Printed from http://www.electronista.com

Federal Judge: IP address insufficient to identify potential infringer

updated 04:15 pm EST, Thu January 23, 2014

New ruling speaks towards weakness of IP address as a definite identification

In a ruling likely to complicate mass-piracy lawsuits, a judge in Washington state tossed out a lawsuit accusing eight "John Does" and four named individuals of illegally downloading the movie Elf-Man. The presiding judge has declared that an IP address alone isn't sufficient to identify a user, and lacks sufficient granularity of identity to sue the possessor for copyright infringement.

"[The movie studio] has actually alleged no more than that the named defendants purchased Internet access and failed to ensure that others did not use that access to download copyrighted material," Washington District Judge Robert Lasnik ruled. "Simply identifying the account holder associated with an IP address tells us very little about who actually downloaded Elf-Man using that IP address." Lasnik added that "While it is possible that the subscriber is the one who participated in the BitTorrent swarm, it is also possible that a family member, guest, or freeloader engaged in the infringing conduct."

The ruling notes that a public-facing IP address isn't the same as a user identity, which the distributors of Elf-Man failed to properly identify. Of the 122 unknown individuals sued by the movie distributor, four were named by ISPs, with eight others left unnamed. The eight users unnamed by the ISPs had their suits dismissed for lack of an actual named defendant, with the four remaining in the suit dismissed by the ruling on January 17.

While the case has been dismissed, the plaintiff can re-file it. However, Judge Lasnik noted in his closing paragraph of the ruling that "given the procedural posture of this case, it is doubtful that plaintiff has facts to support the allegations of personal involvement and/or intent on which its claims rely. Nevertheless, it may have additional information regarding individual defendants that would provide the necessary heft to its factual allegations and should be given an opportunity to remedy the deficiencies identified by the Court." The Elf-Man producers have until February 1 to re-file the case with additional information.



By Electronista Staff
Post tools:

TAGS :

toggle

Comments

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.

toggle

Network Headlines

toggle

Most Popular

Sponsor

Recent Reviews

PenClic Bluetooth mouse

Windows 8 aside, computer users have been trained that a mouse is the proper way to navigate through the desktop for years. Trackballs ...

Cat B100

Cat is primarily known for its heavy-duty machinery used in the construction industry and farming, among other areas. What may not be ...

Linksys EA6900 AC Router

As 802.11ac networking begins to makes its way into more and more devices, you may find yourself considering an upgrade for your home ...

Sponsor

toggle

Most Commented

 
toggle

Popular News