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Millenium Tga v. Doe

September 26, 2011

MILLENIUM TGA
v.
DOE



Name of Assigned Judge Blanche M. Manning Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

For the reasons stated below, this case is dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue. All pending motions are denied as moot. The clerk is directed to enter a Rule 58 judgment and terminate this case from the court's docket.

O[ For further details see text below.]

00:00

STATEMENT

In its order of March 31, 2011, the court severed all other "potential" defendants except IP number 68.239.158.137 and directed the plaintiff to either file suit against potential defendant IP number 68.239.158.137, who is located outside of Illinois, or dismiss the case by April 11, 2011. Contrary to the court's direction, the plaintiff filed a second amended complaint but did not name IP 68.239.158.137 as a defendant and instead named only "Doe." According to the SAC, "Plaintiff believes that the Defendant's true identity will be revealed in discovery, at which time Plaintiff will seek leave of the Court to amend his Complaint to state his identity, if necessary." SAC, Dkt. # 64 at ¶ 12.

In the SAC, the plaintiff alleges that "[o]n information and belief, personal jurisdiction in this District is proper because Defendant, without consent or permission of the Plaintiff exclusive rights owner, distributed and offered to distribute via the BitTorrent protocol Plaintiff's copyrighted works to computers and individuals that Defendant knew or should have known were located in this District." SAC, Dkt. #64, at ¶15. Doe IP Address 68.239.158.137 subsequently filed a motion to quash a subpoena issued to an internet service provider to turn over his identifying information and a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction [73-1 and 81-1]. In an order dated August 24, 2011, the court directed the plaintiff to file a memorandum no later than September 9, 2011, detailing how the information it has sought from the ISP, given that geolocation technology indicates that Doe IP Address 68.239.158.137 is located outside of Illinois, will allow it to show that Doe IP Address 68.239.158.137's allegedly infringing activities were directed towards Illinois such that this court would have personal jurisdiction over Doe IP Address 68.239.158.137. Although the plaintiff filed a response, it failed to provide any of the requested detail regarding personal jurisdiction; accordingly, the case is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction and improper venue, as described more fully below.

STATEMENT

The Seventh Circuit's decision in be2 LLC v. Ivanov, 642 F.3d 555 (7th Cir. 2011), provides assistance in analyzing personal jurisdiction in this case. In be2 LLC, one online matchmaking service sued another for trademark infringement. The defendant allegedly was operating a matchmaking website, be2.net, which was confusingly similar to the plaintiff's website, be2.com. After the district court granted default judgment against the defendant, he appealed arguing that the district court lacked personal jurisdiction over him.

The be2 LLC court first noted that because the Lanham Act does not provide for nationwide service of process, "a federal court sitting in Illinois may exercise jurisdiction over [the defendant] in this case only if authorized both by Illinois law and by the United States Constitution," and that "the Illinois long-arm statute, in turn, permits its courts to exercise personal jurisdiction on any basis permitted by the constitutions of both Illinois and the United States." be2 LLC, 642 F.3d at 558 (citation omitted). The analysis is the same in this case as the Copyright Act also does not provide for nationwide service of process. Janmark v. Reidy, 132 F.3d 1200, 1201 (7th Cir. 1997).

In considering the defendant's position regarding jurisdiction, the Seventh Circuit noted that the "inquiry boils down to this: has [the defendant] purposely exploited the Illinois market?" be2 LLC, 642 F.3d at 558. It further noted that "[b]eyond simply operating an interactive website that is accessible from the forum state, a defendant must in some way target the forum state's market." Id. at 558-59 (citations omitted) (emphasis in original). "If the defendant merely operates a website, even a 'highly interactive' website, that is accessible from, but does not target, the forum state, then the defendant may not be haled into court in that state without offending the Constitution." Id. (citations omitted). The Seventh Circuit concluded that the lack of "evidence of any interactions between [the defendant] and the be2.net members with Illinois addresses" along with "the minuscule number of [Illinois] registrants [20]" indicated that the defendant had not availed himself of the privilege of doing business in Illinois. Id. at 559.

Although specifically directed to "detail" how obtaining the name and address associated with Doe IP 68.239.158.137 would allow it to show how the movant's infringing activities were directed towards this forum and bring him or her within this court's jurisdiction, as the plaintiff argued in response to the motion to quash, the plaintiff failed to do so. The plaintiff's total response to this aspect of the court's order is as follows:

The ISP subpoena request will allow Plaintiff to determine who to name as a Defendant in this action. It will also allow the Court to resolve objections to the Court's exercise of jurisdiction once a Defendant has been named. Until the identity of a Defendant has been ...


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