While Manny Pacquiao will show this weekend if his often-unerring fists can win a fight with a total payday estimated at north of $400 million, a federal court in Miami recently told the legendary pugilist’s documentary film makers to pull the punches they planned to throw at unidentified parties they accuse of copyright infringement. The proposed high-tech hay-makers legally were off target, the court said (with thanks to Digital Music News for posting the ruling), even as the multiple lawsuits nationwide have started to trouble online observers.

Pacquiao’s rags-to-riches life was the subject of Manny, a documentary with middling  critical reviews by Manny Film LLC that lists Hollywood stars like Mark Wahlberg, Liam Neeson, and Jimmy Kimmel in its cast and credits. The documentarians’ lawyers have filed many lawsuits in several states, including Florida, accusing parties of infringement and failing to pay appropriate fees to see the work by using BitTorrent peer-to peer file-sharing technology.

Geo-location for IP addresses

The filmmakers have told courts that they hope to identify infringing parties by tapping geo-location and other technologies, and Manny Film LLC, argued to a federal judge in Miami that this approach against John Doe defendants had been accepted elsewhere.

But the South Florida court held that case law knocked out the proposed approach, with U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungara saying she found it troubling to associate an internet protocol address with one person, when others might have had access to the IP address and could be responsible for traceable conduct.

Many suits, growing controversy

Indeed, the many Manny-suits, numbering now in the hundreds, have become their own online controversy, with cyber commentators suggesting they’re tantamount to trolling — the practice of pursuing multiple, unidentified defendants solely based on claims against their IP address with hopes of prying free private information and getting them to negotiate settlements, which, collectively can add up to goodly sums; the practice has appeared most commonly with blue content, where parties have elected to pay a few hundred dollars to settle potential claims rather than to face possibly embarrassing disclosure of their identities and their online viewing interests.