ISPs Ask Judge To Reconsider Order Allowing Copyright Trolling To Move Forward
from the time-to-reconsider dept
There have been a bunch of rulings in a variety of district courts around the country rejecting a variety of ways in which copyright trolling operations have been seeking to use the judicial system as a part of their business model — not to actually take anyone to court, but merely to (a) identify people they can threaten and (b) threaten them with the possibility of a lawsuit if they don’t pay up. Thankfully, an increasing number of judges have been calling the trolls out on this, and saying they won’t be a part of this. Usually this comes in the form of rejecting a request for expedited discovery (which would allow the trolls to subpoena subscriber info from ISPs) or arguing that lumping together so many users into a single case was improper.
However, there has been one major exception to these rejections: the case in the DC district court by Judge Beryl Howell… who just happens to have been a former RIAA lobbyist, who only recently left that job to take a seat on the bench. The Howell ruling is regularly cited by trolls as proof that there’s nothing wrong with the way in which they pursue these lawsuits — ignoring a massive number of rulings that say otherwise.
The ISPs in that original case, though, filed by AF Holdings, represented by Prenda Law (which, you may recall, is connected to John Steele), are asking Judge Howell to reconsider (especially in light of all those other rulings). On top of that, they’re saying that if she won’t reconsider, they’d like to take the issue up to the appeals court before proceeding with the rest of the case. That could become important, as it would be the first time an appeals court weighs in on this. Some public interest groups, including the ACLU and EFF, have filed an amicus brief as well, asking Judge Howell to change her decision concerning discovery.
The hearing on this is today, and we’ll let you know what happens.