In Arista Records v. Does 1-16, a case targeting students at the State University of New York in Albany, the students have filed a reply memorandum of law in support of their motion to quash.
Among other things, defendants argued:
Plaintiffs .... point to this Court’s granting of their ex parte request for discovery as proof of the facial validity of their claims, but this argument cannot be taken seriously. Courts act only on the basis of what is presented to them, but once an ex parte order is challenged, the Court is obliged to take a fresh look, now that it has both sides of the issues. Plaintiffs have no presumptions in their favor merely because their order for discovery was granted.Defendants' reply memorandum of law
As was shown in the Does’ memorandum, a plaintiff who would discover the identities of anonymous persons must demonstrate the existence of a valid, specific claim, supported by real evidence. The central allegation in the complaint is that "[p]laintiffs are informed and believe that each Defendant, without the permission or consent of Plaintiffs, has used, and continues to use, an online media distribution system to download and/or distribute certain of the Copyrighted Recordings...Through his or her continuous and ongoing acts of downloading and/or distributing to the public the Copyrighted Recordings, each Defendant has violated Plaintiffs’ exclusive rights of reproduction and distribution.” (Complaint, ¶ 22 at 5-6).
First, this vague allegation, devoid of both direct knowledge and specific facts, cannot satisfy the heightened pleading regime imposed by Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, ___U.S.___, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 167 L. Ed. 2d 929 (2007). See ATSI Communs., Inc. v. Shaar Fund, Ltd., 493 F.3d 87, 98 (2d Cir. 2007): “To survive dismissal, the [non-moving party] must provide the grounds upon which his claim rests through actual allegations sufficient ‘to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.’” (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp., 127 S. Ct. 1955 at 1965). A viable complaint must include “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id., 127 S. Ct. at 1974. This one plainly does not.
Second, the Thomas decision (and many others as well), which plaintiffs completely ignore (Capitol Records v. Thomas, No. 06-1497 (D.Minn. Sept. 24, 2008); Does’ memorandum at 16-17), and which vacated the jury verdict in the only one of these cases to go to trial, held that merely making available files for distribution is not copyright infringement, as a matter of law. Thus the complaint fails to state a claim. That failure is sufficient reason to quash the subpoena.
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