Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Judge Brown Drops The Hammer*

Wow! There are a pair of bittorrent suits pending over in New York. Counsel for Malibu Media and Patrick Collins had asked for early discovery so they could, one assumes, try to extort the traditional settlement out of the defendants. In a unique twist, Judge Brown ordered that the identities of the Does be revealed by their ISP, but only to the Court and not to plaintiff's lawyers. Actually a great idea. The plaintiff's lawyer was supposed to issue a subpoena that instructed the ISP to provide the identities of the Does directly to the Court.
But guess what. Rather than do what the Court ordered, Jason Kotzker issued those subpoenas and directed the ISP to send that information to him instead of the Court. Wow.
The Court found out and to say that Judge Brown was upset is an understatement. There is one sure way to get the goat of a Federal Judge--do exactly the opposite of what he ordered you to do. So that's where Mr. Kotzker now finds himself. In a nutshell, Judge Brown has demanded that Mr. Kotzker justify his actions. Kotzker has to provide a sworn declaration basically telling the Court why it should not sanction him for this goof.
I have a fair amount of experience with Federal Judges, and I will say that I expect some fairly serious sanctions to result from this. Unless Kotzker has a very good reason why he did exactly what the judge told him not to, then he better get his checkbook out.
Thanks to the good folks over at FightCopyrightTrolls for this timely and eye-opening report. Read the entire order below.

* UPDATE:  I am compelled to post an update to this post because I have learned more about the situation. There apparently was a show-cause hearing, at which it appears Mr. Kotzker was able to satisfy Judge Brown that this occurred as an inadvertent clerical mistake.  Judge Brown did not impose any sanctions, and Mr. Kotzker assured the Court that it was a mistake which would not reoccur. I should also mention that I am updating this post at the request of Mr. Kotzker, who asked me quite professionally and reasonably. I do my best to accommodate reasonable requests made professionally, so there it is.