Trolls don’t bother to make sure that the owner of the IP address in question — a person who pays the Internet bill — is an infringer. Such investigation is not needed because the majority of judges don’t pay much attention to screaming deficiencies of the complaints and jollily rubberstamp subpoenas and motions for default judgment.
Once in a while a district judge rules that IP address is not equal a person, and hence the plaintiff does not meet the plausibility standard set by Ashcroft v. Iqbal. Such rulings, while eagerly reported by tech media, so far have been a drop in the ocean and did not deter copyright trolls from continuing to abuse the judicial system.
Today the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit added its significant weight, and this weight can finally tip the scales of the bittorent litigation:
In this copyright action, we consider whether a bare allegation that a defendant is the registered subscriber of an Internet Protocol (“IP”) address associated with infringing activity is sufficient to state a claim for direct or contributory infringement. We conclude that it is not.