Reliance on the internet for legal advice caused subscriber legal troubles …

To address the issues of Internet piracy, Killer Joe Nevada LLC “Copyright Owner” filed an action to enforce its copyrights in the motion picture, “Killer Joe” against an unknown party (“infringer”) identified as Doe- Pursuant to a subpoena, the Internet Service Provider (“ISP”) identified Reston Eilers as the subscriber assigned to the ISP account associated with the infringing activity.


To ascertain whether the subscriber is an innocent third party and, if so, the identity of the infringer, copyright owner sent several letters to Mr. Eilers to elicit his cooperation. However, Mr. Eilers did not respond to any of these letters. Copyright owner then asked the Court to issue an FRCP 45 subpoena to compel Mr. Eilers’s assistance in its investigation. Because Mr. Eilers evaded service, he by was served by U.S. mail. Again, Mr. Eilers failed to respond. Thus, the copyright owner obtained a court order compelling his response. Served with the Order, a new subpoena, and a cover letter, Mr. Eilers again failed to respond or appear. Accordingly, the court issued a Show Cause Order to Mr. Eilers.


At the show cause hearing, Mr. Eilers assured the court that he is not the infringer who downloaded copyright owner’s motion picture. He asserted that there was no evidence before the court to indicate otherwise. However, the court said that the issue is not whether Mr. Eilers is the infringer, but his refusal to respond to a subpoena served on him by U.S. Mail, delivery thereof was confirmed, and his subsequent failure to comply with the court’s Order to respond to the copyright owner’s subpoena.


Mr. Eilers explained that his failure to respond was in reliance on an advice provided by various Internet web pages that oppose copyright owner’s actions or copyright enforcement. The Court said that any advice to ignore court orders or a subpoena, whether served in person or by mail, is incorrect and provides no legal excuse.


Therefore, the Court found Mr. Eilers in contempt of the Court’s Order and the copyright owner was awarded reasonable costs and fees.


Lifted from the case Killer Joe Nevada, LLC v. DOE-

[Case No. 6:15-cv-00494-ST]

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