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Adult entertainment company Malibu Media recently requested a default judgment of more than $10,000 against an alleged pirate. While the accused man didn't put up a defense, a federal court in New Jersey denied the request, noting that an IP-address alone is not sufficient evidence.

In recent years, file-sharers around the world have been pressured to pay significant settlement fees, or face legal repercussions. As the most active copyright litigant in the United States, adult entertainment outfit Malibu Media has been on the frontline of these efforts in recent years. The company, widely known for its popular “X-Art” brand, has gone after thousands of alleged offenders. Many of its targets eventually pay up and those who fail to respond can face costly default judgments. New Jersey resident Joe Park found himself in the latter category. The man was named in a Malibu Media lawsuit last year and failed to respond. Not just to the settlement requests, but also to the lawsuit filed at the New Jersey District Court.

Without a response, the complaining party can request a default judgment. This is exactly what Malibu Media did. It submitted a motion arguing that it’s entitled to $10,500.00 in statutory damages for copyright infringement and an additional $559.99 in costs. In many cases, courts grant default judgment requests, as there is no defense. This has allowed Malibu Media to collect dozens, if not hundreds of default judgments. However, in the present matter, U.S. District Court Judge John Michael Vazquez decided otherwise. In an opinion released this week, Judge Vazquez denied the motion, concluding that Malibu Media isn’t entitled to anything.
 
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It's true that an IP address isn't sufficient evidence to prove that someone was responsible for something. If an IP address alone was considered sufficient evidence, it would be extremely easy for people to be framed for computer crimes.

The times have changed: an IP address might have proven as evidence easily in the past but people are becoming more knowledgeable with computing, and thus know that it is easier than it seems to frame someone based on IP address.

Most home consumers are not knowledgeable with cyber-security and thus are vulnerable due to bad habits, making it easy for an attacker to compromise their machines and then use them to carry out tasks which are illegal if they wanted to - we've seen many cases of this exact thing over the last few decades with botnet attacks, and you don't see the victims being arrested and successfully convicted for initiating DoS/DDoS attacks when they are a victim of a botnet attack which led to this type of activity.