In September, lawyers for some of the 14,000 John Doe defendants currently facing charges of illegal file-sharing filed a motion to quash the cases due to issues of jurisdiction. This week, the US Copyright Group has finally filed their argument of opposition to that motion.
In order for the litigation to continue, Judge Rosemary Collyer must decide whether the currently anonymous defendants across the United States have something in common that will allow charges to be pursued within the District of Columbia.
While the John Doe’s lawyers argued that an IP address is a valid identifying trait to determine issues of jurisdiction in these cases, the US Copyright Group disagrees.
“The plain language of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure contemplates that a defendant can only respond to the complaint when that defendant has been named as a party and after a summons has been issued and served on a defendant (or service is waived by the defendant),” reads the USCG’s opposing motion, “Additionally, it is interesting to note that none of the Doe Defendants’ declarations state anything about them visiting the jurisdiction. While most state that they do not reside in the district or conduct regular business in the district, the declarations do not disclaim that they occasionally visit the jurisdiction.”
If the USCG gets their way then the trial will likely move forward in Washington DC. If the motions to quash the cases are denied and jurisdiction is ruled to be an issue, cases will need to be re-filed across the US in each of the defendant’s home jurisdictions.
It’s unclear what took so long for the argument by the USCG. Judge Collier had ordered the group to show cause for the court’s jurisdiction in the case by September 30th, but obviously things are running behind with this case. Unfortunately, it appears that it will be dragging on for quite some time.