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The Courts

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 DCFusor (1763438) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @11:19AM (#42872153) Homepage
    Or not - this is small potatoes. I want to see banksters hung - they stole a lot more.
  • by Firethorn (177587) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @11:24AM (#42872201) Homepage Journal

    Well, I think that we've identified a more serious issue than 'mere' patent trolling - identity theft is a rather serious crime.

    Though I like the idea that if it's found that they lied about the identity of their CEO, they lose standing in their other court cases - making them fraudulent as well, compounding the issue.

    In the end, I'd say it's 'Scum is Scum'. If they're not too worried about one aspect of the law, they're unlikely to worry about others, to the point that when one aspect fails, it all tumbles down like a house of cards.

    Personally, I'd say 'hard labor until he's worked off all the court expenses'. That's regardless of the aspect they pick - people might find porn icky, I don't really care.

  • About time ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @11:35AM (#42872345) Homepage

    In addition to the Alan Cooper issue, Judge Wright is concerned about the slipshod way Prenda identifies defendants. When a household has multiple members, Prenda evidently decides who to sue based on statistical guesswork. "For example," Prenda wrote in one court filing, "if the subscriber is 75 years old, or the subscriber is female, it is statistically quite unlikely that the subscriber was the infringer."

    These shotgun approach lawsuits are just attempts at extortion when they have no real evidence.

    I really hope this guy gets some pretty serious sanctions -- making some poor schmuck the CEO of an offshore company is some pretty serious stuff, the kind that should get you into jail and disbarred.

    And if I read this right, he doesn't even have legal standing to be suing, and might stand to make money from this.

  • by concealment (2447304) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @02:15PM (#42874297) Homepage Journal

    If this is what they say this is ... this is far enough beyond an 'ethical' breach as to be obscene.

    True. I sympathize with your statement. At the same time, I think that we should view ethics not as subject to violations, but as something we keep in good standing to be able to practice any number of professions linked to personal responsibility. It's a threshold measurement. A person stays in good standing so long as they are below that threshold, but as soon as they transgress and go beyond it, it doesn't matter whether it's a small or huge violation; they lose the right to have the power conveyed by that profession.

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