In this case, EFF backed Internet service providers (ISPs) in an effort to quash subpoenas issued in a predatory lawsuit over the alleged illegal downloading of adult material. The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation and the ACLU of the Nation’s Capitol joined EFF in the amicus brief, arguing that AF Holdings unfairly sued more than a thousand unnamed Internet users in the District of Columbia, even though the users were located all over the country. AF Holdings argued that it was allowed to obtain the identities of the ISPs’ customers in D.C., because they might reside in the District or the alleged infringement may have occurred there. But the ISPs that were subpoenaed – including Cox, AT&T, and Verizon – told the court that it was easy to discover that only 20 of the IP addresses were associated with Washington, D.C. On May 27, 2014, a federal appeals court held that copyright holders may not abuse the legal process to obtain the identities of thousands of Internet users, striking a crushing blow against a legal linchpin of the copyright troll business model.
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