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Over the last several years, the number of lawsuits filed against anonymous Internet users has exploded. In these cases, alleged victims of online defamation and copyright infringement attempt to strip away Internet users’ anonymity by seeking a court subpoena. Most notably, copyright trolls have filed lawsuits for infringement, naming thousands of anonymous Internet users as defendants. These plaintiffs, often large music recording or movie production companies, will issue a subpoena to a user's Internet Service Provider (ISP) to compel the ISP to reveal the identity of that user.
If you have received a letter from your ISP notifying you of a pending subpoena seeking your offline identity, or if you are an ISP that received a subpoena seeking information on one of your customers, here’s what you need to know.