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Prenda May Now Face Criminal Investigations
After Judge Sees Through, Then Blasts, Copyright Troll
by Karl Bode 04:35PM Tuesday May 07 2013 Tipped by tmpchaos See Profile
Things are going from bad to worse for copyright troll Prenda Law, who tried to make a revenue stream out of threatening copyrighted porn downloaders to net cash settlements. The firm ran afoul of U.S. District Judge Otis Wright last month, after he saw through some of their sleazier legal maneuvering. Accusations against the firm have ranged from the creation of numerous shell companies to full-blown identity theft.

After a hearing no show and some subsequent posturing by Prenda, Wright has now ordered the folks behind the copyright troll curtain to pay $80,000 in court fees, and has nudged State Bars, the IRS, and Federal law enforcement to take a closer look at their business activities, which could result in criminal charges for the outfit. The 11 page order (pdf) is highly entertaining if you enjoy Star Trek and seeing bullies kicked around a little bit:
quote:
They've discovered the nexus of antiquated copyright laws, paralyzing social stigma, and unaffordable defense costs. And they exploit this anomaly by accusing individuals of illegally downloading a single pornographic video. Then they offer to settle—for a sum calculated to be just below the cost of a bare-bones defense. For these individuals, resistance is futile; most reluctantly pay rather than have their names associated with illegally downloading porn. So now, copyright laws originally designed to compensate starving artists allow, starving attorneys in this electronic-media era to plunder the citizenry.
Wright strongly suggests that Prenda has run afoul of racketeering laws, so while the check hasn't quite yet come due for Prenda, that day appears to be getting closer. Ken White over at Popehat has done the best job on the Internet tracking the Prenda saga, and his take on the ruling is a must read.

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Kamus

join:2011-01-27
El Paso, TX

80,000 should be chump change for them...

Supposedly their profits are in the millions. So i hope that the criminal investigation results in more damage than that.
8744675

join:2000-10-10
Decatur, GA

Re: 80,000 should be chump change for them...

Man, the judge calls them outright liars and many other unsavory names. Plus he awarded the lawyers to pay the defendants double the legal fees they spend to defend themselves, and is notifying every court in the US where they have pending suits.

That judge is pissed!
Chubbysumo

join:2009-12-01
Superior, WI
Reviews:
·Charter

Re: 80,000 should be chump change for them...

said by 8744675:

Man, the judge calls them outright liars and many other unsavory names. Plus he awarded the lawyers to pay the defendants double the legal fees they spend to defend themselves, and is notifying every court in the US where they have pending suits.

That judge is pissed!

They will either drop off the face of the earth, and attempt to disappear from media exposure, or they will become the first example of a RICO case that was run by lawyers and exploited the broken copywrong system to make a profit. Either way, any and all money they made, or have, can be considered suspect and will be taken.

Camelot One
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-21
Greenwood, IN
kudos:1
It isn't so much the actual dollar amount, it is the precedent the judge has set. This ruling is going to make the extortion considerably harder to pull off going forward.

But yes, some criminal charges against these assholes would be VERY nice to see. Or at least some IRS foreclosures on their mansions and Bentleys.
CXM_Splicer
Looking at the bigger picture
Premium
join:2011-08-11
NYC
kudos:1

1 recommendation

And the **AA's are different how?

quote:
They've discovered the nexus of antiquated copyright laws, paralyzing social stigma, and unaffordable defense costs. And they exploit this anomaly by accusing individuals of illegally downloading a single pornographic video. Then they offer to settle—for a sum calculated to be just below the cost of a bare-bones defense. For these individuals, resistance is futile; most reluctantly pay rather than have their names associated with illegally downloading porn. So now, copyright laws originally designed to compensate starving artists allow, starving attorneys in this electronic-media era to plunder the citizenry.

Other than the social stigma, how is this any different than what the RIAA/MPAA do?
Kamus

join:2011-01-27
El Paso, TX

Re: And the **AA's are different how?

said by CXM_Splicer:

Other than the social stigma, how is this any different than what the RIAA/MPAA do?

It's not different at all. The only difference i see is that the RIAA has actually gotten their way so far.

elios

join:2005-11-15
Springfield, MO

1 recommendation

Re: And the **AA's are different how?

best part is a fed Judge used the word RICO in the order that made me smile

jenni392

@speakeasy.net
If you read the court document the judge says:

quote:
Plaintiffs can only show that someone, using an IP address belonging to the subscriber, was seen online in a torrent swarm. But Plaintiffs did not conduct a sufficient investigation to determine whether that person actually downloaded enough data (or even anything at all) to produce a viewable video. Further, Plaintiffs cannot conclude whether that person spoofed the IP address, is the subscriber of that IP address, or is someone else using that subscriber's Internet access. Without better technology, prosecuting illegal BitTorrent activity requires substantial effort in order to make a case. It is simply not economically viable to properly prosecute the illegal download of a single copyrighted video.
CXM_Splicer
Looking at the bigger picture
Premium
join:2011-08-11
NYC
kudos:1

Re: And the **AA's are different how?

The bulk of that still applies to the **AAs. In fact, if you read through the court documents of an MPAA v. Does case, the only difference is that the MPAA does in fact download a copy of the movie (and they do try to prosecute for a single movie). They do verify that the named file is actually their copyrighted material.

I am very pleased to read the judge's comments are regarding the IP address. It looks like they are finally starting to understand how the Internet works! At least, this judge does.
kevinds

join:2003-05-01
Calgary, AB
kudos:2

80,000

"This punitive portion is calculated to be just below the cost of an effective appeal."
--
Yes, I am not employed and looking for IT work. Have passport, will travel.
Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1

To bad our lawmakers are so corrupt.

This would be a good time for a senate or congressional investigation of the MPAA and RIAA, related to the amount they are allowed to penalize broadband subscribers on the flimsiest evidence that they downloaded copyrighted material. The DMCA and related penalties is the enabler for Prenda Law and other copyright trolls to shake down broadband customers whether guilty or innocent of illegal downloading of copyrighted material. Our Fascist lawmakers accept MPAA and RIAA Payola to inact laws that are clearly overreaching. The Fascist Supremes, by refusing to rule on the constitutionality of the Jammie Thomas-Rasset case gave the nod to the copyright parasites and trolls like Prenda.