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A Court Order To Release An Email Address

 
 
Reply Mon 9 May, 2011 03:07 pm
I'm in the middle of a court battle with my ex-wife. To make a long a story short, during a recent hearing she lied under oath and as a result she won the dispute. However, I somehow stumbled upon this website and found 29 posts I believe were made by my ex-wife, and they discredit her testimony.

I filed a motion to have a contempt of court hearing, and the judge accepted it. Last week, the judge signed a court order for this website to release the email address, IP address, and any other information which would help reveal the identity of a particular username on this website.

So, my question is does this website have to release the information? I'm pretty sure they have to, but let's just say they're not being very helpful or cooperative. When I initially inquired if they keep email information on file, etc, they confirmed that they did but were kind of rude and abrasive in answering the question. Now I have a court order, signed by a judge, to actually get the information and they're just ignoring my questions of where and whom to send it to. I'm truly baffled as to why this is. So, does anyone know if they're obligated to comply with the judge's order, or if they can just ignore it.

I appreciate any feedback.
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 May, 2011 03:39 pm
@The Rain King,
Your lawyer should be able to help you serve the court order on the site.

At the very least, you can do a WHOIS search to get the domain registration info for the host and go from there.

0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 May, 2011 04:02 pm
@The Rain King,
Interesting and I would assume that the website would had a right to challenge such a court order if they care to and if I was them I would do so and it this website if off shore good luck with the judge orders also.

You and the judge seem to be invading someone privacy on nothing but a hunch of your.

Robert if you are reading this what would be your position if serve a court order for a member email and ISP addresses under these conditions? Second question do you keep a record of the ISPs of your users.

Side note the email account and the ISP addresses I used to access this site would not allow anyone to track me down other then by area.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 May, 2011 04:07 pm
@The Rain King,
Seems you'd have better luck trying to get the information out of whatever equipment she used to make the posts. Not sure if I wish you good luck with this.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  4  
Reply Mon 9 May, 2011 04:18 pm
@The Rain King,
The Rain King wrote:
So, my question is does this website have to release the information?


I am one of the owners of this website. We can appeal against court orders for information about our users but can be held in contempt of court if is upheld and we fail to comply.

Our users have the right to expect us to put up reasonable objections to the forcible sharing of their data and we do not simply hand it over blindly.

Whenever legally permitted, we notify the users about the requests for their information and give them the opportunity to defend themselves. When the request is overly broad or a clear fishing expedition we reserve the right to attempt to limit the scope of the request.

We also reserve the right to publish such demands for user information on our websites and with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

You have been given good advice about how to serve the website the court order (namely that if you don't know how to handle it your lawyer should), all websites are required to have an address registered in their domain registration. If you send us the court order at that registered address we can begin to respond to it.
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 May, 2011 04:40 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert an interesting post but I still would be interested to know if you keep a long term record of the ISPs addresses that your users use to access your website or not.

As far as I am aware there is currently no requirement for you to do so and you can not be force by any court to surrender information that you do not keep.
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Mon 9 May, 2011 05:09 pm
@BillRM,
We store IP addresses with posts. We are considering a way to anonymize it further (perhaps a one-way hash) after a certain time but do not have any short-term plans to do so owing largely to not having any time to do so in the short term.
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 May, 2011 05:29 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
We store IP addresses with posts. We are considering a way to anonymize it further (perhaps a one-way hash) after a certain time but do not have any short-term plans to do so owing largely to not having any time to do so in the short term.


Thanks for the information Robert and I do not need to tell you that anything you can do to not keep such information or to hash it would greatly increase most of your users privacy.

This by the way is in no way a criticism of you or your website.

People just need to know that courts/judges will grant such orders with little reason and you need to assume that anyone can track you down who wish to do so unless you take some fairly complex steps to prevent it.
0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 May, 2011 05:57 pm
@The Rain King,
Here is an interest at least to me article on court ordering isp address information.


Bittorrent Judge Rules: You Are Not Your IP Address
John Funk | 5 May 2011 6:43 pm
Filed under: john funk, bittorrent, copyright infringement, court, ip, law, lawsuits, porn
A court decision that IP addresses cannot be subpoenaed as people could have far-reaching effects on copyright lawsuits.

When a copyright holder wants to sue someone who it believes is illegally downloading its music/games/videos/whatever, it needs to know who it's suing first. This is usually done by sending a subpoena to the ISP that runs the local internet, effectively demanding that whoever uses the IP address in question be brought to court. The intent is never to bring them to court, of course, but to arrange a settlement for hundreds or thousands of dollars. It's an incredibly shady scheme that people have likened to extortion, but it's also somewhat successful - and over 100,000 such subpoenas went out last year in the United States alone.

That may soon change. In what could be a potentially plot-turning decision, U.S. District Court Judge Harold Baker ruled that a Canadian porn company, VPR Internationale, could not subpoena IP addresses from an ISP, because an IP address did not necessarily equal a person. Given that the case in question dealt with the illegal download of adult materials, wrote Judge Baker, allowing the copyright holder to sue IP addresses rather than people could interfere with "fair" legal process.

In particular, Judge Baker cited a recent event in which law enforcement officers raided the wrong people thanks to neighbors downloading child porn on their unsecured wifi networks. With this in mind, wrote Judge Baker, how could the company be sure they were suing the right people?

"The infringer might be the subscriber, someone in the subscriber's household, a visitor with her laptop, a neighbor, or someone parked on the street at any given moment," argued Judge Baker in his decision. Perhaps more importantly, he pontificated on whether or not the legal pressure could coerce the innocent into admitting nonexistent guilt:

Orin Kerr, a professor at George Washington University Law School, noted that whether you're guilty or not, you look like a suspect. Could expedited discovery be used to wrest quick settlements, even from people who have done nothing wrong? ... the embarrassment of public exposure might be too great, the legal system too daunting and expensive, for some to ask whether the plaintiff VPR has competent evidence to prove its case.

Judge Baker concluded that he would not have his court used as a "fishing expedition" against users whose actual identities - let alone whose guilt - could not be certain.

It's unclear whether or not this will be a game-changing decision, as some have argued. Texas attorney Robert Cashman said that Judge Baker's ruling may have been "the order that may end all future John Doe lawsuits." While this decision does indeed set precedence for anti-Bittorrent cases to come, the fact that the case in question dealt with adult material may mean that other judges may be less inclined to hold it up as gospel truth.

(Via TorrentFreak)

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