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The Courts

Porn Troll Panics, Dismisses Pending Lawsuits 106

Posted by Soulskill
from the abort!-abort! dept.
JayRott writes "According to Ars, 'The embattled copyright trolling firm Prenda Law is seeking to contain the fallout from a looming identity theft scandal by voluntarily dismissing lawsuits filed by the shell company AF Holdings. A Minnesota man named Alan Cooper has charged that Prenda fraudulantly used his name as the CEO of AF Holdings, allegations that have attracted the attention of a California judge. Ken at the legal blog Popehat broke the news that Prenda attorney Paul Duffy has sought dismissal of at least four pending infringement cases involving the Prenda-linked shell company AF Holdings. All four dismissals occurred in the Northern District of Illinois.' I don't see how Prenda thinks this is going to make one lick of difference to an already angry Judge."
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Porn Troll Panics, Dismisses Pending Lawsuits

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  • by jo_ham (604554) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .999mahoj.> on Saturday March 16, 2013 @08:27AM (#43190235)

    I think this is akin to getting caught stealing money from the tip jar and trying to make it look like you were just "making change".

    Too late, you woke the dragon.

    • by tqk (413719) <s.keeling@mail.com> on Saturday March 16, 2013 @09:15AM (#43190461)

      I've been watching this story unfold at Techdirt.com. It's the most farcical slow motion train wreck I've seen in quite a while. It speaks volumes about USA's litigious culture, the Imaginary Property regime, and the miniscule amount of value added to an individual through managing to graduate from law school and be accepted to practice law. To think that these guys spent tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars for their educations, and this is what the idiots end up doing with them. Astonishing.

      Kudos to the judge. I've seen a few posts from guys wishing they could have a womb implanted so they could have his children.

      • by Spy Handler (822350) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @09:22AM (#43190491) Homepage Journal

        Lawyers are a protected privileged class in the USA. Everyone from the President to members of Congress to Supreme Court justices are all lawyers. If you were to shoot all lawyers, you would no longer have a United States.

        (what you'd have is a nice place to live)

        • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday March 16, 2013 @09:38AM (#43190605) Homepage Journal

          Lawyers are a protected privileged class in the USA. Everyone from the President to members of Congress to Supreme Court justices are all lawyers.

          Well, kinda. They're not practicing lawyers. They've evolved into LAWYER's next form, POLITICIAN. As lawyers they learn how the law can be twisted and screwed into new shapes to benefit the wealthy, and to win at any cost and on any viable basis. As politicians, they are wealthy, and in a position to make laws.

          • by canadian_right (410687) <alexander.russell@telus.net> on Saturday March 16, 2013 @01:25PM (#43191927) Homepage

            It is all too easy to slam lawyers, but a lawyer is your best friend when you need one.

            You should be slamming the ignorant electorate that keeps electing these politicians that only care about getting elected, getting rich, and pleasing the rich.

            You can't waste a vote. A the only wasted vote is the one that wasn't exercised.

            • by Genda (560240) <(mariet) (at) (got.net)> on Saturday March 16, 2013 @01:52PM (#43192109) Journal

              Until you realize the only reason you need a lawyer, is because of other lawyers...

            • by shentino (1139071)

              Lawyers are collectively running a protection racket.

              They make stupid laws that appeal to mankind's base instincts to fuck each other over, and then turn around and offer us their services as warriors in the same minefield they themselves lay down.

            • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday March 16, 2013 @04:39PM (#43193067) Homepage Journal

              It is all too easy to slam lawyers, but a lawyer is your best friend when you need one.

              Wrong. A lawyer is a necessary evil when I need one, and I only need one because of the efforts and actions of other lawyers. Even a good lawyer is part of a broken system designed to maintain the status quo, and therefore part of the problem even when they try to be part of the solution.

            • As one of my buddies used to say, a hired lawyer is a lot like an attack dog. You point it in the right direction and let it go do its thing. Your lawyer is NOT your friend, and has no qualms about indiscriminately attacking whoever is pointed at by the person paying the bill.

              Truthfully, most situations people find themselves in where they really need a lawyer are situations created by the system itself. There really SHOULD be no reason a sane, somewhat intelligent individual couldn't just represent him/he

              • by Miseph (979059) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @06:21PM (#43193657) Journal

                I'm sorry you and your buddy have only met truly reprehensible lawyers. I know several who are good, honest, thoughtful people who genuinely try to make the world around them a better place. Granted, I've also met a hunch who are slimeballs I would just as soon push in front of a bus, but I've met a lot of people who are slimeballs that I would just as soon push in front of a bus who aren't lawyers, so it doesn't seem fair to say lawyers are necessarily any worse than the rest of humanity.

                If anything, I've met a greater percentage of sales and corporate management types who would contribute more to the benefit of mankind by dying messily than I have lawyers, but YMMV.

            • by tqk (413719)

              You should be slamming the ignorant electorate that keeps electing these politicians that only care about getting elected, getting rich, and pleasing the rich.

              Doesn't that describe all of them? Besides, they're two sides of the same coin. One side gets elected and starts pushing some pet program, loses power letting the other guys in, and they start pushing the same program. You bet that's a wasted vote. The game's rigged.

            • by alexo (9335)

              It is all too easy to slam lawyers, but a lawyer is your best friend when you need one.

              It is all too easy to slam mafiosi, but a mafioso is your best friend when you need protection.

              Did you ever wonder why do you have to "have a lawyer"?

          • by Genda (560240) <(mariet) (at) (got.net)> on Saturday March 16, 2013 @01:51PM (#43192097) Journal

            Well, kinda. They're not practicing lawyers. They've evolved into LAWYER's next form, POLITICIAN...

            You describe them as though they're some kind of horrible parasite... good job!

        • by Anonymous Coward

          It is perfectly legal to include in your property management procedures that you do not rent to people who have an incomone under 3 times the rent, credit scores below a certain number, or lawyers. Our lawyer finds it fucking hilarious, and actually got a response from the fair housing council parasites when he querried them if this was legally acceptable.

        • Layers are carnivorous predators that are occasionally promoted to an alpha role (politician). Every few years these politicians engage in a no-holds-barred battle for pack dominance.

      • by zAPPzAPP (1207370)

        Isn't the judge, who's now apparently target of homoerotic advances due to being so awesome, an absolvent of the same line of education you seem to despise so much?

        • by tqk (413719)

          Isn't the judge, who's now apparently target of homoerotic advances due to being so awesome, an absolvent of the same line of education you seem to despise so much?

          What's that got to do with it? Some go to school to learn, many more go to get the certificate. The latter can often look like amnesiacs wrt their education history.

      • by fgouget (925644)

        It speaks volumes about USA's litigious culture, the Imaginary Property regime, and the miniscule amount of value added to an individual through managing to graduate from law school and be accepted to practice law.

        I've been struck by another thing while following this. In France people keep complaining that you have to file too much paperwork to create a company and how in the US you can do it all in half an hour. But it feels like that's exactly what led to making it so easy to falsify who's the head of AF Holdings. So this simplicity does seem to have drawbacks. Can a company really be held accountable if you don't know who's at its head?

    • Reading the headline does not give you any information at all.
      Some lawsuits were dropped. And only because they probably used Alan Cooper's name (illegally).
    • Is it too late? It seems to me that this is pretty middle of the road for legal insanity. It would make rational sense that you couldn't just dismiss the case and avoid being punished, but it also seems rational that legal trolls wouldn't be allowed to do what they do in the first place. Logic has no place in courtrooms from what I can tell. What is the judge going to do? Are the lawyers going to get disbarred?
  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @08:28AM (#43190241)
    they're trying to make sure they don't piss off another one. One their dirty laundry got out everyone's going to scrutinize their every move. Plus they're going to need to focus their resources on survival right now.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not sure if survival is what they are trying to do, more like mitigating the damage and hoping there is something left afterwards.

      • Not sure if survival is what they are trying to do, more like mitigating the damage and hoping there is something left afterwards.

        Which is a fancy way of saying survival, in this context.

        Too, they're going to have a hard time avoiding criminal charges if the allegations have merit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 16, 2013 @08:45AM (#43190303)

    Given what's happened so far, this will probably make the judge MORE angry than he already is, and he will still expect the lawyers in question to show up on April 2nd and explain their actions so far even if they don't have a single other case pending in the country. Also, if they're madly filling requests for dismissals in other jurisdictions, it's going to be awfully difficult to offer the usual suite of lame excuses for not complying with the order (i.e. if you had the time to file these other requests for dismissal, then you certainly had the time to respond to a judge's order).

    I think the only options left for these guys are either to rat each other out first and hope for leniency (standard prisoner's dilemma), flee the country, or pick a new career. And some of those aren't mutually-exclusive options.

    • From what I've read, they are trying to minimize the possible damage. The biggest change that these dismissals make is from an ONGOING fraud on the court, to a PAST defraud on the court. Using that rationality, however, you can then conclude that the only reason to drop the case(s) is that the allegations are true. If they were false, they'd simply fight the accusation and allow the other cases to proceed (probably continued pending outcome of the allegations).

      I do note however that most (not all) the relevant cases were dropped without prejudice, meaning that if they survive, they plan on re-filing the cases. I seriously wonder if the top people involved are busy buying up land in a non-extradition country. The judge might include flight risk in his next order, and get their passports revoked.

    • by c (8461)

      Given what's happened so far, this will probably make the judge MORE angry than he already is

      At this point, they may be stuck with the choice between getting one judge more pissed at them or getting more judges pissed at them. Taking their lumps from one pissed of judge in one courtroom in one jurisdiction is probably one of the smarter decisions they've made so far.

    • by PRMan (959735) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @04:19PM (#43192975)
      It seems like Duffy is dropping all the cases with or without their approval. I think the prisoner's dilemma has already begun.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Making a fake company using the identity of others are pretty damn illegal, if I remember correct.

    Goodbye Prenda, you'll never be missed. Except for a few laughs on here at your expense, that is.

  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @09:26AM (#43190509) Homepage Journal

    Let's have some names. And addresses and phone numbers. Then maybe some elite Anonymous operators can obtain their credit card numbers and order a bunch of goatse porn and have it delivered to their homes.

  • All four dismissals occurred in the Northern District of Illinois.' I don't see how Prenda thinks this is going to make one lick of difference to an already angry Judge."

    Prenda believes the California judge does not have the power to compel out-of-state Prenda "employees" to appear. I would bet a dollar that one of the Prenda guilty parties lives either in Illinois, or the 7th Circuit federal jurisdiction. If they don't dismiss cases in jurisdictions where they live, and things unfold as they have in California, they could face arrest.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Lawyers often press to the edge of the law, occasionally skirting the edges (with admonishments by judges), getting away with whatever they can. Prenda law didn't skirt the edges of the law, they clearly operated as trolls outside the law. They used the threat of civil litigation in a blackmail scheme against thousands of people. Sadly they are not alone. They made a judge angry for doing what they did, then further annoyed the judge by trying to 'phone it in' by teleconferencing and videoconferencing w

  • Corporations are "people" now, right? This one should get the death penalty.

    No gas chamber, though. Hang from the neck until dead.

  • by Required Snark (1702878) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @01:38AM (#43195427)
    The federal judge hearing the case is a real piece of work. He is a former US Marine and LAPD police officer. He was appointed to the bench by first by Schwarzenegger and then by George W. Bush.

    Here is a site where people can anonymously comment on their experiences in his court room. He gets a score of 2.5 out of 10. He has a few high ratings, and lots of one and two ratings: http://www.therobingroom.com/Judge.aspx?ID=1555 [therobingroom.com]

    This is a rather articulate comment from the site:

    Judge Wright, a jurist largely devoid of judicial, or "people" skills, is an equal opportunity abuser. Routinely arrogant and abrasive, he pontificates down at the lawyers unfortunate enough to have to appear before him. He rules with an iron fist, and a tin-foil mind. He has demonstrated beyond doubt that that he has a short fuse, a hair-trigger, and poor marksmanship (because he rarely manages to hit the right target) with his slings and arrows. What he does hit, however, he hits hard and hits mercilessly! He appears to delight in making lawyers come in for motion "hearings," which are nothing more than a 45 second diatribe by a judge who clearly has not read the papers or done his homework. If Charles Dickens were still alive and writing today, he would be hard-pressed not to create a judge-character based upon this bench-warmer. I also have no doubt that his % of cases reaching trial is very low, caused by parties who have either precipitously been thrown out of Court during motion practice, or by parties settling in a last-ditch effort to avoid the caprice, uncertainties, vagaries, and whims which a trial with Otis presiding portends. There should be a flashing red neon sign above his Courtroom door that warns lawyers, in Dantean terms: "All hope abandon ye who enter here."

    I can't imagine a more appropriate court for Prenda Law. It will be a collision between out of control bottom of the barrel scum sucking lawyers and a judge who's legal background is inadequate and has a tendency to use the bench to crush anyone who appears before him. It's literally karma in action, with Biblical style thunderclaps and lightning. What could possibly go wrong?

    • TL:DR My conclusion is there are some rather noisy and incompetent lawyers that want this guy axed.

      After reading through the litany of whinging over this judge, at http://www.therobingroom.com/Judge.aspx?ID=1555 [therobingroom.com]
      and the few positive ratings, I am wondering if the allegations are really sour grapes from attorneys who
      got their bullshit handed back to them on a silver platter. This guy is clearly a hardass. However I saw no clear evidence
      that the negative comments were anything but inarticulate nerd-rage. T

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