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Copyrights Intellectual Property Litigation

The Sixth Circuit Creates a New Standard for Unmasking an Anonymous Copyright Infringer Post-Judgment

On Nov. 28, 2017, the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued its opinion in Signature Mgmt. Team, LLC v. Doe. The case involved a John Doe defendant’s effort to remain anonymous even after having been adjudicated liable for copyright infringement of plaintiff’s business training manual.

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On Nov. 28, 2017, the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued its opinion in Signature Mgmt. Team, LLC v. Doe, 876 F.3d 831 (6th Cir. 2017). The case involved a John Doe defendant’s effort to remain anonymous even after having been adjudicated liable for copyright infringement of plaintiff’s business training manual. John Doe argued that anonymity should be maintained since he offered protected speech under the First Amendment concomitant to infringing speech, even though plaintiff’s competing interest in enforcing its remedy would arguably be impeded. The instant case was not sui generis insofar as it concerned a John Doe defendant seeking to maintain anonymity based on Internet speech; these issues have been a hallmark of the Internet journalism age. However, the Sixth Circuit did break new ground in determining the limit of anonymity for copyright infringement post-judgment.

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