Copyright Infringement Action Against "Swarm" Defendants Severed

Thursday, January 26, 2017

United States District Court Judge Deborah K. Chasanow severed claims of copyright infringement against twelve “John Doe” defendants alleged to have participated in a “swarm” by sharing digital copies of the plaintiff’s work, without permission, using an Internet peer-to-peer file sharing protocol.  The “swarm joinder theory” cited by the plaintiff for suing the twelve defendants together was rejected by Judge Chasanow, who found that alleged acts of infringement did not constitute the same transaction, occurrence or series of transactions or occurrences under Fed. R. Civ. P. 20, and further because each “Doe” defendant was likely to have different and divergent defenses.  The plaintiff’s claims against Does 2-12 were dismissed without prejudice.  I.T. Productions, LLC v. Does 1-12, No. DKC 16-3999, 2017 WL 167840 (D. Md. Jan. 17, 2017).