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Crime Piracy The Courts United States

Judge Grants Defendant's Motion To Explore Alleged Fraud By Prenda Law 81

Posted by timothy
from the it's-always-the-gardener dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Prenda Law — one of the most notorious copyright trolls — has sued hundreds of thousands of John Doe defendants, often receiving settlements of thousands of dollars from each. Prenda Law principal John Steele has reportedly made a few million dollars suing BitTorrent file-sharers. Prenda Law has been accused in federal court of creating sham offshore corporations using the identity of his gardener. In other words, it is alleged that the law firm and their client are the same entity, and that Prenda law has committed identity theft and fraud. Now, a judge in California has granted a John Doe defendant's motion to further explore the connection between the offshore entity and the law firm."
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Judge Grants Defendant's Motion To Explore Alleged Fraud By Prenda Law

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  • It's still fraud (Score:4, Informative)

    by sirwired (27582) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @11:17AM (#42419557)

    Law firms aren't allowed to invent fictitious plaintiffs (or commit identity theft) in order to initiate lawsuits. (And there are very strict rules on recruiting named plaintiffs for class actions.) It may not be a fraud against the defendants (though probably is), but it can still be a fraud against the courts; that's completely separate from the actual merits (or lack thereof) of the case. Fraud against the court is something a lawyer does; normal fraud is something defendants get accused of doing.

    The penalty for fraud against the court starts with monetary sanctions (in addition to getting your case dismissed), and can end with a recommendation for disbarment. (I don't know if a judge can impose jail time without a DA involved (like with contempt of court)... I doubt it.)

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @11:42AM (#42419659) Journal

    I have worked for the porn industry and seen this guy preaching at industry conventions, once supposedly on a forum that was to discuss how to approach copyright infringement as a porn company/copyright holder. (there are other approaches the best working focusing on having your customers become loyal fans of your brand, so they want to pay, beg you to pay)

    It wasn't a discussion really, as I sat by as 3rd party (I do servers for whatever reason you might have and I make the same amount whether those servers are payed for by copyright owners, commercial pirates, amateurs or cat pictures) and was amazed to see him preach to the converted... well... up until the point you start asking for numbers. There are a LOT of porn producers, a shit load more content and a near infinite amount of downloaders. The internet may consist of cat pictures but torrents are for porn. Yet he has done at the time only a few thousand cases. That is NOTHING! It ain't even a drop in the bucket. The RIAA was doing fastly more cases.

    While the audience was agreeing with him, you could see most didn't have a clue as to the real issues and the developments with regards to copyrights and enforcing them. The porn industry likes to pride itself on being cutting edge, VHS, online payments but really that is just a tiny segment, the rest are slobs who figured out sex sells. The moment the forum was over, I talked to some porn producers and asked what they though considering judgements like the then current claim of movie copyright infringenment costing several times more then the entire world economy.

    Or the cases of sueing children, veterans and other people who might get the sympathy of the public. If the public chooses the side of dirty pirates against wholesome music executives... what chance does a porn peddler stand? Most porn producers are well aware that they are skirting the edge of public acceptance, they know they can only accept credit cards if they meet the decency requirements of the processing company, can only host with parties that accept adult content. They didn't like it one bit when I linked them on my tablet to some John Steele publicity stunts, no porn company wants attention from Fox News about harrasing some grandma who left her wifi open as it was installed by her grandson who died in Afghanistan. No thank you sirree, that is NOT worth gathering a few bucks, especially when all the lawyer fees have been payed you end up owing the lawyer for bad publicity.

    That I wasn't the only doom spreader for dealing with John Steele is proven by the fact only a handful of companies deal with him. When you talk to him, he does his name justice google his picture, say his name and what you think he will be like is how he is. A boisterous overconfidant man who speaks so loud that he doesn't hear anyone asking him to explain some details about cases thrown out of court and how does not QUITE work on a contingency basis (he gets more if he wins but he ALWAYS get payed), how a settlement doesn't include paying lawyer fees. If you lose in court and are ordered to pay 5000 in damages you often ALSO have to pay lawyer fees. If you settle for 1000, that is it, the lawyer still wants paying. John Steele certainly does.

    It is no secret that copyright infringement happens, on a MASSIVE scale. And porn has an issue the mainstream media does not have. I once came up with a nice way to put but we are all males here so here it is "You can cum on a trailer".

    Some Hollywood movies have trailers that tell you the entire movie and a few where the trailer is better then the movie but on the whole, the trailer make you hungry for more.

    In porn, the trailer is enough for most and just makes you sleepy. Watching a full movie on youtube is a hassle (well it was until they removed the ten minute limit) but for porn tubes... how many minutes do you need? Oh wait, I forgot my audience. Seconds?

    Sharing the entire movie on a torrent is far less of an issue to the industry then all those porn tube sites that contain

  • Here's a primer (Score:5, Informative)

    by mbstone (457308) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @12:01PM (#42419763)

    Prenda Law (aka Steele Hansmeier aka Anti-Piracy Law Group) is not really a law firm as such, but a sophisticated scam. For those of you who came in late, here's how it works: Prenda's stooges, who are ostensibly copyright holders, upload a porno clip to BitTorrent. They they record the IP addresses of everyone who downloads the torrent. Then Prenda Law sues all the IP address holders as John Does in a federal copyright lawsuit, for example Hard Drive Productions vs. John Does 1 through 1495. They aren't really interested in suing, just in issuing subpoenas to ISPs to get the names and addresses of the downloaders. They then send demand letters requesting thousands of dollars. People pay up, because the amount is just below what it would cost to hire a lawyer, because the porno downloaders are afraid their wives will find out, and because they are afraid of being on the receiving end of massive Jammie Thomas [wikipedia.org] -type civil judgments.

    For the last couple of years, Prenda and its associates have made millions of dollars this way, as federal judges from coast to coast have (up to now) rubberstamped their extortionate business model.

    Recently, however, the greed, stupidity, incompetence and unethical conduct of Prenda has finally caught up to it.

    Read all about it at sites such as fightcopyrighttrolls.com [fightcopyrighttrolls.com], dietrollsdie.com [dietrollsdie.com], etc.

    You've gotta read the transcript from November 27, 2012 in Sunlust Pictures v. Nguyen [fightcopyrighttrolls.com]. It is the funniest federal court hearing transcript, ever, as federal judge Mary S. Scriven puts one participant after another under oath... it is as funny as an Abbott and Costello routine....

  • Re:Capitalism. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Rockoon (1252108) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @12:54PM (#42420189)

    It wouldn't even need to be a 6 month period. If everybody was forced to hold shares for a single day, that would outright kill High-Frequency and Algo-based Trading. Hell, a mandatory holding period of 1 hour would probably do that.

    It certainly would do what you claim, but you havent justified why you would want to kill algorithmic trading.

    The effects of algorithmic trading [berkeley.edu] have been studied, and its shown that the practice reduces the spreads between bids and asks, which translated directly into you getting better prices both when buying and selling than you would have gotten otherwise.

    Please explain why you want to pay higher prices when buying and get less money when selling.

    I realize that you probably didnt know that this was true, and if thats the case then you should step back and have a real long think about why you developed the opinion that you have and what you can do in the future to prevent mob irrationality from dominating your beliefs.

  • Re:Capitalism. (Score:5, Informative)

    by shipofgold (911683) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @01:39PM (#42420541)

    While it may increase the liquidity of the market, it doesn't necessarily promote good ideas.

    Society benefits when good ideas are promoted through shareholder investments. The stock market did just great for 100 years without algorithmic trading, and the intro to algorithmic trading has caused several large instabilities in just the past two years:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Flash_Crash [wikipedia.org]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knight_capital [wikipedia.org]

    This amazing graphic illustrates the effect of this type of trading on the volumes, and ...I believe that instabilities will only get worse with this type of activity.

    http://www.nanex.net/aqck/2804.HTML [nanex.net]

    As the underlying article states the growth of "Quote SPAM" is really the problem. Most of this is "testing the waters" where a quote is tossed out to see the response and immediately cancelled with no resulting trade.

    Fundamentally, it is simply gambling.

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