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Copyright Trolls Sue Bloggers, Defense Lawyers 219

Posted by samzenpus
from the if-you-don't-have-anything-nice-to-say dept.
davecb writes "Prenda Law has commenced three defamation, libel and conspiracy suits against: defense lawyers, defendants and all the blogger and commentators at 'Die Troll Die' and 'Fight Copyright Trolls'. The suits, in different state courts, each attempt to identify anyone who has criticized Prenda, fine them $200,000 each for stating their opinions, and prohibit them from ever criticizing Prenda again."
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Copyright Trolls Sue Bloggers, Defense Lawyers

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  • Sorry, Prenda (Score:5, Insightful)

    by X0563511 (793323) on Monday March 04, 2013 @11:45AM (#43069207) Homepage Journal

    That is not how the world works.

    Prepare to lose. Badly.

    • Re:Sorry, Prenda (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Z00L00K (682162) on Monday March 04, 2013 @11:54AM (#43069323) Homepage

      If they come - they need to come in person and be prepared to meet Mr. Mossberg.

      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by X0563511 (793323)

        Mr. Marlin only needs them to venture within 300 meters or so.

    • Re:Sorry, Prenda (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fustakrakich (1673220) on Monday March 04, 2013 @12:08PM (#43069517) Journal

      Any judge that doesn't dismiss this immediately as frivolous with big fines should be impeached.

      • Most judges are former litigators. Seems like a conflict of interest to me.

        • by Threni (635302)

          No, the legal system needs to be ridiculous enough that you can win millions on some spurious bullshit but not so ridiculous that people begin to see through it.

        • "Most judges are former litigators. Seems like a conflict of interest to me."

          Interesting point. I don't think I have thought about it quite that way before...

          In any case, I looked at the filing posted at that link, and some of the things Prenda lists are very clearly not libel or slander. For example, there is little question that the cartoon of Bart Simpson at the blackboard would be protected as parody. Some other things appear to be mere opinion, which can never be libel.

          This looks to me like a SLAPP suit or suits (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation), which is j

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        The trolls' lawyers should be disbarred for taking the case.

        • Re:Sorry, Prenda (Score:4, Informative)

          by erroneus (253617) on Monday March 04, 2013 @12:50PM (#43070061) Homepage

          Much of the time, the trolls ARE lawyers, but yes, I agree. The justice system is not supposed to be a "for profit" thing.

      • Re:Sorry, Prenda (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Monday March 04, 2013 @01:02PM (#43070197) Journal

        No, these cases should be heard. They should be heard, lost, have legal fees shoved back on them, and marked as a warning to others.

        When a judge dismisses a case, it can be refiled elsewhere. When it's dismissed with prejudice, someone else can raise the same sort of suit. When YOU FUCKING LOSE, the next guy will face a defense lawyer who says "oh, but in Dickhead vs. BK Joe, Dickhead was found to be a moron" and THAT GUY FUCKING LOSES TOO.

        • Re:Sorry, Prenda (Score:4, Informative)

          by Fluffeh (1273756) on Monday March 04, 2013 @07:18PM (#43074405)

          No, these cases should be heard. They should be heard, lost, have legal fees shoved back on them, and marked as a warning to others.

          When a judge dismisses a case, it can be refiled elsewhere. When it's dismissed with prejudice, someone else can raise the same sort of suit. When YOU FUCKING LOSE, the next guy will face a defense lawyer who says "oh, but in Dickhead vs. BK Joe, Dickhead was found to be a moron" and THAT GUY FUCKING LOSES TOO.

          While I agree, look at what happened in RightHaven - sure, they lost, costs were awarded etc, but when it came to paying, suddenly there was no-one home and no assets worth a dime... Scroll down to the Insolvency section [wikipedia.org] to see exactly what happened...

    • Re:Sorry, Prenda (Score:5, Informative)

      by houstonbofh (602064) on Monday March 04, 2013 @12:17PM (#43069633)
      I wonder how much it would hurt a law firm to be declared a vexatious litigant? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vexatious_litigation [wikipedia.org] :)
      • by jcr (53032)

        It would pretty much put them out of business. No client wants a lawyer that’s been declared an asshole by the court.

        -jcr

        • Re:Sorry, Prenda (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Dunbal (464142) * on Monday March 04, 2013 @02:23PM (#43071157)
          And there is nothing wrong with putting incompetent professionals out of business. I'm a doctor and if I start being negligent and killing people I would deserve being run out of the profession because I have to stop being a doctor one way or another. A true professional stops long before he reaches that point and doesn't bite off more than he can reasonably chew. The consequences can be dire, and what's worse it's someone else that suffers them. So yeah, run them out of business and they can find a new career parking cars.
          • by Gr8Apes (679165)

            ... So yeah, run them out of business and they can find a new career parking cars.

            Not sure I'd trust them with my car, either, given their track record.

          • by dkf (304284)

            So yeah, run them out of business and they can find a new career parking cars.

            And there I was hoping they could find a nice... secure job doing laundry. Maybe with an option in the production of gravel.

    • Re:Sorry, Prenda (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Monday March 04, 2013 @12:23PM (#43069733) Homepage Journal

      That is not how the world works.

      The chilling effect has already been imposed. It is how the world works.

      It's not how the world ought to work, but somewhere along the line we decided that the lawyers should run society, and the results are predictable.

      • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Monday March 04, 2013 @01:47PM (#43070721) Journal

        ...we decided that the lawyers should run society...

        I think you mis-spelled ruin.

    • Those douches need to be spanked, and spanked badly. Beat them until their mothers cry. (Alright, so that's unlikely to happen since they all climbed out of some puddle of primordial ooze.)

      • by Nerdfest (867930) on Monday March 04, 2013 @12:36PM (#43069885)

        Perhaps in a case like this the judge should fine the accuser if they lose and give the claimed damages to the defendants.There needs to be some sort of downside to this kind of abuse.

        • by SilentStaid (1474575) on Monday March 04, 2013 @01:30PM (#43070525)
          If that were to happen Prenda Law (http://wefightpiracy.com/) would fold, declare bankruptcy with no assets available to their creditors and simply start a new corporation.

          I'm truly sorry you thought there was a possible outcome of justice.
          • by PRMan (959735)
            Disbarment? Oh, wait, they practice law in states where they don't have a license and get away with it... Carry on.
            • by anagama (611277)

              I don't any details about this case and I'm not more than vaguely familiar with Prenda's practices, so grain of salt.

              If the person who owns Prenda is suing personally in these states, he is a pro se litigant and as such, is entitled to represent himself. He can't represent other parties in those jurisdictions, but he has an absolute right to be his own counsel in a case in which he is a party. So, if he is suing personally, the fact that he is also an attorney doesn't enter the equation except for the old

              • What if all he does is sent threatening letters in which he claims he has standing to sue on behalf of the copyright holder?

        • by cusco (717999) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <ybxib.nairb>> on Monday March 04, 2013 @01:33PM (#43070593)
          The problem is that three of four years down the road, when the whole process finally wraps up, the defendants might well have been bankrupted by the whole mess. The mother of a former housemate actually lost her house because even though she won a lawsuit (the AMA sued her for 'practicing medicine without a license' in the 1970s for acting as a midwife) and was awarded damages in the meantime she had spent so much time in court she lost her job and then lost her house.
    • Re:Sorry, Prenda (Score:5, Informative)

      by cusco (717999) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <ybxib.nairb>> on Monday March 04, 2013 @12:37PM (#43069893)
      This is a SLAPP suit, a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. They won't win it, and are quite aware of that fact. It's not a suit that's meant to be won, it's a suit meant to inconvenience the other party so much that they shut up. Normally you see this coming from the big petrochemical companies and food conglomerates to shut up the public activists, the suit is designed to inconvenience the activists and their friends/family/employers, keep them in court, keep them paying lawyers, keep them traveling to an inconvenient venue to appear in a courtroom as far from their home as possible, keep them out of their regular job until they're fired or laid off, require depositions from their boss/friends/in-laws at the most inconvenient times possible, etc. The ultimate goal is to bankrupt the activist if possible, so that not only do they have to drop whatever action they're currently taking but won't be able to afford any other activities in the future.

      So much for the Rule Of Law. The rule is now that the deepest pockets always win.
      • Re:Sorry, Prenda (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Great Big Bird (1751616) on Monday March 04, 2013 @01:02PM (#43070201)
        It has always been the deepest pockets.
      • Inconvenience? I'm pretty sure that defending myself in court is easier than my current job, and in the UK at least I can claim loss of earnings from the litigant when I win the case. I could make quite a nice living from just sitting in court and winning cases which are meant to be inconveniencing me, and you can blog away while you're at it as long as you stay within the law.
        • Re:Sorry, Prenda (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Monday March 04, 2013 @01:30PM (#43070529)

          in the UK at least I can claim loss of earnings from the litigant when I win the case

          Is that true in general, or only in specific circumstances?

          I was called as a third party witness in a minor court case a while back. One of the things that surprised me was that the accused, having been found not guilty, did not seem to be entitled to much in the way of compensation at all. This was a criminal case, though, not a civil one.

          In that case, the defendant had been charged with an offence, presumably suffered more than a year of distress with the case hanging over them before it was finally resolved, spent whatever time and money it cost them to mount their own defence (they represented themselves in court), and obviously incurred the lost time and inconvenience of having to attend court itself. I was genuinely disappointed in our legal system when it seemed they were sent on their way as if they should somehow be grateful that, after suffering all of that distress and inconvenience, at least they hadn't been found guilty of what they'd been charged with and fined/thrown in jail.

          • Generally the losing party has to pay the legal costs of the winning party (i.e. pay for your time if you're representing yourself), I'm not sure whether this counts when the Crown is the one doing the prosecuting however.
            • Re:Sorry, Prenda (Score:4, Informative)

              by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Monday March 04, 2013 @02:07PM (#43070949)

              Generally the losing party has to pay the legal costs of the winning party (i.e. pay for your time if you're representing yourself)

              I guess it's whether the second part really falls under the first that I'm questioning.

              On another occasion, I got ripped off myself, for a modest but significant amount of money. It seemed like it should be a straightforward case: they took a deposit for something, then tried to fundamentally change the deal, and then repeatedly contradicted themselves in writing when I called them on it. I spent considerable time carefully documenting everything as this was all happening and reading up on small claims procedures.

              However, I couldn't find anything to suggest that I would get any compensation for the time I was spending even if I won a case, because that time didn't necessarily represent a direct loss of income, and apparently my time and inconvenience has no value in the eyes of the law even if paying a lawyer a far greater sum to spend far less time looking at the case would do because it's then money that I've personally had to spend. That meant the amount of money I'd "lost" (if you just took the time I'd spent and multiplied it by my normal hourly rate, as a relatively objective measure of its worth) was already worth more than the amount of money I was out in the first place, before I'd even filed any paperwork to start the court case.

              I would love for someone who is actually a UK lawyer to tell me that I misunderstood this. It irritates me greatly that the other party basically got away with something (and from stories I've heard since, I was neither the first nor the last person they pulled this on, either) and all I really did was teach them that people who send letters as the first step in a formal legal action will probably go away rather than actually take you to court if you just waste enough of their time. Unfortunately, again it was a situation where spending money to take on a lawyer would have cost a significant fraction of the disputed amount, so all I could go on was the (not always helpful) public documentation available from the court web sites etc.

          • by dkf (304284)

            in the UK at least I can claim loss of earnings from the litigant when I win the case

            Is that true in general, or only in specific circumstances?

            It's usually the case that the loser pays the winner's costs, on the basic principle that a the party who wasn't wronged shouldn't be too badly hurt by the proceedings themselves. However, this is tempered by the fact that this is an award made by the judge (or panel of magistrates) in equity. Equity is a funny legal concept, not used so much in US courts (where things are a bit more statute driven), but in the case of costs it is the case that where one side brings much more expensive legal representation

            • by whoever57 (658626)

              in the UK at least I can claim loss of earnings from the litigant when I win the case

              Is that true in general, or only in specific circumstances?

              It's usually the case that the loser pays the winner's costs,

              There is another level of sublety about the concept of the "loser". Let's say that I threaten to sue someone who agrees that they were at fault and owes me money. Let's say that they offer to compensate me in the amount of 50,000 UK pounds (and this sum is put in escrow with the court). I don't think

      • by Kittenman (971447)

        So much for the Rule Of Law. The rule is now that the deepest pockets always win.

        Saw a cartoon once where the Judge looks down from the well-dressed criminal in the dock, and asks the clerk of the court; "Fetch me the law for the rich, would you?"

  • by swimboy (30943) on Monday March 04, 2013 @11:47AM (#43069245)
    Hornet's nest, meet boot.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 04, 2013 @11:48AM (#43069247)

    I wonder if the Troll knows they will probably have to pay all the defendents costs if they lose?

    • With what? They probably know a good bankruptcy attorney...
    • by cusco (717999)
      They don't care. It's just meant to inconvenience them so much that they shut up and hopefully go away.
    • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Monday March 04, 2013 @01:01PM (#43070185)

      I wonder if the Troll knows they will probably have to pay all the defendents costs if they lose?

      You don't live in the USA. Am I right?

      That's how law works in the UK. My best friend is a lawyer (we're both Americans) and he's taught me a lot about how the law really works. One of the things he taught me is that it's incredibly difficult in the USA to get costs paid, even when the lawsuit is frivolous. The problem is that courts in general really don't like to award this kind of thing because all judges and lawyers feel that the system works pretty well, darn near close to perfect, as it is right now and anything that punishes people for bringing lawsuits and losing would "hurt the little man" who will be too afraid to pursue his justified lawsuit against some true injustice because he might lose and have to pay the other guy's court costs. So almost certainly this will not be a factor, although if the defendants are attorneys they might push for it anyway as they know the system well enough that it might give them a slightly better chance of getting it than would normally happen.

      • by GodInHell (258915) on Monday March 04, 2013 @01:28PM (#43070513) Homepage
        Not necessarily in this case. Anti-SLAPP act statutes in several states are harsh on the fees question.
      • by Kaenneth (82978)

        I have the easy solution to that.

        Loser pays, capped at the cost of the side that spent the least.

        Corp and (natural) Person appear in court (file sharing), Corp spends $5,000,000, Person spends $5,000; Corp wins, awarded legal fees are capped at $5,000. Person wins, Corp pays all their legal fees.

        Mega-Corp vs. Mega-Corp (Samsung/Apple) both spend $10,000,000; loser pays the winners lawyers $10,000,000.

        If you don't bother to defend yourself (default judgement...) no legal fees, but you just automatically won,

      • by seebs (15766)

        I used to sue junk faxers as a hobby, we never had any trouble at all getting costs awarded. Fees are harder, and fees and costs are not the same thing. But we got fees awarded at least once. So, it can happen.

  • by benjfowler (239527) on Monday March 04, 2013 @11:51AM (#43069279)

    They've just opened the gates of hell on themselves.

    It's not going to end well for them; but if other peoples' pain is funny, this will be hilarious to watch.

  • Wait... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 04, 2013 @11:51AM (#43069281)
    Isn't this the same law firm that is facing allegations of fraud and identity theft [slashdot.org]?

    Why yes, yes it is. And that case is scheduled for next week...
    • Point of order: If they are literally convicted of fraud, we can then get away with calling them frauds?

      Until then "worthless scum-sucking sacks of shit" will have to do?

      • by dkf (304284)

        If they are literally convicted of fraud, we can then get away with calling them frauds?

        If they have a conviction for it, sure. You'd have the perfect defense: a judgement that you could point to immediately. Given their apparent fondness for litigiousness, it would be wise to stick to clear facts and reporting of matters that have already been proven in court. Failing that, if you have to make less supportable statements then say things that are clearly your opinion and cannot be mistaken for anything else.

        With that, I must wish them good luck with that court case and hope they win. No, not P

    • by shentino (1139071)

      Quite, and somehow I think that this latest SLAPP is an attempt to derail it.

  • by oic0 (1864384) on Monday March 04, 2013 @11:55AM (#43069341)
    Its a law firm full of blood sucking lawyers who specialize in suing people. As much as we may think we know about law and how they are going to get their butts kicked, I'm sure they have some sort of angle or strategy here.
    • If they were smart people they wouldn't need to use this business model.
      • Just in case there's any confusion. Prenda Law is a group of loser's that couldn't make an honest living so they turned to extortion. Oh, and I'm in British Columbia and it'll cost Prenda $35,000 up front to launch an action here, and Prenda will lose here too. But they probably aren't smart enough to figure that out.
    • This may be a case of intentional harassment, and may be(depending on the judge and jury) grounds for some disbarment. That's a lot to hope for, but I would love to have these assholes lose their jobs for participating in abuse of station.

  • Of all the people (Score:4, Insightful)

    by earlzdotnet (2788729) on Monday March 04, 2013 @12:00PM (#43069417)
    Of all the people criticizing these copyright trolls, why would they strike back at the guys who know what they're talking about and have the means to defend themselves(lawyers). Waiting for someone to come here soon and say "And....it's gone" with a link to their statement about going bankrupt and closing shop.
  • is likely to get sued
  • Prenda Pretendah (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 04, 2013 @12:05PM (#43069465)

    How do you libel or defame those who are under investigation for being pretending to be that which they are not?

    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. (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/02/judge-hints-at-jail-time-for-porn-troll-prenda-law-over-identity-theft/)

    My opinion is that they will be too busy staying out of jail to do anything worth $200,000 and some bothersome amendment about free speech.

  • Bad Lawyers (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Let's not forget, this is the same Prenda Law that has made the front page of Slashdot twice in the past quarter. In December, identity theft and fraud was alleged by Prenda [slashdot.org] and a federal district court judge granted a defendant's motion to explore that. Additionally, last month, a federal judge in Los Angeles suggested serious penalties [slashdot.org] for Brett Gibbs, an attorney at porn copyright trolling firm Prenda Law - including possible jail time. It sounds like this is the final breath of Prenda Law. They are g

  • First Amendment (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 04, 2013 @12:10PM (#43069535)

    One thing that I don't understand is why the blatant abuse of a individuals first amendment rights is not actively protected more than "don't do that" kind of slap on the wrist when legal entities who know it's a violation commit these acts. These kind of abuses should be treated more as criminal offenses as they violate what the US has defined as a human right and be treated with such weight. I don't mean a heafty fine, but more akin to dis-Bar and a felony charged on the grounds of violating basic human rights by way of abusing social position (IE Lawyers abusing their knowledge of laws and funding to hold back the public, who may lack of knowledge of law or are unable to protect themselves due to lack of funding).

    • Re:First Amendment (Score:4, Interesting)

      by davecb (6526) <davec-b@rogers.com> on Monday March 04, 2013 @12:21PM (#43069707) Homepage Journal

      In the era in which the Constitution was written, this wasn't a common practice. A good federal SLAPP law might classify then actions as an abuse of power, or a fraud upon the court, depending on whether one was a lawyer or a plaintiff, in order to make the punishment fit the crime.

      Anyone want to start a White House petition for criminal sanctions against anyone who defrauds a court?

      --dave (I can't, I'd have to start a 24 Sussex Drive petition) c-b

  • See Figure 1.

  • by gravis777 (123605) on Monday March 04, 2013 @12:14PM (#43069591)

    Do I get sued now?

  • I do hereby criticize you in the harshest way possible.
    So there. :p
  • by Anonymous Coward
    That's what I heard, Prenda is run by a child molesting ring of Nazi baby killers. Does anyone else know anything interesting about Prenda?
  • For ruling against them!!! Technically, there's no end to this is your lawyers are slimey enough. Technically it may even be possible to sue the members of SCOTUS...

  • Prenda is just going to offer to settle for $3,000 or something with each of these people (along with a gag agreement), and drop the case against them if they let it go to court. Bank on it.

  • ...when the result of pulling this kind of stunt would be having a couple of company executives dragged out into the street and shot...."pour encourager les autres".

  • Ask Barbra Streisand http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect [wikipedia.org] how well this approach works, Prenda.
  • I wanna be sued also!!!!!!

    Dang, no one ever sues me...

  • by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Monday March 04, 2013 @03:02PM (#43071623) Homepage Journal

    This idiotic firm is quite simply a group of terrorists using the law to scare people.

    What needs to happen is these assholes need to get not only an anti-SLAPP suit filed against them, and get them declared vexatious litigants, but also have terrorism charges brought upon them as well. There is a clear threat for political motivation. It is terrorism, pure and simple.

    These total morons need to be exterminated by the very system they seek to abuse.

    Hey, Prenda, don't like my comments? Yea, I'm on Die Troll Die, bring it. I'll give you the same treatment I gave Electronic Arts in the courtroom. Trust me, that wasn't pretty for them, and it won't be for you.

    My info is quite public, if you want the most recent, go ahead, look it up RIF1200346 Riverside California court system. You can get my updated information there.

  • So "prenda" is Latin for asshat?

  • > ...and prohibit them from ever criticizing Prenda again...

    Challenge accepted!

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