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Crime Piracy The Courts United States

Judge Grants Defendant's Motion To Explore Alleged Fraud By Prenda Law 81

An anonymous reader writes "Prenda Law — one of the most notorious copyright trolls — has sued hundreds of thousands of John Doe defendants, often receiving settlements of thousands of dollars from each. Prenda Law principal John Steele has reportedly made a few million dollars suing BitTorrent file-sharers. Prenda Law has been accused in federal court of creating sham offshore corporations using the identity of his gardener. In other words, it is alleged that the law firm and their client are the same entity, and that Prenda law has committed identity theft and fraud. Now, a judge in California has granted a John Doe defendant's motion to further explore the connection between the offshore entity and the law firm."
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Judge Grants Defendant's Motion To Explore Alleged Fraud By Prenda Law

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  • Capitalism. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 29, 2012 @10:34AM (#42419373)

    If you promote the quality of selfishness, you'll end up with a world of selfish people.

    Time to promote long-term altruism, the natural and uniquely human quality, and the reason we're not still living in caves.

  • Re:Capitalism. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @11:34AM (#42419615)

    People are selfish by nature. Capitalism exploits that fact, and makes the "Selfish thing to do" something that's good for the public as a whole. But Capitalism doesn't work without transparency. Secrets allow you to game the system. If you look at any particular situation, like this one for example, and you see lots of secrecy, you can be sure someones trying to cheat.

  • Re:Here's a primer (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 29, 2012 @12:39PM (#42420019) no s

    You left off Steele using a robodialer to harass does, sending scary letters, and generally making people miserable.
    A post here in previous coverage lead to this story on FCT.

    The methods are evil, but there is a growing community of Does and Former Does helping people fight off the fear... than and mocking Steele at every turn.
    On the upside he's been real quiet as of late... he might be worried.

    I remain...

  • Re:Capitalism. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Stiletto ( 12066 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @02:18PM (#42420845)

    I dislike the whole mechanism of the stock market as much as the next guy; but theoretically, at least, it DOES serve a social purpose: The shareholder invests in a company, giving it the capital to expand its business. This is presumably good for the economy, and society as a whole.

    Fine, but only the initial sale of stock to the very first investors actually delivers capital to the company (company itself is selling to the investors). No trade from investor to investor results in more capital to the company--at that point it's just gambling, and the existence of the shares no longer serves any social purpose.

    Require an investor to purchase shares directly from the company and hold them forever, and you'd have a different stock market.

  • Re:Capitalism. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ortholattice ( 175065 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @02:26PM (#42420903)

    Re: Flash crashes These only effect people who ARE algorithmic trading. The prices bounce back to their real market valuation again and again...

    Unless you happen to have an open stop-loss order. Then you can be badly burned, as I have been personally.

    In another flash crash, I made a lot of money due to a very low open bid, but then the SEC decided to nullify all trades during that particular flash crash. You can't win.

  • Re:Here's a primer (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Missing.Matter ( 1845576 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @02:35PM (#42420963)
    That's a pretty good summary. I'd like to add the following. Prenda law is now defunct, and according to the state of Illanois not in good standing with the state. The name was changed to the Anti Piracy Law Group shortly after the allegations about Allen Cooper came out. John Steele purports to have nothing to do with Prenda Law, which was formerly Steele Hansmeier. The name was changed after it was sold to Brett Gibbs, who is now supposedly a principal of Prenda. However, lawyers who have tried getting in touch with Gibbs and Prenda law are invariably directed to John Steele. The doormen at Prenda's address have never heard of a Brett Gibbs, but know of John Steele. And recently, PDF documents signed by Brett Gibbs contain metadata that indicates the document was created on a computer registered dot John Steele's ex wife.

    So that's John Steele. Then there's this whole deal with Guava cases. The summary you provided was a tactic that worked well until judges started getting wise to the tactics. Now judges are mitigating the extent that Prenda can extort people by providing protections to defendants, such as the ability to remain anonymous while fighting subpoenas on their identifying information. Most recently one offshore client, AF Holdings, was required to post a $40,000 bond to proceed with a case. This severely hampers their ability to operate.

    Now they are using a fake company named Guava LLC to bring hacking and conspiracy charges to state courts, instead of copyright infringement charges to federal courts where courts are wisening up. Problem is the hacking charges are all seeking relief as if they were copyright claims, using rights granted specifically by the copyright act. They have sued thousands of pele using this dirty trick.

    So that's where we are now. With this latest ruling, hopefully good lawyers will start digging into Steele's history and uncover misdeeds grave enough to send him to prison and strip him of all his ill-gotten gains.

The relative importance of files depends on their cost in terms of the human effort needed to regenerate them. -- T.A. Dolotta