Well, that didn’t take long. Just a few weeks after an Ohio judge expressed skepticism about Voltage Pictures’ litigation strategy in the download cases, Oregon Judge Ann Aiken has expressed similar concerns. However, rather than directly severing the hundreds of cases, Judge Aiken has issued an “Order to Show Cause,” allowing Voltage to respond to these issues. The full Order (see below) is only six pages, but here are a few excerpts:
…the court is mindful of the growing popularity of copyright holders to use courts as tool for identifying alleged infringers as a means to seek quick settlements without actually litigating the cases in court. The failure to amend the complaints in these cases leads the court to suspect that plaintiff in this case may be seeking to use the this court in such a manner while keeping the litigation costs to minimum.
In addition to showing cause as to why the cases should not be dismissed for failure to follow a court order, plaintiff is ordered to show cause why defendants should not be severed and plaintiff required to pay the requisite filing fees to pursue a case against each individual defendant.
Voltage Pictures responded over the weekend with the following Response to Order to Show Cause (and accompanying Declaration of Counsel):