Reddit is fighting to keep private the identities of six members who discussed piracy on the forum over a decade ago.
Film companies Bodyguard Productions and Millennium, amongst others, are demanding to know the names of these users, down from eight since their previous motion to obtain names, which was denied. Reddit is refusing to release the names, stating user anonymity is protected by the First Amendment.
“Plaintiffs’ Motion seeks to unmask six anonymous Reddit users that Plaintiffs assume to have committed copyright infringement using Grande, an Internet service provider (ISP). If these Reddit users did engage in copyright infringement on Grande’s networks, then Plaintiffs hope to learn whether the users were drawn to Grande for the ease of infringement. Weeks ago, this Court denied a nearly identical motion by these same Plaintiffs… But rather than returning with better facts capable of meeting the applicable First Amendment standard, Plaintiffs here offer worse facts–expressly acknowledging that they have no need to identify these Reddit users at all.”
The film companies are trying to get this information even though they have already sued two internet providers, RCN and Grande, for “ignoring piracy on its broadband networks”. Reddit has no association with these providers and does not consider its forum a necessary source to contribute.
The court filing goes on to state “Plaintiffs cannot show that the information they seek here is unavailable from other sources.4 As in RCN, Plaintiffs justify their First Amendment encroachments here by arguing that they seek evidence: (i) that Grande failed to implement a repeat infringer policy; and (ii) that “the ability to freely pirate” drew customers to Grande. But evidence on those issues is not “unavailable” outside of these six targeted Reddit users.”
The film companies have already obtained information on 118 users through its lawsuit against Grande, which Reddit says is “far better than what they could obtain from Reddit.”