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Electronic Frontier Foundation

EFF Jumps In To Defend Bloggers Being Sued By Prenda 87

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation has entered the fray to defend the bloggers sued by Prenda Law Firm. Prenda, oblivious to such well known legal niceties as the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the affirmative defense of truth, the difference between a defamatory statement of fact and the expression of a negative opinion, and the First Amendment, has immediately — and illegally — sought to subpoena information leading to the identities of the bloggers. I would not be surprised to see these "lawyers" get into even more hot water than they're already in. And I take my hat off to the EFF for stepping in here."
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EFF Jumps In To Defend Bloggers Being Sued By Prenda

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 11, 2013 @08:17PM (#43144391)

    EFF only helps with the most high-profile cases. They aren't around to help with more low-profile, but just as scary attempts to stifle free speech such as the Scuba Board [glassbox-design.com] lawsuit. As I recall, about a decade ago, when approached to help with a similar libel lawsuit brought on by one John Novak against people critical with his company, the EFF said they don't help with "routine libel cases".


    Much more helpful is the lawyer at Pope Hat [popehat.com], who helps bloggers and other being attached with frivolous libel suits, whether the suits are high-profile or low-profile.

  • In other news.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 11, 2013 @08:31PM (#43144511)

    The hearing scheduled for today to decide the fate of Copyright Troll Brett Gibbs has concluded, and it was apparently very bad for Prenda et al.

    Adam Steinbaugh was in attendance and has a quick run through on his twitter account [twitter.com]. Wen White was also there and is currently writing a detailed recap to be posted on popehat.com later tonight.

    While I am amazed and pleased at the attention this saga has been getting, I think it's important to remember that while the wide audience is merely entertained or amused by these proceedings, for the innocents like me who have had their lives turned upside down by Prenda this is more than simple entertainment-- it's justice.

  • by pswPhD ( 1528411 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @08:42PM (#43144611) Homepage

    Prenda have much bigger things to worry about than the EFF. They have really annoyed a federal judge, and may be guilty of perjury, contempt of court, fraud on the court and identity theft. Probably a couple of other offences as well.

    Prenda isn't finished yet, but given the recent hearing [techdirt.com] they probably won't be around much longer

  • by SternisheFan ( 2529412 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @08:42PM (#43144613)

    > Orly Taitz

    You can't make this shit up.

    Well, this will definitely provide considerable ongoing entertainment. I feel sorry for the judge(s) though.

    I get what you mean, hoo boy! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orly_Taitz [wikipedia.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 11, 2013 @08:58PM (#43144713)

    They're having a bad day in court [arstechnica.com] while the judge questions them as to why a witness they offered to testify about the company apparently knows absolutely nothing about who owns it or calls the shots. When two people have accused the firm of identity theft (both of whom actually managed to show up in the courtroom, unlike the Prenda folks, who complained it was too hard), things are NOT looking good for them.

    Also they may have failed to notify someone of a stay in discovery. At this point, I can only hope that the judge elects to use some Federal Marshals to put a stop to their shenanigans. Right now, my First-Amendment-protected opinion is that they resemble Orly Taitz in all the wrong ways. But they're free to sue me for saying that if they want to provide me with a free front row seat to their Waterloo.

  • by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @09:11PM (#43144789)

    Because the false claims section is toothless crap [cornell.edu] (c-3-A-v and vi). The only bit that is enforced by penalty of perjury is the declaration that the declarant represents who they say they do. The claim that the material is infringing isn't covered by perjury at all, just a "good faith belief".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 11, 2013 @10:46PM (#43145387)

    It appears that you can make this shit up, because I can find no evidence to suggest that Prenda Law has any connection whatsoever with Orly Taitz.

  • by micheas ( 231635 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @10:51PM (#43145417) Homepage Journal

    Because the false claims section is toothless crap [cornell.edu] (c-3-A-v and vi). The only bit that is enforced by penalty of perjury is the declaration that the declarant represents who they say they do. The claim that the material is infringing isn't covered by perjury at all, just a "good faith belief".

    However it appears that Prenda Law was not representing who they said they were representing. So this could be one of those rare times that the false claims section comes into play.

    One thing that is not clear from the reports is whether or not the head of litigation at Morrison Foerster's LA office made a personal appearance on behalf of Verizon or not (He is listed as one of Verizon's attorney's on the declaration submitted by Verizon).

  • by Chryana ( 708485 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @11:41PM (#43145679)

    Moreover, they're late to the party. There's been stories running at Arstechnica for months on how people associated with Prenda have been making asses of themselves in court, and downplaying their ties to the firm (By the way, if you have ten minutes to spare and enjoy reading these lawyer stories, you could do worst than to read this one [arstechnica.com].). Funny how nobody appears to ever have been in Prenda's payroll, doing charity work for them or something. So yes, I'm not sure how much help these bloggers really need from the EFF as Prenda will probably have ran itself into the ground on its own pretty soon anyways.

  • by able1234au ( 995975 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @02:52AM (#43146417)

    They are not representing the copyright holder but instead they told the copyright holders to let them go fishing for offenders and collect fees for not prosecuting. This is a form of racketeering. This is what the bloggers are complaining about and what pendant is unhappy about. Prenda won't reveal the real agreement with the copyright holder which appears to be them taking a big cut.

  • by girlinatrainingbra ( 2738457 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @03:14AM (#43146503)
    It's so confusing that you can't even tell the players apart, even with a scorecard.
    Here's an interesting tidbit about the trial that shows how much of a clusterfuck this all is: one set of lawyers couldn't even figure out if they themselves belonged on the plaintiff's side or the defendant's side for picking their seating/table at the trial (bride's side?, groom's side?, wtf?):
    The strange hearing produced such a mix-up of roles that even the lawyers had lawyers -- and people didn't know where to sit. Prenda's erstwhile attorney Brett Gibbs cut ties with Prenda Law after the firm found itself in a messy bind regarding the practices it used to serve lawsuits to hundreds of Does suspected of illegally downloading porn; he hired his own attorneys to represent him at the hearing. "I'm not sure what side we're supposed to be on," said one of them as he tried to decide whether he belonged at the defense or plaintiff table.

    --- from the 3rd paragraph of arstechnica article [arstechnica.com] from March 12th, 2013.

  • by dkf ( 304284 ) <donal.k.fellows@manchester.ac.uk> on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @05:21AM (#43146937) Homepage

    So they'll be fined 50% of profits and have to sign something saying they'll obey the law next time like all the other white collar fraud cases? "Justice", right.

    You missed the "really annoyed a federal judge" part. Pissing off the judge with your shenanigans in the court room is a good way to ensure you get absolutely zip clemency in sentencing other than the minimum required by law (and, in this case, federal court procedure). If convicted, expect Prenda to get something rather stricter than a slap on the wrist.

    The best part? They're representing themselves. They've got fools for clients and nitwits for lawyers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @05:32AM (#43146973)

    IAALSAAAC (I am a law student and an anonymous coward) and civil case law sets precedents just as criminal case law does. As you might imagine, civil case law precedent generally only effects civil cases, though that is not necessarily the case and depends on the nature of the precedent set.

  • by RazorSharp ( 1418697 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @01:07PM (#43150417)

    You and the people who modded you up have no idea what this story is about. Try reading it next time.

    This isn't about copyright holders suing people for infringement. This is about lawyers partaking in fraud and/or extortion by representing fictitious copyright holders.

    It's a scam. One could argue that the big media copyright holders are also engaged in a scam, but their scam is (perhaps unfortunately) legal. What these lawyers are doing isn't legal -- they create shell companies and to act as clients they can sue on behalf of to scare people into coughing up money.

    What big media copyright holders do is legal, however unfortunate that may be. This isn't about the validity of our copyright system, this is about a criminal organization that has just been caught red-handed. The copyright absolutists have as much reason to detest these guys as the anti-copyrightists. These guys are making judges re-examine the process and how easy it is to manipulate, which in the long run will be very bad for the copyright absolutists you complain about.

    You would have every reason to be optimistic if you read the fucking story!

The best defense against logic is ignorance.