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  • Writer's pictureLeslie A. Farber

Received a subpoena and copyright notice to divulge your personal details? Read this first.

Updated: Jul 3, 2019

If you have received a subpoena notice from your internet service provider (ISP) seeking your name and address, and searching for information brought you here, then you probably are a defendant in a file-sharing, copyright infringement lawsuit based on downloads that were allegedly done BitTorrent through your internet connection. So far, they do not know your real name or address and describe you as John Doe.

But do NOT ignore the letter or subpoena. You MUST do something right away.

A copyright holder of movies (such as Malibu Media or X-art), songs, or software got court permission to send your ISP a subpoena to acquire the subscriber’s name and address and possibly more information as part of a lawsuit for copyright infringement against the subscriber (that’s you).

The notice usually gives you time to respond and suggests the possibility of a motion to quash the subpoena. If you contact me right away, your account identity can usually be protected.

Now is when you have the most options to protect your identify and resolve the case. If you do nothing, then the plaintiff (the party suing) receives the subscriber’s (your) identity and begins their investigation of you, where you live, who lives with you, what the property is worth, how much each person earns, etc. Then they “serve” you at your home or where you work with the Complaint (lawsuit) with your real name on it, instead of John Doe as the defendant. An Answer or responsive motion must be filed within 21 days, or Default is entered against you. After Default is entered, the plaintiff (party suing) will apply for a Default Judgment against you, which probably will result in a federal court judgment against you for many thousands of dollars, which might not be dischargeable in bankruptcy. Therefore, you MUST contact me IMMEDIATELY if you have been served with a Summons and Complaint or received a letter from your ISP.

The plaintiff in these cases is usually looking to settle the case (compromise) instead of further action in court. Call me to discuss your options and see whether it’s better to settle now, defend and fight the case, or try to get the subpoena quashed (possible in some courts).

I charge a flat fee to negotiate a settlement for the lowest possible amount and process your settlement payment, usually without the plaintiff ever learning who your real name. However, you want to fight and defend the case, we can do that too on a reasonable hourly fee basis. Where appropriate, we get a computer forensic expert involved to assess your legal defense and reduce costs.

I handle your case, personally.

I have represented close to 100 people in these kinds of cases in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. I’m familiar with the plaintiffs’ attorneys and can help you achieve the best outcome possible.

I am happy to discuss your case in detail with you via email or phone. Please don’t hesitate to call me at (973) 509-8500 x213 or write me at

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