Strike 3 Holdings is one of the most active copyright litigants in the U.S. In recent years, the company has identified thousands of suspected pirates through court-ordered subpoenas. However, it doesn't appear to like all judges equally. Several cases that were assigned to a rather critical judge in Florida were dropped like a hot potato.
In the United States, federal courts are still being swamped with lawsuits against alleged BitTorrent pirates. While copyright holders avoid some unfavorable jurisdictions, these companies are a common sight in others, such as Southern Florida. Over the past year or so, adult entertainment company Strike 3 Holdings has filed dozens of lawsuits in this district. While that’s nothing new, there are some lawsuits that stand out. In a few instances, Strike 3 dropped their complaints within a day or two, right after the judge was assigned. When we took a closer look, we found out that in each of these cases the same judge is listed: U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro.
Judge Ungaro is a familiar name to those who’ve been following these types of piracy lawsuits over the years. More than half a decade ago she issued an order stating that an IP-address doesn’t necessarily identify a person. Over the years Judge Ungaro remained very skeptical. Among other things, she is not convinced that IP-address geolocation tools are good enough to prove that a person actually resides within the court’s jurisdiction. This also came up again last year. When Strike 3 applied for a subpoena to identify a person behind an IP-address, the Judge denied the request for this very reason. “There is nothing that links the IP address location to the identity of the person actually downloading and viewing Plaintiff’s videos, and establishing whether that person lives in this district,” Judge Ungaro reiterated.
With this in mind, one can understand why Strike 3 isn’t too fond of Judge Ungaro. This may also explain why it chooses to simply drop cases as soon as this particular judge is assigned.