1 down, 2,999 to go: US Judge says IP address alone can’t identify alleged porn copyright infringers

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IP Address porn fingerprint

The first of 3,000 porn copyright infringement lawsuits filed by Strike 3 Holdings (S3H) in Miami has been dismissed due to a lack of “sufficient evidence,” the filing states.

S3H is an adult studio that copyrights adult movies produced under the porn brands Blacked, Tushy and Vixen. Since 2017, the company has been cracking down on users that it alleges have been downloading and sharing its content using P2P software.

However, S3H, along with Malibu Media (which has filed more than 7,000), have been called out as extortionist “copyright trolls”.

It’s common practice for so-called copyright trolls to use identification of an IP address to force ISPs to reveal the identity of the subscriber that IP address is assigned to. However, there are a number of problems with the assumption that an IP address relates to a specific user, as argued successfully in this case.

According to Cashman Law Firm, PLLC (just one of many law sites dedicated to helping respondents of this lawsuit) the owner of the IP address has 30 days to dispute this, and if not, they can be sued up to $150,000 for copyright infringement.

In this specific case, Ursula Ungaro, the U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Florida, deemed this insufficient evidence, stating “there is nothing that links the IP address location to the identity of the person actually downloading and viewing” Strike 3 Holding’s content.

Ungaro also said that it is impossible to use an IP address to pinpoint a single person, particularly if it was linked to an open Wifi network.

Read Next: PSA: Stop paying Bitcoin scammers, they can’t see you watching porn

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Oli Lipski

Oli Lipski

Oli is a freelance sex tech researcher based in London. With an MA in Sexual Dissidence, researching sex tech, and a BA in History, researching gender and sexuality, she has a keen understanding of the past, present and future of sex.

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