have
considered the likelihood of prejudice to any alleged
Manny Film, LLC, 2015 WL 12732854, at *2 (S.D. Ohio
Mar. 27, 2015) (citing Vision Films Inc. v. Does
1-20, No. 3:12-CV-643, 2013 WL 1385203, at *2 (E.D.
Tenn. Apr. 3, 2013)). Here, Plaintiff has identified the Doe
Defendants in detail. Specifically, Plaintiff attached to its
Complaint a list of each Doe Defendant's IP address, the
location of each IP address, the date and time at which the
illegal downloads allegedly occurred, the file names that
were downloaded, the “hash identifier” of the
download, and the Internet Service Provider for each
Defendant (Comcast). [DN 1-2 at 2-4.] Moreover,
Plaintiff's forensic investigator, Daniel Arheidt,
explained in his Declaration the efforts expended to identify
the Doe Defendants. [DN 8-1 at 16-18 (Declaration of David
Plaintiff has pled the elements of a copyright infringement
claim. Plaintiff alleges that the Doe Defendants copied and
distributed I.T. without Plaintiff's permission
and in violation of Plaintiff's exclusive rights in
I.T. under the Copyright Act. [See DN 1 at
the Rule 45 subpoenas that Plaintiff wishes to serve are
likely to lead to the discovery of information that would
allow Plaintiff to effectively serve the Doe Defendants.
Specifically, Plaintiff states in its motion that each Doe
Defendant subscribes to and obtains internet access from
Comcast, and therefore that Comcast has the information
necessary to identify each Doe Defendant. [DN 8-1 at 2-3.]
Additionally, as Plaintiff only seeks to discover the
subscriber names and contact information for each Doe
Defendant, the Court finds that its discovery requests are
sufficiently tailored to Plaintiff's limited goal of
effectuating service on the Doe Defendants.
given the limited nature Plaintiff's proposed requests,
the Court can discern no potential prejudice on behalf of the
Doe Defendants. Therefore, the Court finds that Plaintiff has
demonstrated the requisite good cause to serve limited
discovery prior to the Rule 26(f) conference in this ...