EFF has asked judges in Washington D.C. to quash subpoenas issued in predatory lawsuits aimed at movie downloaders arguing in friend-of-the court briefs that the cases which together target several thousand BitTorrent users flout legal safeguards for protecting individuals' rights. Public Citizen and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation joined EFF on the briefs.
The lawsuits are the brainchild of a Washington D.C. law firm calling itself the "U.S. Copyright Group" (USCG). USCG investigators have identified IP addresses they allege are associated with the unauthorized downloading of independent films including "Far Cry" and "The Hurt Locker." As of June 2010 USCG has filed seven "John Doe" lawsuits in D.C. implicating well over 14 000 individuals and has issued subpoenas to ISPs seeking the names and addresses of the subscribers associated with those IP addresses. Several ISPs have complied but Time Warner Cable moved to quash the three subpoenas it received arguing that USCG is abusing the discovery process.
In briefs filed in support of the cable giant EFF says the John Doe defendants are being deprived of a fair chance to defend themselves by the strategies adopted by the USCG.