Feeling confused or scared about receiving an ISP letter and subpoena?
Receiving a copyright infringement letter from your ISP like Comcast, TimeWarner, or COX Communications may be confusing or even scary. You may have arrived at our FAQ page because you or someone in your household received an ISP letter from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) like Comcast or COX Communications informing you they received a subpoena from a movie company. The subpoena probably relates to a federal copyright infringement lawsuit that alleges your internet service was used to illegally download a copyrighted movie or software product. The subpoena is demanding the name and address of the internet account holder. This page will help answer some general questions.
The ISP letter will typically say:
1) A subpoena was been received to reveal your identity in relation to a copyright infringement lawsuit.
2) The ISP will turn over your name and address to the movie company ("Plaintiff") who filed the lawsuit if you do not file a motion to quash or vacate the subpoena, typically in two weeks to 30 days from when you received the letter.
3) Sometimes, the ISP will advise you to speak with a BitTorrent defense lawyer listed with the EFF Subpoena Defense such as Antonelli Law.
What is this about?
The Comcast letter and subpoena probably relates to a federal copyright infringement lawsuit alleging that someone in the home illegally downloaded a movie using file-sharing software such as BitTorrent. It could also involve a “streaming” program like Popcorn Time that also uses BitTorrent software.
What happens next?
If the Court does not “quash” the subpoena then the ISP (your internet company such as Comcast) will release your name to the company who filed the copyright infringement lawsuit. Once their attorney finds out your name, you will either be sent a letter demanding money to make the lawsuit go away, or you will be sued. Perhaps both.
What can I do?
First, Don’t panic. As long as you do not ignore this (especially if you are served with a summons) as long as you pay attention to this and speak with a lawyer you will be most likely be fine. It may cost you some money to resolve this, but it is highly likely it will not ruin your life.
Second, talk to a lawyer who is experienced in these kinds of lawsuits. A BitTorrent defense lawyer is experienced with computer networking, computer forensics, and litigation. But perhaps more importantly, a BitTorrent defense lawyer knows better than most how the BitTorrent copyright litigation “game” is played – the plaintiff attorneys, the plaintiff’s “experts,” weaknesses of plaintiffs’ legal and technological claims, and other factors learned by hard work and many clients in different jurisdictions.
Third, don’t delete or throw away anything. Once you have the ISP letter, if the case goes to court the movie company’s lawyers will claim that anything you did since receiving the ISP letter, such as changing hard drives, reinstalling an operating system, etc etc is “spoliation of evidence” and will ask the judge for severe sanctions against you.
Why Hiring Antonelli Law Is A Good Idea
Antonelli Law has a great deal of experience representing people in these kinds of federal lawsuits from California to New York and many states in between. In fact, we have represented nearly 2,000 clients nationwide. We “know the ropes” of these kinds of cases.
Copyright infringement lawsuits can be tricky, involving statutory damages and attorney fee awards if you lose. Don’t use someone like your real estate or divorce lawyer. We accept attorney referrals, and Antonelli Law has the experience to competently help you.