So on to Plan B. What the labels decided to do instead was file lawsuits against "Does" -- placeholder defendants whose true names they don't yet know. They then ask the court to issue subpoenas to ISPs, requesting that the ISP turn over information (including the names) of the subscribers associated with particular IP addresses. Once the ISP reveals the names, the labels substitute in "Joel Tenenbaum" or "Jammie Thomas" for "Doe." The process is cumbersome, but it's the labels' best option for finding defendants after RIAA v. Verizon, and it's permitted by the rules.
Ray Beckerman, proprietor of the Recording Industry vs. The People blog, and a vocal RIAA critic, does not like this process. In this recent podcast on This Week in Law, Beckerman argues that it affords the Doe defendants insufficient opportunity to move to quash the subpoenas that seek their identity. And just how horrific is this subpoena procedure that federal courts all over the country have approved? Proclaims Beckerman:
Welcome to Nazi Germany, not the United States of America.It's been a while since I've seen Schindler's List, but I do recall Nazi crimes a bit more serious than allegedly depriving anonymous accused copyright infringers of the chance to keep their identities hidden.
Hilariously, This Week in Law host Denise Howell, complimenting Beckerman toward the end of the show on his Twittering etiquette, calls Beckerman "one of the most polite and diligent online denizens I've ever met." Howell must hang out with a pretty rough crowd...