There will be no more mass lawsuits in Texas for Internet file-sharing after the mass lawsuits of attorney Evan Stone. Stone, a Texas attorney from Denton, filed individual subpoenas for each individual violating anti-piracy law. After convincing the anime distributor FUNimation to use the same technique he was using with Lucas Entertainment on gay pornography torrent cases, Texas has now decided to deny multiple filings of lawsuits.
With the 16 pending cases filed in the Northern District of Texas, 13 of them have anonymous defendants and have been acquitted. Stone is now faced with re-filing “individual complaints” against them within 30 days, adding up to $4,550 worth of filing fees, apart from the time spent putting together the paperwork for each of them.
Judge Ferguson states that the cases filed for animation company FUNimation cannot be proved to be related to each other or that they were done as a group in the infringement suit. They were done individually and therefore should be filed individually.
This meant that for Stone, only 1 from the 1,337 filed was left.
Judge Ferguson goes on to say that there is not enough evidence to prove that just because the individuals all used BitTorrent, in other words utilizing a common tool for file sharing, this does not necessarily bind them together. The judge justifies further that each defendant would most likely have a different defense strategy against the charges.
After much success for Stone, this new development has become a huge problem for his business. In fact, the only case that was not dismissed by a judge was one that Stone himself dismissed. This was the very case where he issued subpoenas without approval.
In a personal e-mail to Paul Levy of Public Citizen, Evan Stone assures him that despite the roadblocks recently put up in his way, he will continue to help his clients to seek justice against online piracy of their products.