Tough Sledding for the Porn Litigator

Porn litigator John Steele is getting a LOT of push back from Judge Baker in the Central District of Illinois.  Unlike Judge Howell in the D.C. District who recently denied Time Warner Cable’s motion to quash a subpoena issued in a similar John Doe copyright infringement case (see post here for details), Judge Baker is having none of Steele’s attempts to get discovery prior to a Rule 26(f) conference.  This puts Steele between the proverbial rock and hard place.  Steele can’t get a 26(f) conference until he has a named adversary.  He can’t get a named adversary until he gets responses to his subpoenas from the ISPs identifying the names associated with the IP addresses he has.  And he can’t get responses to his subpoenas until Judge Baker grants his motion for expedited discovery.

Judge Baker notes that IP addresses are bad proxies for identifying actual infringers, citing a recent MSNBC news story about someone who was caught up in a federal anti-child porn case based on the IP address associated with the downloading of child porn.  It turned out that this person’s neighbor had used an unsecured WiFi network to download the offending porn, which should be good enough reason to lock down your home network.

His Honor’s order is below:
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