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Judge Hints At Jail Time For Porn Copyright Troll Prenda Law 63

Posted by timothy
from the your-room-without-supper-forever dept.
In December, we mentioned the attention that Prenda law bigwig John Steele has drawn for some questionable business practices; now reader rudy_wayne writes with news (excerpted from Ars Technica) of more scrutiny of Prenda from a California district court: "A federal judge in Los Angeles has suggested serious penalties for Brett Gibbs, an attorney at porn copyright trolling firm Prenda Law. Facing allegations of fraud and identity theft, Gibbs will be required to explain himself at a March 11 hearing. And if Judge Otis Wright isn't satisfied with his answers, he may face fines and even jail time. The identity theft allegations emerged late last year, when a Minnesota man named Alan Cooper told a Minnesota court he suspected Prenda Law named him as the CEO of two litigious offshore holding companies without his permission. Worried about exposing himself to potential liability for the firms' misconduct, Cooper asked the court to investigate the situation. Cooper's letter was spotted by Morgan Pietz, an attorney who represents 'John Doe' defendants in California. He notified Judge Wright of the allegations."
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Judge Hints At Jail Time For Porn Copyright Troll Prenda Law

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  • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @12:38PM (#42872381) Homepage

    There is no patent trolling here since these are Copyright suits.

    They're not the same thing, and there's no mention of patents anywhere.

  • by Mister Whirly (964219) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @01:37PM (#42873051) Homepage
    Wikipedia can answer that. [wikipedia.org]Some courts have applied US copyright protection to pornographic materials. Although the first US Copyright law specifically barred obscene materials, the provision was removed in subsequent extensions of copyright. Most pornographic productions are theoretically work for hire meaning pornographic models do not receive statutory royalties for their performances. Of difficulty is the changing views of what is considered obscene, meaning works could slip into and out of copyright protection based upon the prevailing standards of decency. This was not an issue with the copyright law up until 1972 when copyright protection required registration. When congress changed the law to make copyright protection automatic and for the life of the author, some courts have held it effectively granted copyright protection to pornography because materials once considered obscene might no longer be considered as such. Congress's decision also made ascertaining the copyright status of pornographic materials nearly impossible because of the secrecy conferred to the identity of the models and producers.

    The copyright status of pornography in the United States has been challenged as late as February 2012.

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