Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Piracy The Courts

Comcast Allegedly Confirms That Prenda Planted Porn Torrents 175

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the copyright-lawyer-doesn't-know-copyright dept.
lightbox32 writes "Porn-trolling operation Prenda Law sued thousands for illegally downloading porn files over BitTorrent. Now, a new document from Comcast appears to confirm suspicions that it was actually Prenda mastermind John Steele who uploaded those files. The allegations about uploading porn to The Pirate Bay to create a 'honeypot' to lure downloaders first became public in June, when an expert report filed by Delvan Neville was filed in a Florida case. The allegations gained steam when The Pirate Bay dug through its own backup tapes to find more evidence linking John Steele to an account called sharkmp4." The problem for Prenda being that initiating the torrent would give anyone who grabbed it an implied license.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Comcast Allegedly Confirms That Prenda Planted Porn Torrents

Comments Filter:
  • Re:Next step (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @04:00AM (#44615599)

    The only thing that would make this any juicier now is if Prenda itself didn't have the rights to distribute that porn.

    Well, they forged copyright assignments with an "Alan Cooper" signature, they negotiated some licenses just for going after copyright violations but not distributing content, and they approached several copyright holders only after the violations started.

    So there's all the juice you want in there.

  • by Camael (1048726) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @04:59AM (#44615841)

    You can find a copy of the actual Comcast letter here [torrentfreak.com].

    For background :-

    In June, Prenda and its boss John Steele were accused of running a “honeypot” based on an expert report authored by Delvan Neville, whose company specializes in monitoring BitTorrent users.

    The report hinted that the law firm was seeding the very files they claimed to protect, and found that many of the torrents detailed in Prenda lawsuits originate from a user on The Pirate Bay called ‘Sharkmp4.

    In an effort to expose the alleged honeypot, The Pirate Bay then jumped in and revealed the IP-addresses that ‘Sharkmp4used to upload the torrent files.

    One of the subpoenas covered the Comcast IP-address 75.72.88.156 used by “Sharkmp4,” as can be seen at the bottom of the list of Pirate Bay IPs shown above.

    After a few weeks Comcast returned the subscriber details that matched the IP-address at the time the files were uploaded. As can be seen from their response detailed below, this IP is indeed the Comcast account of Steele Hansmeier PLLC, which is directly connected to Prenda Law.

    It's ironic that the method copyright trolls like to abuse, namely linking IP addresses to alleged infringers is now being used against them in this case.

    As for your "good luck" comment, the same point was raised in the Viacom International Inc. v. YouTube, Inc. [wikipedia.org] lawsuit. Specifically, Google claimed [blogspot.com] that:-

    For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence there. It hired no fewer than 18 different marketing agencies to upload its content to the site. It deliberately "roughed up" the videos to make them look stolen or leaked. It opened YouTube accounts using phony email addresses. It even sent employees to Kinko's to upload clips from computers that couldn't be traced to Viacom. And in an effort to promote its own shows, as a matter of company policy Viacom routinely left up clips from shows that had been uploaded to YouTube by ordinary users. Executives as high up as the president of Comedy Central and the head of MTV Networks felt "very strongly" that clips from shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report should remain on YouTube.

    Viacom's efforts to disguise its promotional use of YouTube worked so well that even its own employees could not keep track of everything it was posting or leaving up on the site. As a result, on countless occasions Viacom demanded the removal of clips that it had uploaded to YouTube, only to return later to sheepishly ask for their reinstatement. In fact, some of the very clips that Viacom is suing us over were actually uploaded by Viacom itself.

    Given Viacom’s own actions, there is no way YouTube could ever have known which Viacom content was and was not authorized to be on the site.

    Although summary judgment was granted to Google on other grounds, I'd say this argument has at least a fair chance of success.

     

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @05:26AM (#44615907)

    Actually, the supreme court just ruled otherwise for someone who was doing this with textbooks. Google can give you more details, but basically Person A bought textbooks in mass quantities from out of country, imported them in, and then proceeded to sell at a "discount" to the ones available here for a nice profit.

  • by Camael (1048726) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @06:30AM (#44616101)

    I'm not sure the Viacom situation applies. ...I think the difference is the people sharing the files never had any expectation that the uploaded Prenda content was legit, so they weren't in the same dilemma as Google.

    Technically I have to agree with you that the Viacom case doesn't set any precedent insofar as issues of licence/entrapment are concerned. Google argued for (and successfully obtained) a ruling that it qualified under the safe harbour provisions, so the issue of whether or not Viacom had licensed their content impliedly by uploading it themselves or through their representatives never came into question.

    As for the reasonable expectation point, I'm not sure that is even a requirement in law at all, and can lead to absurdities if it is. For example, when a copyright owner puts up a file on torrent knowing it will be downloaded, if the downloading is deemed a civil cause of action or a criminal offence, aren't they then abetting the same? When a copyright owner puts up a file on torrent knowing it will be downloaded, isn't that an offer to the world at large to download the file? Or maybe to draw a simpler analogy, if you offer me something and I take it, can you then turn around and accuse me of theft? Things may not be as clear cut as it seems at first glance.

  • Re: no (Score:3, Informative)

    by ted leaf (2960563) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @07:02AM (#44616187)
    here in the uk you can be prosecuted for buying legit gear if you believe it to be stolen. also for buying what you believe are drugs even if its sugar or flour.

PLUG IT IN!!!

Working...