Strike 3 Holdings, LLC v. John Doe subscriber assigned IP address

5:18-cv-05998 | N.D. Cal. | Jun 17, 2019

1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 SAN JOSE DIVISION 7 8 STRIKE 3 HOLDINGS, LLC, Case No.18-cv-05998-VKD Plaintiff, 9 ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S v. UNOPPOSED MOTION TO PROCEED 10 ANONYMOUSLY 11 JOHN DOE SUBSCRIBER ASSIGNED IP ADDRESS, Re: Dkt. No. 42 12 Northern District of California Defendant. United States District Court 13 14 Plaintiff Strike 3 Holdings, LLC (“Strike 3”) sues for alleged infringement of copyrights 15 Strike 3 says it holds for several adult films. At the outset of this litigation, this Court prohibited 16 Strike 3 from publicly disclosing the Doe defendant’s identity, absent defendant’s consent or leave 17 of court. Dkt. No. 9. After Strike 3 obtained early discovery identifying defendant, the Court 18 provisionally granted Strike 3’s motion to seal defendant’s name and other personal identifying 19 information. Dkt. No. 16. If defendant wished to proceed anonymously in these proceedings, the 20 Court stated that he would be required file a motion seeking such relief. Id. 21 Defendant has answered the complaint, denying liability (Dkt. No. 29), and now moves to 22 proceed anonymously (Dkt. No. 42). Although Strike 3 does not agree with all of the assertions 23 defendant makes in that motion, Strike 3 does not oppose the requested relief. Dkt. No. 43. The 24 matter is deemed suitable for decision without oral argument, and the July 2, 2019 hearing is 25 vacated. Civ. L.R. 7-1(b).1 26 27 1 28 All parties have expressly consented that all proceedings in this matter may be heard and finally adjudicated by a magistrate judge. 28 U.S.C. § 636(c); Fed. R. Civ. P. 73. 1 Although the use of fictitious names in judicial proceedings is at odds with the public’s 2 right of access to judicial proceedings, the Ninth Circuit permits a party to preserve his or her 3 anonymity “special circumstances when the party’s need for anonymity outweighs prejudice to the 4 opposing party and the public’s interest in knowing the party’s identity.” Does I thru XXIII v. 5 Advanced Textile Corp., 214 F.3d 1058" date_filed="2000-06-02" court="9th Cir." case_name="Does I Thru Xxiii v. Advanced Textile Corporation">214 F.3d 1058, 1067-68(9th Cir. 2000). Thus, parties are permitted to 6 use pseudonyms in the unusual case when nondisclosure of the party’s identity is necessary to 7 protect that party from harassment, injury, ridicule or personal embarrassment. Id. Courts in this 8 district have recognized that “[a]n allegation that an individual illegally downloaded adult motion 9 pictures likely goes to matters of a sensitive and highly personal nature, including one’s 10 sexuality.” Strike 3 Holdings LLC v. Doe, No. 19-cv-01666-LB, 2019 WL 1865928, at *3 (N.D. 11 Cal., Apr. 25, 2019). 12 Upon consideration of defendant’s moving papers, the current state of the record, and the Northern District of California United States District Court 13 applicable legal standard, the Court finds good cause to permit defendant to proceed anonymously 14 at this time. Defendant’s motion is granted as follows: 15 1. Defendant is permitted to proceed anonymously in this matter and shall be referred to 16 in all court filings as “John Doe.” 17 2. Other than defendant’s IP address, Strike 3 shall not disclose defendant’s name, 18 address, telephone number, email, social media username, or any other personal 19 identifying information that it may now know or may subsequently learn. 20 3. All documents containing defendant’s name or other personal identifying information 21 shall be filed under seal. The parties are instructed to follow the procedure outlined in 22 Civil Local Rule 79-5 for documents they seek to file under seal. Redacted copies of 23 such documents must also be filed in the public record, redacting only defendant’s 24 name and any other personal identifying information in a way that defendant’s identity 25 cannot be discerned from the redacted public filings. 26 4. This order shall remain in effect unless and until the Court orders otherwise, and only 27 after defendant has had a fair opportunity to challenge the disclosure of any identifying 28 2 1 information. 2 IT IS SO ORDERED. 3 Dated: June 17, 2019 4 5 VIRGINIA K. DEMARCHI 6 United States Magistrate Judge 7 8 9 10 11 12 Northern District of California United States District Court 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3