Advance Magazine Publishers v. Does 1-5, No. 09-10257 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 22, 2009)
Someone accessing the Internet using an AT&T IP address hacked into Conde Nast’s computer system and acquired and published copies of editorial content and the images that were to be in the December 2009 issue of GQ. Those images were later published anonymously on a blog hosted by Google’s Blogger service.
Conde Nast sued in federal court alleging copyright infringement (for the posting of the content) and violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (for the unauthorized accessing of the Conde Nast servers). Since the identity of the person or persons committing these acts was not known, Conde Nast sued “John Does 1 through 5”. It then filed a motion with the court for permission to serve subpoenas on AT&T and Google to get information with which to give the defendants a name.
The court granted the motion and authorized the subpoenas.
Rule 26(d) requires that a party demonstrate good cause before expedited discovery will be permitted. In this case, Conde Nast gave four reasons supporting good cause:
- It had sufficiently pled causes of action under the Copyright Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
- AT&T’s server activity logs and Google’s registration data were at risk of being overwritten or purged
- The scope of the information requested was appropriate — the only items being requested were those sufficient to name the defendants
- Without the identifying information, the case would be at a standstill and Conde Nast might be left without a remedy