United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division
C. KEESLER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
MATTER IS BEFORE THE COURT on Defendant John Doe
7's “Motion To Quash Subpoena Directed To John Doe
7” (Document No. 8). This motion has been referred to
the undersigned Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b), and is ripe for disposition. Having carefully
considered the motion and the record, the undersigned will
deny the motion.
UN4 Productions, Inc. (“Plaintiff”) filed its
“Complaint For Copyright Infringement” (Document
No. 1) on August 25, 2017, asserting that Doe Defendants 1-10
(the “Doe Defendants”) have infringed on
Plaintiff's exclusive rights under the Copyright Act by
copying and distributing Plaintiff's motion picture,
Boyka: Undisputed 4 (“Boyka”),
a mixed martial arts action film. (Document No. 1, p.8).
Plaintiff further asserts that Boyka is protected by
the Copyright Act and Registration PA 2-031-176, March 29,
2017. (Document No. 1, p.3). Plaintiff does not know the true
names of the Doe Defendants, only their Internet Protocol
(“IP”) addresses as assigned by their Internet
Service Provider (“ISP”). (Document No. 1, pp.4,
also filed its “Motion for Leave To Take Discovery
Prior To Rule 26(f) Conference” (Document No. 4) on
August 25, 2017. By that motion, Plaintiff sought to issue
subpoenas pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 45 to one or more ISPs who
provided Internet services to any of the Doe Defendants
identified by an IP address in Exhibit 2 of the Complaint.
(Document No. 4, p.1); see also, (Document No. 1,
p.13). Plaintiff asserted that it would seek production of
documents containing information sufficient to identify each
Doe Defendant, including their names and current addresses.
Id. Once it obtains the true names of the Doe
Defendants, Plaintiff intends to amend its Complaint.
(Document No. 1, p.4).
undersigned granted the motion for early discovery on August
28, 2017. (Document No. 7). The undersigned specifically
(1) Plaintiff may serve each of the ISPs with a copy of this
Order and a Rule 45 subpoena, commanding each ISP to provide
Plaintiff with the true name, permanent address, current
address, telephone number, email address, and Media Access
Control (“MAC”) address of the Defendant to whom
the ISP assigned an IP address as set forth in Exhibit B
(Document No. 1, p.13) to the Complaint; and (2) Plaintiff
may only use the information disclosed in response to a Rule
45 subpoena served on an ISP for the purpose of protecting
and enforcing Plaintiff's rights as set forth in its
(Document No. 7, p.2). The Order also explicitly stated that
“the undersigned expresses no opinion as to how the
Court might rule on any motion(s) to quash the proposed
October 10, 2017, counsel for Defendant John Doe 7,
identified by IP address 188.8.131.52, filed the pending
“Motion To Quash Subpoena Directed To John Doe 7”
(Document No. 8); see also (Document No. 1-2).
“Plaintiff's Response In Opposition…”
(Document No. 9) was filed on October 24, 2017; and
Defendant's reply brief was filed on October 31, 2017.
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that:
Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged
matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense
and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the
importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount
in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant
information, the parties' resources, the importance of
the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden
or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely
benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need not
be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). The rules of discovery are to be
accorded broad and liberal construction. See Herbert v.
Lando, 441 U.S. 153, 177 (1979); and Hickman v.
Taylor, 329 U.S. 495, 507 (1947). However, a court may
“issue an order to protect a party or person from