Judge Drops 1,105 Defendants from Denton Lawyer's Case Over BitTorrent Porn Piracy

A week ago, we mentioned that Denton lawyer Evan Stone (not to be confused with, you know, Evan Stone) had run afoul of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Citizen in his case against hundreds of anonymous folks -- known only by their IP addresses -- for illegally downloading the porn flick Der Gute Önkel over BitTorrent, and subsequently dropped that case.

No worries, Stone told us at the time, because there were plenty more good cases out there, and he believed the Önkel case was an anomaly.

Now, though, it's more bad news for Stone out of the Northern District Court of Texas, as the judge in his case over the porn parody This Ain't Avatar 3D has dropped all but the first of Stone's 1,106 defendants in that case, saying there's no justification for grouping them all together. U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson -- who's been getting most of Stone's cases transferred to his court -- also quashed any subpoenas Stone had out to Internet Service Providers asking for names and addresses to ID the thousand-plus John Does.

It's a lot like the move that stymied similar suits in West Virginia not too long ago, where courts were critical of the way a single case, with hundreds of anonymous defendants, could strain their docket. Stone told me a while back that he'd safeguarded his cases by making sure all the defendants had been serving up the exact same torrent file of the video -- but evidently, Judge Furgeson's inclined to disagree.

Read the judge's motion order in the Avatar case after the jump.

'This Aint Avatar 3D' Suit - Motion Severing Defendants

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I wonder if Judge Royal Furgeson is a Bit Torrent customer?


Judge's Order -- Judges seldom file motions.

Filing fee for a new case in district court is $350 or so, meaning Mr. Stone is going to have to dig deep, to the tune of $386,750, if he is serious about pursuing alleged downloaders.

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