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There is a case in the United States that has made its way through a city's municipal court, the district court, and is now going to be in the state's supreme court (Pennsylvania). I live in a different state (Ohio).

The case is a civil one between two private companies, the plaintiff alleging copyright infringement for commercial gain, and the defendant is arguing the works were fair use. The copyrighted works in question were mass-produced by the defendant, one of which I purchased several years ago, unaware of the legal dispute at the time.

My purchase transaction (along with my full name, address, phone number and email) was produced by the defendant into evidence, on a record of hundreds of other transactions, along with all their other customers' personal information. That evidence became part of the public record once it entered the district courts, as far as I can tell. As of the posting of this question, it's currently available for download directly from the district court's website, un-redacted.

The case is now picking up some mild media attention, and it seems odd that a document listing private citizens' sensitive information is being released to the public in full without being redacted in some way by the courts. I've already seen the document posted in un-redacted form on dozens of legal discussion forums, YouTube videos as B-roll footage, etc. when searching for articles on the case.

How can I get my personal information 'redacted' from the public record when A) the case doesn't directly involve me and B) the case is taking place in a different jurisdiction? Don't I have the right to protect this information unless I am directly party to a legal dispute?

  • It is hard for me to believe all the discovery documents will be released to the public on a civil matter. Personal information should be redacted. – paparazzo Jun 5 '18 at 15:42
  • The fact that it's a different jurisdiction may make it more difficult for you to communicate with the parties, but it doesn't affect your rights. – phoog Jun 5 '18 at 15:57
  • @paparazzo I don't believe all of the discovery documents were released to the public, but this document certainly was. I found it hard to believe too, but the district court is currently hosting the document on their case search website for download. – Moses Jun 5 '18 at 16:04
  • Look up the law in you state. I worked on discovery and for sure SSN and bank number were suppose to be redacted. I would complain to the court. I suspect it was released by one or both side. Not the court. Even if you are a party your personal information should be redacted. – paparazzo Jun 5 '18 at 16:08
  • Have you considered writing directly to the court and asking it to redact the material on its website? – sjy Jun 7 '18 at 9:21
3

You could probably hire a Pennsylvania lawyer to intervene in the case on your behalf and file a motion to seal the evidence in the case, and there is a good chance that it would be granted, and quite possibly, unopposed by the parties.

But, the fact that it has already been made available to the public on the Internet could cause the court to deny your request on the grounds that it is futile to do so.

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