She may have given the ISPs an out, but given the fact that, earlier this month, Prenda has sued two of the ISPs involved as well as an employee of each firm. How is performing 1,058 IP lookups NOT an undue burden? Do you know how much that costs? Comcast had to set up a new division to comply with all of these subpoenas flooding in. Time Warner has stated that it costs them $45 per IP and it's been estimated that it costs AT&T $100 per IP, not to mention the time, computing resources, and extra employees needed to do all of this.
She may have certified an immediate interlocutory appeal but the genie's out of the bottle. I would be happy if she had stayed the issuance of third-party subpoenas until a decision comes down from the appeals court. She knowingly hands over thousands of peoples' personal information to lawyers who will harass the hell out of them for a year or more, even if dismissed. Then she says "well, I'm gonna let you appeal the decision I just made to let Paul Duffy and John Steele have the personal info of 1,058 people." Another alternative, she could have allowed limited discovery. Names and addresses only, no phone numbers or email addresses. Enough to name and serve since that's the purpose of these suits, right? I would be fine with that. Since they hardly ever name and serve, no big deal there.
The only reason why I question her CV is because if you're doing something for so long, you develop a bias. Such as myself. I didn't care about regulation until I began doing audit work...now I HATE regulation because it makes my job so much more taxing. I'm not saying she was indoctrinated. I'm saying that she could possibly be biased and that is enough for a recusal.
"Sadly, you conclude...." Really? Do you believe that my vocabulary consists of 200 words or less? We disagree which is fine since it's been civil up until now. Why do you feel compelled to insult my intelligence now? You have NO IDEA who I am, how educated I am, or have any other detail about me except that I'm not an attorney (no shit?) and that I'm obviously biased in favor of the defendants in these cases because I got caught up in one of these cases that has long since been dismissed and maintain my innocence to this day.
So you're saying that her ruling is a fair application of the law? Strict interpretation, who cares what other judges have said that directly contradict her? Judges who see what these lawsuits really are. It'll get hashed out in the appeals court anyway.
Yeah, so Howell's analysis of the FRCP is "different." I wouldn't consider "strict interpretation" to be synonymous with "analyzing." She is well aware that she is facilitating extrajudicial extortion, yet she couldn't care less. Why? Who knows. Maybe she's hell-bent on "sticking it" to copyright alleged copyright infringers, or maybe she's just following the letter of the law. I highly doubt the latter since last year involving three USCG cases, she consolidated them because they were substantially similar. Then she ruled that forcing the plaintiff to file individual lawsuits (against a few thousand Does) would cost too much money which would "further limit their ability to protect their legal rights" so she did not ruled against motions to sever. Where is "rulings shall be based on saving the plaintiff money by joining as many defendants as possible" in the FRCP? Where are the legal rights of Doe defendants in these cases? Oh, yes, they have no rights and Howell has explicitly stated that more times than I can count. As far as IP geolocation goes, that's not accurate because she says so. However it's accurate enough for the plaintiffs to use in justifying their complaints but not for the defendants to use to argue lack of personal jurisdiction. Right, not defendants because they haven't been properly joined and served. She also doesn't follow Rule 4(m), ever. Some of these cases on her docket have been going on for almost a year, well past the 120 day "name and serve process or dismiss" rule. Does she seem to care? Nope. If she was truly following the letter of the law, these cases would have been dismissed months ago. She conveniently adheres to certain Rules contained within the FRCP, and conveniently ignores others.
You completely ignore that she has a massive conflict of interest, lobbying on behalf of the RIAA directly to members of Congress, meeting with members of the Obama administration, and possibly meeting with Obama himself. Then Obama nominates her to the bench and she breezes right through the confirmation process? She was paid $60k in 2005, $140k in 2006, $110k in 2007, and $105k in 2008 for her RIAA lobbying efforts. In case your math is fuzzy, that's $415,000 over four years. Just based on that, she should be recusing herself from any of these lawsuits that hit her docket because of any possible conflict of interest or bias, even if it doesn't exist. But no, it doesn't stop at RIAA lobbying. She also helped draft the DMCA and was also very involved with the PATRIOT Act, as well as other laws involving wiretaps, amending the CFAA, TEACH Act, and numerous others involving intellectual property and copyright/patent/trademark infringement. One could also argue that she's violated the rules of recusal. By not recusing herself voluntarily, she's created this problem that has racked up massive legal expenses and will be required to be heard by an appeals court. More legal expenses for a frivolous lawsuit.
I don't understand how you can appoint a former lobbyist for what's essentially a massive union with a boatload of cash to a federal judgeship in the District of Columbia. She is hardly impartial. She worked for Leahy (Democrat), who's a friend of Obama (Democrat), so one would surmise that her nomination and and subsequent Senate confirmation was political in nature. No lobbyists in my administration says Obama. So what does he do? Hires a bunch of lobbyists to work for him and nominates a former lobbyist to a seat on the DDC.
Based on her, well, outspokenness on the topic of copyright infringement and all of her decisions basically align with her comments, not to mention her blatant misrepresentation of the GAO report, only an idiot would call her impartial. I don't understand why she makes these asinine rulings that will end up being kicked to the curb by an appeals court...judges (except Shadur who's overturned once a year by the Seventh) HATE that so they usually err on the side of caution and don't make any radical rulings. Howell's JD came from Columbia University so she isn't an idiot by any means. Have you read her ruling in the AF Holdings v. John Does 1-1058 (1:12-cv-00048) case? It's ridiculous. She says basically says IP geolocation is useless in court, that joinder of Does is "efficient" (what the hell?), and basically stated that Prenda/other trolls can do whatever the hell they want as long as they have an IP address. Who cares if they live outside the jurisdiction of the District which is like 99.999% of the IPs. She has clearly stated that she is well aware that while these cases continue, trolls extort money from frightened Does...and that it's not her problem.
Between this ruling, Judge Wilkins' rulings contradicting, well, all of Howell's rulings in various cases, Facciola's ruling in the HDP v. Does 1-1495 case directly contradicting his own ruling only 13 days earlier in the West Coast Productions case, and Judge Walton's order to name or dismiss which relied on Facciola's West Coast ruling, there's a GIANT split in the Court. The issues raised causing the split will be decided by a higher court and that ruling will carry great weight and district judges will likely use it as precedent.
Howell, through her decision, has certified an immediate interlocutory appeal, which is surprising since the party seeking the appeal while the case is still open has to satisfy a very high legal burden, the ISPs have done so. The higher court will rule on all of the issues that are in question: joinder (Howell says it's "economical" to file lawsuits of this size), jurisdiction (not an issue until defendant is named), the issue of not allowing unnamed defendants to file anything (since they're not named), compelling ISPs to comply with subpoenas and the burden associated, allowing trolls to send out settlement letters without naming a single Doe, and who knows what else. It's an issue of whether to follow the letter of the law (Howell) or a fair application of the law in order to prevent exploitation of the court system. Here's to hoping that the Circuit sides with the ISPs or at least comes up with a compromise.