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Case 1:12-mc-00150-ESH-AK Document 15 Filed 04/18/12 Page 1 of 6

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

______________________________
MILLENNIUM TGA, INC.,

)
)
)
)
)
)
)
)
______________________________)

Defendant.

JOHN DOE,



Plaintiff,

v.

Case No.: 12-mc-00150 (ESH/AK)

[Underlying civil action pending in the U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of
Texas, No. 4:11-cv-4501]

MEMORANDUM ORDER

This miscellaneous action was referred to the undersigned for resolution of Plaintiff’s

Motion to Compel Compliance with Subpoena and Memorandum in support thereof (collectively

referred to as the “Motion to Compel”) [1].1 See Order of Referral [4]. Plaintiff Millennium

TGA, Inc. (“Millenium” or “Plaintiff”) moves this Court, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P.

45(c)(2)(B)(I), to enter an order compelling nonparty subpoena recipient Comcast Cable

Communications LLC (“Comcast”) to produce information that was requested in a subpoena

duces tecum issued by Millenium to Comcast on February 15, 2012.2 The issuance of the

subpoena was authorized in connection with the underlying litigation, captioned Millenium TGA,

Inc. v. Doe, No.4:11-cv-4501 (S.D. Tex. 2011). See February 9, 2012 Order Granting Plaintiff’s

Motion for Leave to Take Expedited Discovery. (Motion to Compel [1] at 18-20.)

Nonparty Comcast initially contested compliance with the subpoena on grounds of :

1The page numbers referenced herein for the Motion to Compel refer to the page numbers

assigned via the electronic case filing system for document [1] (34 pages in total) because
Plaintiff has attached various unnumbered pages as exhibits to the Motion without designating
Exhibit numbers.

2Fed. R. Civ. P. 45(c)(2)(B)(I) provides that the party serving a subpoena may “move the

issuing court for an order compelling production or inspection.”

Case 1:12-mc-00150-ESH-AK Document 15 Filed 04/18/12 Page 2 of 6

1) inadequate time for compliance; 2) inadequate assurance of payment; 3) improper joinder of

the prospective Doe defendants, who are Comcast subscribers; and 4) lack of personal

jurisdiction over the Doe defendants. (Motion to Compel at 1.) Comcast’s objection regarding

assurance of payment has since been withdrawn. Id.

Background

Plaintiff Millenium is the “owner of the copyrighted creative work at issue in this action”

and on December 20, 2011, Millenium “brought a copyright infringement action against an

unnamed John Doe in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, alleging that

John Doe conspired with unnamed other tortfeasors to illegally copy and distribute its

copyrighted work to others over the Internet.” (Motion to Compel at 3.) In that legal action,

Plaintiff not only submitted its Complaint but also included an exhibit containing an Internet

Service Provider (“ISP’) and Internet Protocol (“IP”) address associated with the alleged

infringement by John Doe, as well as an exhibit containing ISPs and IPs associated with the

alleged joint tortfeasors. (Motion at 3-4, referencing Complaint in underlying lawsuit.)

On February 9, 2012, the District Court in Texas granted Plaintiff leave to issue

subpoenas duces tecum to various ISPs for production of information regarding IP addresses.

(February 9, 2012 Order, attached as Motion[1] at 18-20.) More specifically, that Order states

that “Plaintiff may immediately serve each of the Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) . . . with a

subpoena commanding each ISP to provide Plaintiff with the true name, address, telephone

number, email address for John Doe and each of his co-conspirators to whom the ISP assigned

an Internet Protocol (“IP”) address.” (Id.)

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Case 1:12-mc-00150-ESH-AK Document 15 Filed 04/18/12 Page 3 of 6

That Order specified that the ISPs shall comply with 47 U.S.C. §551(c)(2)(B), which

permits cable operators (ISPs) to “disclose such [personal identifying] information if the

disclosure is . . . made pursuant to a court order authorizing such disclosure, if the subscriber is

notified of such order by the person to whom the order is directed.” (February 9, 2012 Order.)

The Texas District Court’s Order indicated that the ISPs have thirty (30) days from the date a

copy of the February 9, 2012 Order and a copy of the subpoena was served in which to respond

to the subpoena.3 The February 9, 2012 Order further noted that “[s]ubscribers shall have thirty

(30) days from the date of notice of the subpoena upon them to file any motions in this Court to

contest the subpoena.” (Id.) In the event that the subscribers’ thirty day period “lapses without a

contest, the ISPs will have ten (10) day[s] thereafter to produce the information in response to

the subpoena to Plaintiff.” ( Id.)4

On February 15, 2012, Plaintiff issued a subpoena to Comcast (subpoena attached to

Motion to Compel [1] at 21-29) seeking the identities of 351 individuals alleged to be Comcast

subscribers. On February 29, 2012, Comcast objected to the subpoena on the four previously

noted grounds (Opposition at 2; see Motion [1] at 31 [February 29, 2012 letter]) but later

dropped its objection regarding lack of assurance of payment. To date, Comcast has not

provided its subscribers with notification of the subpoena.

3In this case, Comcast responded by objecting to the subpoena. (Motion at 1.)

4The February 9, 2012 Order also states that “Plaintiff may only use the information

disclosed in response to a subpoena served on an ISP for the purpose of protecting and enforcing
Plaintiff’s rights as set forth in its Complaint.” (February 9, 2012 Order.)

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Case 1:12-mc-00150-ESH-AK Document 15 Filed 04/18/12 Page 4 of 6

Objections by Comcast, the ISP

Fed. R. Civ. P. 45 sets forth a list of grounds upon which a party may move to quash or

modify a subpoena including: (I) fail[ure] to allow a reasonable time to comply; . . . ; (iii)

requir[ing] disclosure of privileged or other protected matter, if no exception or waiver applies;

or (iv) subject[ing] a person to undue burden. Fed. R. Civ. P. 45(c)(3).5 Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c)

sets forth the procedure and grounds for filing a motion for protective order, including a claim of

undue burden by a party from whom discovery is sought.6 The burden of persuasion on a motion

for protective order or to quash is borne by the movant. See Aristotle Int’l, Inc. v. NGP

Software, Inc., Civ. No. 05-1700, 2010 WL 2134285, at *13 (D.D.C. Mar. 10, 2010) (motion for

protective order); Linder v Dep’t of Defense, 133 F.3d 17, 24 (D.C. Cir. 1998) (motion to quash).



In the instant case, Comcast contests compliance with the subpoena on grounds that “the

vast majority of the subscribers whose personal information is sought in the Subpoenas are not

even subject to either this Court’s or the underlying court’s jurisdiction.” (Opposition at 2.)

Comcast further contends that “the rules for joinder of John Doe and his alleged co-conspirators

cannot be satisfied in the Underlying Action.” (Opposition at 3.) The Court notes that these

defenses (lack of jurisdiction, improper joinder) are not at issue at this stage of the proceedings

5This Court finds that Comcast has moved to quash or modify the subpoena although its
response to Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel was only labeled as an opposition as opposed to being
labeled as an opposition and motion to quash. Comcast’s opposition also requests a protective
order in the event that this Court grants the Motion to Compel, to allow Comcast a reasonable
time for compliance.

6The Court may modify the terms, including time and place for discovery. Fed.R. Civ. P.

26(c)(1)(A).

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Case 1:12-mc-00150-ESH-AK Document 15 Filed 04/18/12 Page 5 of 6

nor is it appropriate for Comcast, a nonparty, to raise such these defenses on behalf of its

subscribers.7 The only issue before this Court is whether or not the subpoena is valid and

enforceable. This Court honors the February 9, 2012 Order by the United States District Court

for the Southern District of Texas, which permits Millenium to subpoena ISPs such as Comcast

and obtain information about Comcast’s subscribers. That Order provides an adequate period of

time for Comcast to respond to the subpoena, directs Comcast to provide the requisite notice to

its subscribers, and then allows a similarly adequate period of time for the subscribers to object

to the disclosure after receipt of their notification from Comcast. In the event that the subscriber

does not object, Comcast must then turn over the information to Millenium.

Comcast’s remaining objection to compliance with the subpoena relates to the timing for

such compliance. More specifically, Comcast requests that this Court permit it to provide

notice to its subscribers “on a timeframe that does not excessively tax its resources and

inhibit it from engaging in other business.” (Opposition at 20.) Comcast proposes that “it can

reasonably respond to no more that 50 IP address lookup requests per month.” (Id.) While this

Court acknowledges that Comcast (and other ISPs) are inundated with subpoena requests

from various sources, the Court finds 50 address lookup requests per month to be unreasonable,

particularly in light of the fact that Comcast is compensated by Millenium for this work.

The Court will allow Comcast sixty (60) days within which to serve all of its 351

subscribers (as identified by IP addresses). In its Opposition and during a telephonic

status conference held on April 17, 2012, Comcast, through counsel, indicated that this

7This does not prevent the subscriber from raising defenses of lack of personal

jurisdiction and improper joinder with the District Court in Texas when such subscriber has been
identified and named as a defendant in the case.

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Case 1:12-mc-00150-ESH-AK Document 15 Filed 04/18/12 Page 6 of 6

“lookup and response” would be done on a “rolling basis.” (Opposition at 20.)

Comcast must retain a record of when each subscriber (indicated by IP address) was served with

the subpoena for purposes of fulfilling its obligation to provide identifying information for such

subscriber within ten days after the thirty day period of time for a subscriber to file a motion

contesting the subpoena has run [where no motion has been filed]. In the event that a subscriber

files a motion to contest the subpoena, Comcast shall preserve any subpoenaed information

pending resolution of such motion. The filing of a motion by one subscriber shall only serve to

stay Comcast’s release of personal information regarding that subscriber and shall not otherwise

affect Comcast’s obligations to provide notification to all subscribers and release identifying

information for subscribers who do not object within the applicable thirty day period. It is

accordingly this 17th day of April, 2012,

ORDERED that Motion to Compel Compliance with Subpoena [1] is granted in part and

denied in part.







____________/s/______________________
ALAN KAY
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

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