In two orders on Monday, Judge Scheindlin and Judge McMahon reinforced their position — as reported on before in this space — that individual unknown John Does could not be joined as defendants in a single suit alleging the use of a peer-to-peer file-sharing network to download and share copyrighted films. As we have previously noted, judges in the Southern District are split on whether joinder is appropriate. In Judge Scheindlin’s case, the court denied the plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration of her sua sponte order to sever and dismiss without prejudice all claims against all but the first John Doe listed in the caption. Recognizing the split opinions among her fellow Southern District judges, Judge Scheindlin held that the difference of opinion was not sufficient grounds to cause her to reconsider her original decision:
Continue Reading Judges Scheindlin and McMahon Refuse to Reconsider Joinder of John Doe Defendants

In a series of opinions issued on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, judges in four cases dealt with issues arising from complaints filed against unidentified “John Doe” defendants who allegedly used peer-to-peer file sharing programs to unlawfully share adult films over the Internet. The complaint in each case was accompanied by an ex parte motion for leave to subpoena the Internet Service Provider (ISP) linked to each John Doe defendant, known only by their own Internet Protocol (IP) number. The orders revealed a split among judges in the Southern District on how to deal with a wave of similar recent litigation. Two prior opinions, one by Judge McMahon and one by Judge Nathan, each involving the same plaintiff, a company called Digital Sin, reached two different conclusions on whether the joinder of multiple defendants in file-sharing copyright cases was appropriate and whether expedited discovery should be granted.
Continue Reading Raft of Orders on John Doe Copyright Complaints Reveals Split Among Southern District Judges