Lawsuit filed by adult entertainment website transferred to federal court

Christina Stueve Hodges Aug. 30, 2012, 5:00am


A lawsuit filed by an adult entertainment website against Anthony Smith and a number of Internet, cable and phone providers has been removed to federal court.

Lightspeed Media Corporation filed the lawsuit Dec. 14 against John Doe, a then unknown St. Clair County citizen, claiming he hacked into its site and illegally gained access to sexually explicit content.

Lightspeed Media filed a first amended complaint Aug. 3, adding Anthony Smith, SBC Internet Services, doing business as AT&T Internet Services, AT&T Corporate Representative #1, Comcast Cable Communications and Comcast Corporate Representative #1 as defendants.

SBC Internet Services filed a notice of removal Aug. 10 to federal court, alleging that Smith used hacked passwords to access the plaintiff's websites and protected computer content.

SBC asserted that federal court has jurisdiction because the plaintiff's principal place of business is in Arizona; defendant AT&T is a California corporation with its principal place of business in Texas and defendant Comcast is a citizen of Philadelphia.

In its amended complaint, Lightspeed alleges Smith and his alleged "co-conspirators" logged into its website with illegally obtained passwords. They then allegedly accessed unauthorized content on the site, according to the complaint.

"Through these hacked passwords, Defendant Smith and his co-conspirators consumed plaintiff's content as though they were paying members," Lightspeed alleges. "They downloaded Plaintiff's private computer content and disseminated that information to other unauthorized individuals."

Since Smith and his alleged co-conspirators accessed plaintiff's protected websites through hacked passwords, they were not required to provide any identifying personal information, such as their true names, addresses, telephone numbers or email addresses, Lightspeed claims. It states that Smith and his alleged co-conspirators can only be identified by their IP addresses.

Lightspeed retained Arcadia Data Security Consultants to identify IP addresses associated with hackers that use hacked passwords and the Internet to access plaintiff's protected websites and private computer content, according to the complaint.

Arcadia used forensic software named Trader Hacker and Intruder Evidence Finer 2.0 to identify hacking, unauthorized access, and password sharing activity on plaintiff's websites, the complaint states.

The individuals committing the alleged unlawful activities are identified by their IP addresses and the dates and times they unlawfully accessed the plaintiff's websites, the complaint states.

Once defendant Smith and his alleged co-conspirators' IP addresses and dates and times of unlawful access were ascertained, Arcadia used publicly available reverse-lookup databases on the Internet to determine what ISP issued the IP addresses, the document states.

In addition to logging Smith's IP address, Arcadia's software logged other important information into a uniform database, such as the specific websites that were unlawfully accessed and the files that were downloaded during that unauthorized access, the complaint states.

Defendant was detected by T.H.I.E.F. Security System gaining unauthorized access to Plaintiff's protected websites Nov. 24, 2011, the complaint states. This date was the last time the security system detected the defendant's unauthorized access, the complaint states.

The cost to the plaintiff for Arcadia to host and run the system is $500 per month, it states. The system was used by Arcadia to detect the hacking and unauthorized access of Lightspeed's website for 11 months, Lightspeed contends.

The minimum cost to gain lawful, unauthorized access to plaintiff's website is $39.95 for one month, the complaint states. The average membership to plaintiff's website lasts two months, it states.

Defendants have thus damaged the plaintiff in the amount of at least $774,850 for remedial measures the plaintiff was forced to take to prevent further unauthorized access to its websites by Smith and other hackers, the complaint states.

Kevin Hoerner of Becker, Paulson, Hoerner & Thompson in Belleville and Paul Duffy of Prenda Law in Chicago represent the plaintiff.

Troy Bozarth of HeplerBroom in Edwardsville and Bart Huffman of Locke Lord in Austin, Texas represent SBC.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-683.

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