A defendant in a copyright infringement proceeding may subpoena from Google Inc. nine months' worth of internet protocol address information linked to a plaintiff's Gmail account, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled March 21 (Obodai v. Indeed Inc., N.D. Cal., No. 3:13-mc-80027-EMC, motion to quash granted in part 3/21/13).
A magistrate judge rejected the plaintiff's Stored Communications Act-based challenge to the disclosure of his IP address information. The court held that the request for a list of all IP addresses that have accessed the Gmail account sought only noncontent subscriber information, which Google could disclose pursuant to the SCA, 18 U.S.C. §2703.
This discovery dispute arose in a copyright infringement lawsuit, in which the plaintiff blogger contended that the defendant, the operator of the Indeed.com job-search site, infringed his copyrights by allowing a third party to post a resume including the plaintiff's copyrighted works.
Indeed sought to subpoena the IP address information from Google, contending that it was relevant to its theory that the plaintiff posted the copyrighted content under a pseudonym.
“This information is not considered to be content-based, and so may be produced in response to a civil subpoena pursuant to the SCA[,]” the court held.
Indeed defined “documents” as including emails, communications, and correspondence.
Indeed's broad definition of “documents” could include content-based information, which electronic communications service providers are barred from divulging under the SCA, 18 U.S.C. §2701.
“A plain reading of Indeed's subpoena suggests that they are seeking the contents of e-mails and other communications that are protected by the SCA[,]” the court concluded.
In its opposition, Indeed contended that it only sought information regarding the plaintiff's registration of his email account, including name, address, telephone numbers, and other identifying information, as well as IP addresses used by the email account holder.
The court modified the subpoena to include only noncontent information, including “subscriber information.” The SCA permits service providers to divulge subscriber information “to any person other than a governmental entity[,]” 18 U.S.C. § 2702(c)(6).
Under that section, Google was authorized to release information about the plaintiff's Gmail account, including contact information and IP address data.
The plaintiff represented himself. Indeed was represented by Howard H. Weller of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, New York.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)