A Brief Prenda Interlude: In Which I Am Accused Of Causing Embarrassment

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211 Responses

  1. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Paul Duffy, Charles Carreon, I love how so many popcorn-worthy lawyers can't seem to figure out PDF metadata.

    After all (quoting Matt Blaze): The Metadata is the Message

  2. "This may lead to anger."

    I'm going home now. My day is done. Bye.

  3. JP says:

    Using metadata to prove a point merely PROVES you are just a NSA shill!

  4. Michael S. says:

    'FuckThisImOuttaHere.PDF'

    This made me smile.

  5. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Daniel G. Ruggiero pulls a Ray Patterson… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AAP7zORyWA

  6. Cat says:

    Mr. Ruggiero is to be commended for, upon learning of the nature of whom he represented and what he himself may be exposed to with Mr. Gibbs as an example, attempting to disentangle himself from the web of excrement that Prenda has attempted to wrap around the legal process.
    Kudos, sir. Although perhaps you should screen your clients in the future a bit to avoid having to take such measures.

    Warp Factor "Fuck this I'm outta here", Mr. Data. Engage!

  7. Chris says:

    O Mr. Nazaire. To the extent these paragraphs refer to my post, you are correct that I did not to be spiteful,

    Did you accidentally a word out of this sentence?

  8. I was Anonymous says:

    Anger leads to hate.
    Hate leads to the Dark Side.

    You see, Ken, Mr. Nazaire is simply trying to keep you from becoming Darth Ken!!! And we all know what happens after you become a Sith Lord — you start raising … (gasp) PONIES!!!!

  9. Delvan Neville says:

    Poor Jacques, he hasn't tried to jump ship still, even though he doesn't have his fancy @wefightpiracy.com email address anymore.

    Oh, right, because he was using the blgibbs@wefightpiracy.com email address when he did. Jacques, you might consider removing that puppet-finger socket from your rear entrance before you're personally shackled with those sanctions.

  10. M. Alan Thomas II says:

    The metadata on that PDF says it was written by Dan Booth of Booth Sweet.

  11. I was Anonymous says:

    OwMyFeeFees.pdf was written by Paul Duffy.

    Metadata is such a wonderful thing, isn't it?

  12. Bryn says:

    Oho! You may protest. That letter was sent by Paul Duffy! I work for AF Holdings, controlled by Mark Lutz, laboring for the benefit of a trust that benefits children yet ungotten and unborn!

    …who will have cause to curse the Dauphin's Prenda's scorn!

    Thank you for the Prenda update!

  13. jimmythefly says:

    LOL. "attention on the internet" is my new favorite red flag, signalling imminent hurt feelings in the butt-hurt degree.

  14. LauraW says:

    I hadn't seen Mr. Ruggiero's motion before. Holy fuck! Was it successful?

  15. I got a whole exhibit to myself (O) but no comments :-(

    Didn't like my observations of the judge from the hearing.

  16. Good for Daniel Ruggiero, but it would have been nice if he had proofread his motion a bit better before filing it. It's full of missing words, sentence fragments, etc. Surely he was aware that a lot of people were going to be reading it? ;-)

  17. Jim Tyre says:

    Is checking metadata without permission a CFAA violation?

    (Kidding. sort of.)

  18. Aaron W says:

    If the Prenda folks have trouble paying back all the sanctions they're about to face, might I suggest a pay-per-view wrestling match with Charles Carreon*?

    If Ken White and Matthew Inman can referee, I'll pay good money to watch.

    *And a grizzly bear in heat.

  19. Jon says:

    @Jonathan Kamens
    After finding out what the clients really were, who has time to proofread?! He could not file that motion fast enough!

  20. Tarrou says:

    For the Prenda principals, I would hope resignation and suicide would be considered options. Oh, for the days when social opprobrium was powerful enough to solve problems the law could not!

  21. Christenson says:

    Wished the 100 or so e-mails that were supposed to be authenticated had been attached to the filing so we could check up on them….

    Now, as for Mr Ruggiero, how DID he graduate from law school and end up with so little clue as to what his client was up to? Or do we think the generally poor employment prospects of recent law school graduates has nothing to do with this whole trolling thing?

    And yes, I suppose the "Prenda law open thread" (we are up to ~1500 non-spam comments since the last bit of writing back in may) *IS* getting a bit tedious.

    Prediction: ruggiero escapes sanctions, Nazaire does not, even if he apes Ruggiero tomorrow. Popcorn, please!

  22. Merl says:

    Is their anything new with the UST David Bell scam?

  23. Matthew Cline says:

    May I assume that's the same Paul Duffy who — according to metadata — drafted your most recent motion for a protective order complaining about embarrassment?

    Heh.

  24. wgering says:

    Not as good as "ThisIsSparta.pdf"

  25. Holy shit, that motion to withdraw as counsel is hilarious. The near-immediate reference to Judge Wright's order is like the foreshadowing in a bad action movie.

    "Why are the bad guys guys loading all that plastic explosive into the dump trucks in their own base?"

    Then… the action begins.

  26. That Anonymous Coward says:

    Nazaire – SUCK IT. Its all joy and fun mannered joshing on the interwebs until one considers the asshat who actually wrote that document is suing for defamation over similar posts made online. Your the best lawyer money could buy on Craigslist and your an insult to a profession with a shitty rep to begin with.

    Ruggiero – You escaped that shady mortgage thingy where people got charged and then climbed into bed with Pretenda. You MIGHT want to consider that your ability to judge people is flawed. Didn't someone with a trendy avatar and scary name warn you about this as he was posting all of the details about you online?

  27. onehsancare says:

    I love how he gives the court the opportunity to read all of your brilliant swipes at his nonsensical drivel by attaching the comments from the Popehat reports as exhibits!

  28. Jim Tyre says:

    Judge denies motion to dismiss Prenda Law’s libel suit; Sets briefing schedule on remand request
    August 14, 2013 5:54 PM
    By BETHANY KRAJELIS

    CHICAGO — A federal judge today allowed briefing to move forward on Prenda Law’s renewed motion to remand its libel suit back to St. Clair County.

    U.S. District Judge John Darrah gave the defendants – Minnesota attorney Paul Godfread and his client, Alan Cooper — until Aug. 21 to submit a response, set an Aug. 28 deadline for Prenda Law to file its reply and scheduled an Oct. 30 status hearing in the case.

    Also at today’s hearing, Darrah denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the suit and granted Prenda Law attorney Paul Duffy’s motion to dismiss the defendants’ counterclaim.

    But, the whole briefing schedule Darrah set over the remand request may turn out to be moot as Prenda Law filed a motion to withdraw its renewed request just hours after today’s hearing.

    [....]

    Read the whole article for the explanation. http://madisonrecord.com/news/258220-judge-denies-motion-to-dismiss-prenda-laws-libel-suit-sets-briefing-schedule-on-remand-request

  29. Clownius says:

    Thats just classic. Judge they are picking on me and we are not related to Prenda. Oops Duffy wrote it.

    As for the smart one in the room. Those are some mighty big and fast moving buses coming down the road. I admire his decision to throw the Prenda guys under them rather than giving them the chance to do it to him.

  30. Palimpsest says:

    IANAL but does attaching the insights of Popehat and other bloggers as exhibits allow the judge to evaluate comments such as metadata from the blogs and use the results in his judgement?

  31. Castaigne says:

    That first excerpt "#'s 10 & 11" just…boggles my mind. That's a real reasoning? OK, whatevs.
    Prediction: GA will be the first to allow gay marriage in the Deep South. I say that as a native son of the state still residing there.

    And this? While the writers listed in exhibits N-S have the right to post these articles, unfortunately, these articles and blogs have created an embarrassment, misleading characterizations and perhaps an unsafe environment for plaintiff’s counsel and third parties. Awwww, that's just special Poor Mr Naizaire.

    Temptation to stop by his office: rising.

  32. That Anonymous Coward says:

    @Palimpsest – I sense a Duffy endrun there. The posted comments without the context of the story they were about. If a Judge wanted to understand the topic one might assume he would read the original post to get an understanding, this will then be used to argue that the Judge is biased against them because he looked beyond what they wanted him to see.

    I'm not a blogger, I'm a shadowy operative of the terrorist organization EFF. I support their mission to destroy copyright and throw the world into chaos. Stop laughing, they've filed this information with the court.

    In truth, I am a Nym. I am a construct that exists solely to protect the 'real me' from people like Pretenda. I hate bullies, and I've been fighting trolls since before Steele started. They use the courts as weapons, I use words and information. They fear me, but not enough apparently. They thought suing to silence me would work… hows that working out for ya Pretenda?

  33. That Anonymous Coward says:

    @Castaigne – careful he got a mean email once. He was so scared by it, he informed the court but not law enforcement.

  34. SPQR says:

    Ruggiero's motion to withdraw is what we call a "noisy withdrawal". Well, that's not entirely true, that a noisy withdrawal with the additional of banging a tin cup on the fence posts as you run down the street …

  35. Jim Tyre says:

    @TAC

    I'm not a blogger, I'm a shadowy operative of the terrorist organization EFF.

    Liar, liar, pants on fire!

  36. That Anonymous Coward says:

    @Jim Tyre – But Pretenda said it, it must be true.
    Lets ask Alan Cooper, John Steele, and Mark Lutz all of whom have the same voice and speech patterns when talking to GoDaddy.
    Twitter is gooood

  37. Delvan Neville says:

    Not to mention that the supposedly unrelated IP addresses that shouldn't be subpoenaed… all came back as Prenda Law (why do they have a las vegas IP?) or Steele Hansmeier (this one is all over my declaration and even shows up in Pirate Bay's logs of sharkmp4). How exactly are they unrelated, Mr. Duffy Nazaire??

  38. R says:

    I'm a bit confused. When did Ruggiero withdraw? The header on the motion says 8/14/13 but the signature block on page 5 says "DATED: September 25, 2012". Can any of you lawyer folks fill me in?

  39. Delvan Neville says:

    It was filed on the 14th, he likely copied the signature block from another document and forgot to correct the date. He did the same thing with the original complaint: dated September 25, 2012 but filed on November 11, 2012.

  40. @R:

    Ruggiero has not yet successfully withdrawn (and frankly, I don't think the judge should let him, given that mess of a motion).

    The "September 25, 2012" is a typo. We suspect it is because he (or whoever wrote the thing) copy-and-pasted the signature block and forgot to change the date. The date corresponds to the beginning of the case, I think.

  41. Laugher says:

    Duffy has done very well for Nazaire up to this point. I can see why Nazaire is willing to file pleadings drafted by Duffy.

    Sarcasm aside, the combo of Duffy and Nazaire seems to be the equivalent of Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

  42. Ruggiero has not yet successfully withdrawn (and frankly, I don't think the judge should let him, given that mess of a motion).

    Can a judge really require a lawyer to continue representing a client when the lawyer has said outright that he believes the client is perpetrating a fraud upon the court? Isn't the lawyer bound by both is code of ethics and the law to refuse to represent such a client? If the judge does refuse to let the lawyer withdraw, then how exactly is the lawyer supposed to proceed, given that he is obligated both to provide his client with competent representation as per the client's wishes and not defraud the court?

  43. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Oh, there's been a flurry of new filings:

    http://ia601600.us.archive.org/7/items/gov.uscourts.gand.188990/gov.uscourts.gand.188990.docket.html

    Chintella filed his response already, (including noting the metadata again, BTW), the entire "conferring" emails, that the data collected from the IP subpoenas is insanely relevant, etc…

    And Nazaire filed his reply just as fast, (at least he got the metadata right this time), complaining that "I can't confer because anything confidential will end up on the Internet".

  44. Nicholas Weaver says:

    The other thing interesting: Chintella basically siezed upon Duffy/Nazaire "only defendant's IP address is relevant" to do a document dump of what GoDaddy already provided.

    On one hand, it does demonstrate that what defense seeks in discovery is relevant to the case. But at the same time, it really twists the knife by including technical support calls where "John Steele" and "Alan Cooper" and "Mark Lutz" all have the same voice, and all use John Steele's credit card…

  45. Cat says:

    "I can't confer because anything confidential will end up on the Internet".

    And every pleading, every piece of evidence, will also end up there. It's called Pacer. If you stopped acting like a douche, maybe things would go smoother and opposing counsel (or your own allies) wouldn't include your emails conferring as evidence of you being a douche?

  46. Lisa Simeone says:

    I confess I didn't read the whole thing because I'm not a lawyer and legalese makes my eyes glaze over. But I am an insufferable schoolmarm, and "different than" drives me crazy. It's "different from," people!

    Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

  47. mcinsand says:

    Ms. Simeone,

    Thank you for your post, and I hope that you start to post more than you have been. In fact, if you don't mind me troubling you, I just want to get a reality check on a report that I am currently reviewing. Please let me know if I am too far off base in cringing at sentences such as:

    "Using the most recent sample preparation method for investigation of , different sample series were evaluated. "

    …or…

    " was chosen as an accessible option for investigating because of its relative simplicity and immediate availability."

    Why not just say 'Method_a was simple and immediately available for sample investigations?'

    I'll have nightmares for weeks. Why do some writers feel the need to constantly go through the orifice to get to the elbow?

  48. Lisa Simeone says:

    mcinsand, totally agree. Love your elbow/orifice metaphor!

  49. mcinsand says:

    Ms. Simeone, Thank you for the sanity check. After going through a few more paragraphs of this report, I have a headache. I am wondering if I can nicely suggest that this guy take a writing class.

  50. mcinsand says:

    'Nice reputation you've got there. It'd be a shame if something happened to it. Sure, our methods are shaky, shady, and less than reliable, but, if the data came out in open, public court…'

    Basically, Nazaire is one of the frontmen of the Prenda protection racket. It's no wonder they appreciate the value of embarrassment, since they count on the threat of embarrassment as a tool to shakedown their victims. Having questionable, shady, sleazy, or incompetent behavior outed in public can easily destroy a person's reputation, whether it's through alleged porn downloading or by being caught as a part of such a protection racket.

    Fortunately, there are rules on what can be sealed, and Mr. Nazaire's desire to not be embarrassed by his own incompetence or lack of ethics is not adequate.

    For the record, I am writing this with spite. Intellectual property is a significant part of my job, and we do it above board, legitimately, and without a need to hide behind shell companies or shady lawyers. Not taking heart at the implosion of these 'people'… not taking pleasure in a belief that Nazaire will be forced into a different career… is tough when you work a bit harder at your job simply because you believe in doing it honestly.

  51. Christenson says:

    Mcinsand, those long sentences only get short after pruning. Lugubriousness serves other masters — social connection, a chance for someone hearing to think, or preventing schoolmarms from reaching the end, where the true properties of the writer or document are revealed.

  52. JT says:

    To summarize:

    1. Discovery requests are too broad. To be specific, they are too broad, overbroad, not narrow enough, and—look, judicial notice motions!

    2. Public records are public.

    3. Teh internet is mean.

    Writing strategy: if I repeat the same phrases in slightly different ways many times it will make my motion look substantial (see #1 above).

  53. Nigel Lew says:

    Torrent Freak just posted this gem. http://torrentfreak.com/copyright-troll-ran-pirate-bay-honeypot-comcast-confirms-130815/

    All nefariousness aside for a sec J.S. really is quite the dumbass.

  54. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Hey, stupid question. The Pirate Bay operators ARE actually public about it. So what's the rule about getting a declaration from a person in another country?

    That way, the Pirate Bay operators could validate the logs, and, uhh, uh-oh for Prenda…

  55. Francis says:

    Apologies for being a newbie about this, but how exactly does one extract the metadata from a filed pleading?

  56. JT says:

    Further writing strategy for #62:

    I don't even need to bother to write the ends of my

    Also, the press release certainly "garnished" the online discussion (mmmm . . . press release tasty!), but whether it "garnered" it or not is a different matter, and probably the issue that Duffy/Nazaire intended to raise.

  57. Rich Fiscus says:

    Since he's only demanding court records be sealed does that mean he's only claiming Second Degree Butthurt?

    These legal terms are so confusing.

  58. Roland Maguire says:

    The greatest irony is that (Not So Lucky) Jacques Nazaire will, no doubt, get stiffed for fees by the Prenda Possee.

  59. Jim Tyre says:

    Christenson and others,

    If one wishes to increase one's vocabulary, one should read court opinions by First Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Bruce Selya (most any will do). Words such as gaullimaufry, bruited, asseveration, sockdolager, perscrutation, algid and pellucid are the coins of Judge Selya's realm.

  60. Christenson says:

    How about apostolic sacerdotalism? My goal is a malashandirian schadenfreude!

    Is he the one who wrote about miss wiggly?

  61. Jon says:

    @Francis : Open the document in Acrobat Reader. Go to the "file" menu. Select "Properties".

  62. riesling says:

    http://torrentfreak.com/copyright-troll-ran-pirate-bay-honeypot-comcast-confirms-130815/

    TorrentFreak publishes "the first solid proof of [Steele Hansmeier aka Prenda] copyright trolls running a honeypot" – Comcast confirms that uploader Sharkmp4 used the IP address assigned to Steele Hansmeier

  63. Nicholas Weaver says:

    What's doubly embarrassing for Mr Nazaire on the metadata front is that not only is he called out on it in both public and in Chintella's response, but Chintella's response refers to a filing back in may where Prenda was already called out on the basis of metadata information leakages.

  64. whyamihere..! says:

    Wow! The Comcast confirmation is pretty damning, esp. on Steele and Paul H. Add to that GDs Audio.

    If IRS and DOJ were waiting for some kind of remote proof for their investigations to start, this could be it.

  65. rsteinmetz70112 says:

    complaining that "I can't confer because anything confidential will end up on the Internet".

    I think his only exhibit supporting that was a press release which describes what happened in a public hearing and makes some self serving statements about the defendant. and the lawyer.

    Nothing in it seemed remotely confidential.

  66. Ok, second TorrentFreak piece http://torrentfreak.com/prenda-spoofs-identity-wants-case-sealed-130815/. This covers #60, everything else in 61 thats not the honeypot, and 62. My boss (Yes, I work for TorrentFreak, as their researcher/community manager) decided to split the honeypot story out.

    Second, there's now a wiki I've set up, just as a temporary home (until we can get a more permanent one set up) at http://wiki.ktetch.co.uk
    That way, every document can be annotated, cross-referenced, etc.

    And @Castaigne, if you're going to Dragoncon this year, both me and Blair are speaking on a panel on this topic along with two other lawyers. http://eff.dragoncon.org/2013/08/10/p2p-litigation-and-prenda-law/

  67. Christenson says:

    @ktetch
    Your spell checker has bit you, in second TF article judge Write (sic) gets a mention! Malashandir!

  68. Eeck, I'll sort that out. And then thrash Ben. And then myself, for letting it slip past my error-checking (to be fair, I was focusing on facts, Ben's a big enough boy he should check names himself)

    And it's now fixed.

  69. Manatee says:

    As I've never seen a Sith with a sense of humor, I think Ken is safe.

    In fact, my theory is that the path to the dark side doesn't start with a lack of self-control, but with a lack of a sense of irony.

  70. earthclanbootstrap says:

    @ Manatee

    "Witness the power of this fully armed and operational Pony Farm!"

  71. George William Herbert says:

    Neigh!

  72. James says:

    If IRS and DOJ were waiting for some kind of remote proof for their investigations to start, this could be it.

    The IRS doesn't care about any of this. They are a taxing agency and they really don't care how you make your money (they even allow "business" deductions that were required to generate illegal income). However, they do want their vig and that is where our brain trust might have screwed up; always pay the IRS their vig or else you get your knees broken.

  73. I was Anonymous says:

    @earthclanbootstrap:

    Two things.

    1) I started the Sith joke (even if it was ignored for most of the thread)
    2) NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! That's not POSSIBLE!!!!!! (yes, I'm mixing up my Star Wars movies… deliberately).

  74. I was Anonymous says:

    @James, even the Joker knows better than to mess with the IRS.

  75. Hughhh says:

    Lisa Simeone • Aug 15, 2013 @6:08 am

    I confess I didn't read the whole thing because I'm not a lawyer and legalese makes my eyes glaze over. But I am an insufferable schoolmarm, and "different than" drives me crazy. It's "different from," people!

    Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

    I've been saying this in comments here for months now, to no avail. Perhaps I should ask my Lego dinosaur to start wearing nicer evening dresses.

  76. James says:

    @I was anonymous – Yeah, but John Steele would probably try to sue Joker, Batman and the IRS.

    I wonder what their summer has been like? First you have a bunch of angry judges, and then there is this evil cabal that lives in the Internet that will highlight any inconsistency, typo or grammar error in any document ever filed and knowing full well that Pietz, Syfert, and the others will take full advantage of the information. Now Pirate Bay and Comcast are piling on. It just gets better and better.

  77. Erwin says:

    So. Glakk. Is it even vaguely legal to upload your own copyrighted material to a torrent site and then sue people for downloading it? I mean, it doesn't seem absolutely illegal, just unethical.

    Other than that, I'm sure the IRS will be interested in the array of shell corporations, and probably motivated to 'make an example.'

    I wonder. If someone made an actually popular yet shameful porn film. And figured out how to track back downloads in an efficient fashion. I guess copyright trolling would still be legal and cost effective. Why are the Prenda lawyers so lacking in cognition?

    –Erwin

  78. Kat says:

    @mcinsand: Sounds like your guy was academically trained to write science-based research reports. I went to a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) school and they literally train you to always use the passive voice. If this is a business report, you won't get anywhere telling him to take a writing class; he probably has taken one. Just tell him that he needs to use active voice. (Sadly, if it's scientific research, you probably just have to deal with it, because passive voice is the standard for publishing journal articles.)

    Purdue has a good handout if you/he have no idea what I'm talking about. http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/539/01/

    I transitioned from an engineering degree to a psychology degree and then went for a business degree, so I've seen pretty much all forms of that particular writing problem. That's just what it sounds like to me based on the sample you wrote.

    (done with off-topic geekery now :D)

  79. James Pollock says:

    "Is it even vaguely legal to upload your own copyrighted material to a torrent site and then sue people for downloading it?"
    The lawyer's all-purpose answer, "It depends", applies here. It is not illegal for a copyright owner to give away copies of their copyrighted materials to some people, but charge other people for a copy. So, for example, studios can make screeners of movies available to awards voters if they're fishing for awards, but still charge YOU for YOUR copy. The fact that copies are or have been given away for free does not mean that they can't charge for it later.

  80. It is not illegal for a copyright owner to give away copies of their copyrighted materials to some people, but charge other people for a copy.

    But people who seed torrents have no control whatsoever over who downloads them.

    I see no legal difference between uploading something you own the copyright on to a torrent site and putting a bowl of apples on a table in front of your house with a sign that says, "Free, help yourself!" In both cases you are taking active steps to signify to others that it is your intention for them to take what you are offering.

    If the files in question were already being seeded by other torrent sites, and Prenda just added one of its own servers to the mix to better track who was downloading them, that would be one thing. But if, in fact, the files were not available to download via torrent until the Prenda folks put them there, and if there are records which prove that, then any halfway competent lawyer should be able to tear Prenda's principles several new assholes with that information.

  81. Rich Fiscus says:

    @Andrew Norton: I work for AfterDawn. TorrentFreak has been an indispensible resource for me when I'm researching P2P and copyright issues.

  82. earthclanbootstrap says:

    @ I was Anonymous

    "Lutz, I am your Prenda. Search your depositions. You know it to be true."

  83. mcinsand says:

    @Kat, Something I liked about my undergrad english was an absolute intolerance for passive voice. I had a good teacher that really helped to make us want to avoid it by pointing how useful passive voice is, especially for the sleazy, and most particularly for politicians. 'Mistakes were made' is nothing like clearly saying who made the mistakes, just as saying 'a road will be financed' is not the same as saying what wallets will furnish the money. Passive voice is perfect when someone wants to use weasel words.

    In grad school, however, my advisor was adamant that passive voice is more appropriate for scientific writing. The thesis ended up being a matter of compromise.

  84. That Anonymous Coward says:

    BWAHAHAHAAHAAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHA….
    Don't mind me, I'm gloating.
    BWAHAHAAHAHAHAAHAHAAHAHAHAHAA

    So suing people for defamation will make them back off and get the internet to stop looking at you… BWAHAHAAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHA

    How's that working out for ya Pretenda?

  85. Vicki says:

    The passive voice is absolutely appropriate in some contexts: for example, "Olaf Palme was assassinated" is usually more to the point than "Some unknown person assassinated Olaf Palme." That's often the case even when the actor is known: there are good reasons to write "Lincoln was shot" rather than "John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln" if you're writing about Lincoln, or even Andrew Johnson, rather than about Booth.

    The passive is overused in scientific writing, but sometimes the audience doesn't care who carried out the experiment, and you want to emphasize the results. And sometimes it's more honest to use the passive than to say "We did X" when actually it was done by a lab technician who isn't one of the listed authors.

    What irritates me is authors who are so afraid of the active voice that they will avoid something like "the volcano erupted" in favor of "an eruption occurred."

  86. WDS says:

    I love the fact that I can come here and both learn of the most recent antics of Prenda, and get an english writing lesson at the same time.

    :)

  87. Jim Tyre says:

    @Vicki (with two "i"s)

    What irritates me is authors who are so afraid of the active voice that they will avoid something like "the volcano erupted" in favor of "an eruption occurred."

    To which I respond only:

    "We’ve got real issues to talk about, not the latest bimbo eruption." (Betsy Wright, deputy chair of the 1992 Clinton presidential campaign.)

  88. Anonymous says:

    With the Prenda honeypot now confirmed, what are the implications for the Wright case with respect to attorney/client privilege. Since it appears Prenda's seeding was ongoing through the hearings in the 0833 case, can Pietz move to subpoena attorney/client communications to figure out if Klinedinst is culpable? What about trouble with the CA bar?

    I don't think there should be any slack for lawyers and law firms supporting an ongoing fraud. The courts and defendant should have the right to know what Klinedinst knew, when they knew it and this should be treated as a very serious matter.

  89. Anonymous says:

    Oh, and what are the implications of exposing the honeypot to the potential for an absolutely, catastrophically massive class-action lawsuit brought by every Doe against every motherf***** that has ever had anything to do with Steele | Hansmeier and Prenda?

  90. bert says:

    As the comcast subpoena has arrived now, just leaving this here for your amusement (someone on techdirt made it a while ago)
    http://i.imgur.com/RJSkZsF.jpg

  91. Clownius says:

    Man my popcorn supply is exhausted……

    But i have plenty of random lulz and gloating to do for a while. The only way this gets better is if Judge Wright makes a statement on it

  92. JT says:

    Okay, to pile on the English lesson (I am an English professor), there's confusion in general between "objective voice" and "passive voice." Passive voice does not name actors and is often signaled by forms of the verb "be." What some people call "objective voice" means to use third person (he, she, it, they) rather than first person (I, me, we) or second person (you). Objective voice better fits scientific and report writing because it is more precise. Objective voice tends to favor passive voice. Passive voice is not wrong (unless used to "hide" something), just dull and wordy. But neither is it right to say never to use passive voice or "be" verbs, as some of my more draconian colleagues have recommended. For precision and flow, the right mix of active and passive is important. For more engaging and interesting writing, it's important to prefer active voice and verbs.

    Overall, this discussion of passive vs. active is a style issue, not a grammar issue, so we're talking about preferences and taste rather than right or wrong.

    And, no, I am not the grammar police. I'm off duty when I surf blogs.

  93. rsteinmetz70112 says:

    with respect to attorney/client privilege

    I'm wondering how Lutz working in Prenda's office affects that.

    When he is a paralegal he it would apply but when he is acting as the CEO of AF or whatever it wouldn't. How can anyone tell which is which?

  94. mcinsand says:

    IANAL, but I have worked in IP-generating research and with IP attorneys for decades. Those that know better might be well-served to jump in and correct me, but there are consistencies in my attorney communications that seem relevant here. Most particularly, for Prenda to have seeded those torrents would not only nullify any rights for them to sue even proven downloaders, but it could open them up to even more trouble. Honeypots are great for determining where traffic might be, but only an idiot would set one up with copyrighted material that they want to claim rights to protect.

    Most critically, how you treat your IP has a very direct impact on both the value of that IP and the ability to maintain enforcement rights. Granted, the value of a patent on a left-handed ponyslapper might be very limited, but the value can drop further depending on how you treat the IP. Even internal memos can be critical, especially if they come out in discovery. For example, if you are one of the inventors of the left-handed ponyslapper and you disparage your employer’s patent on a right-handed ponyslapper in an e-mail, that could be a problem. Say a different company starts to infringe on the right-handed slapper, and your employer sues. Potential damages can drop significantly if that memo comes out in discovery; if even your own company doesn’t think much of the IP in question, then the value drops.

    Trademarks are similar, and I was part of a group that got a looooooong lecture from the attorneys on this one. We were making internal presentations, and one of our upper managers dictated a dark blue background. Our logo was black, but replacing black with yellow restored visibility. Big mistake. Lawyers descended post-haste with cease-and-desist instructions. This isn’t to disparage the lawyers, especially since they also gave a lecture on why these details matter. A company has a duty to respect IP boundaries, whether trademark, copyright, or patent, and letting those boundaries get fuzzy creates multiple problems. We were to use only certain colors (black or white), a very specific style, and a very specific aspect ratio. A good example of poor trademark defense is nylon. DuPont owned ‘nylon’ as their trade name for polyamide, but the company seemed to think that allowing others to use the name freely was merely free publicity. Dupont lost rights to the tradename as a result. Xerox’ complaints when people use their name as a verb is not merely a company being difficult; Xerox is merely protecting their trademark rights.

    When we were getting our lecture, our lead attorney stressed the word ‘diligence’ over and over. Established patterns apparently have a great impact in court disputes, and documented efforts to enforce IP boundaries help maintain those boundaries. As I remember it, the lead attorney said that our mistake was actually a good thing; it was internal and, if any communications surfaced in trademark-related discovery, then they would show that the company took corrective action and they took it quickly.

    This all comes back to the torrents in the Prenda lawsuits. To put a torrent seed out there is merely to provide a means for torrent transmission; creating a seed is an act of endorsing and promoting that transmission. GPL, LPGL, BSD, etc. licenses take this into account to make sure that their software copyright protections are still compatible with free distribution. That’s a problem with movies, especially if the copyright holder wants to sue over torrent distribution. If Prenda actually created the seeds, then they constructively authorized the free distribution. You can’t declare something to have zero monetary value by giving it away and then retroactively sue for payment. Let’s say that AF holdings really was a separate entity from Prenda and that AF held the copyrights(Stop laughing in back! I’m just saying to suppose for a moment.). For Prenda to have seeded those torrents would then have excellent grounds for a lawsuit against Prenda for malpractice. Either way, though, Prenda has gutted the copyright value, and their victims now have some bigger, sharper teeth for fighting back. Sure, some will stay quiet out of embarrassment, but even any that were actually caught downloading the movies in question can now make a great case against Prenda.

    … that is, if I understood what my attorneys have told me correctly.

  95. James Pollock says:

    "You can’t declare something to have zero monetary value by giving it away and then retroactively sue for payment"
    I stand by my earlier answer, of "it depends". It depends on how, when, and why you "gave it away" and on who you're suing for payment, and what actions you allege they took that require payment.

    Movie studios, for example, frequently allow critics to see their products for free. They also frequently allow test screenings to focus groups. They give screeners away to Academy members around awards time. They can still sue you for sneaking into the theatre without paying, filming the show with your camera, or copying the DVDs.

    Compare the variations:
    1) I copied the material under a clear license
    2) I copied the material under what I thought was a clear license, but later turns out to not be not so clear
    3) I copied the material, knowing it was copyrighted, but thinking that a fair use applied
    4) I copied the material, thinking that the copyright owner would never know
    5) I copied the material, knowing full well that the copyright owner would know

    Now, draw a line. #1 is clearly OK, # 5 is clear violation of copyright, in between is haze. Where is the line between OK and violation of copyright?
    OK. So, by secretly seeding the material, the Prenda people misled you into believing that you were in category 4, but you were actually in category 5. (And don't try the "well, if I'd known Prenda was seeding, I wouldn't have downloaded it" defense… that's functionally the same as "I wouldn't have shoplifted if I'd known the store manager was watching me.")

  96. Trent says:

    If Prena distributed their fims by torrent they transfered legal authorized copies to everyone who downloaded. Every case where they then sued someone for copyright constitutes fraud on the court. It may be severe enough fraud to breach the corporate veil and go after personal assets.

  97. mcinsand says:

    James, Although that one sentence of mine is an oversimplification, torrent seeding is incompatible with retaining the sort of rights that would enable the lawsuits Prenda is filing.

  98. MarkH says:

    @James Pollock

    What Prenda did was not as complex as you describe. They didn't give it free to one party and then charge or sue another. What they did was offer the copyrighted items for free and then sued that person for taking what was publicly offered for free.

    I think it is like making a brochure for your b&b, putting it in the display at the airport, and then suing anyone who shows up for copyright infringement for far more than you could get for your b&b (especially since it is located inNevis, and maintained by your as-yet unborn children).

  99. Anonymous says:

    @James Pollock

    I think your characterization of the category 5 defense is completely incorrect. If a downloader had known the copyright holder was seeding, they would have felt perfectly comfortable doing so because in publicly distributing their own work for free, the copyright holder grants an implied license.

    That is precisely the problem for Prenda in having their honeypot exposed. Everyone they sued had an implied license to download the work, but they have been attempting to hide the fact that these licenses were granted. This is redefining vexatious litigation.

    A better comparison is a restaurant manager having customers arrested for "stealing" mints from the big mint bowl sitting next to the door on their way out, or 24 Hour Fitness calling the cops when I "steal" water from the drinking fountain.

  100. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Hansmeier: "When in doubt, dig more"

    Especially since "Popular Demand" (the one in the MN case) is one of the sharkmp4 distributed files.

    Someone REALLY needs to get a declaration from the Pirate Bay operators (who are known) that attests to the logs concerning the files uploaded by sharkmp4, since we now know (and have in-court documentation) that the IP address is Steele/Hansmeier PLCC.

  101. Anonymous says:

    @Sayre

    Leave it to a Prenda attorney to think there is something suspicious about another attorney being eager to attend a case management conference. Showing up may not be Hansmeier's thing but for the rest of the legal community that would be called "work" or "professionalism."

    Love all the tough talk, nothing to back it up. Again. They always have plenty to say when protected by the litigation privilege and nothing to back it up with under penalty of perjury.

    I'm really looking forward to the depositions of these scumbags that Blair Chintella is setting up.

    I also noticed this gem:

    "Godfread’s actions to publicize Cooper’s complaint (and thus his own practice) waived Cooper’s litigation privilege to defamation, placing his client in significant peril."

    Do they really want to go there after publicizing so many of their individual suits on the Prenda law website, including defamatory statements about defendants? How about Steele's interview habit?

  102. Aaron W says:

    It gets better: <a href=A letter from Comcast showing the pr0n movies that Prenda sued people for downloading were seeded and placed on The Pirate Bay by Steele Hansmeier PLLC.

    It's been suggested all along that the whole thing was a honeypot. This is pretty damning evidence.

    My question is whether it makes the entire legal enterprise criminal: If I upload a video and publicize it, sue you for downloading what I made available, then offer you a settlement to make the lawsuit go away, isn't that racketeering?

  103. Rich Fiscus says:

    @mcinsand: IANAL either, but I've spent a lot of hours studying IP statutory and caselaw. Your understanding is basically correct, although it's not generally useful to make comparisons between trademark and other IP. It's fundamental purpose (consumer protection) is different, and as a result so are the requirements for defending it.

    As far as your analysis of the Prenda honeypot goes, though, I think you're mostly correct. However it's important to note that offering a copyrighted work to the public for free may diminish the copyright holder's rights, but only with respect to suing for damages. The right to control distribution is completely separate from the question of value. If a record label offers a MP3 download it's automatically an authorized distribution. That doesn't give you the right to take the file you legally downloaded and use it to seed a torrent. You still need the copyright holder's permission for redistribution.

    However since redistribution is the fundamental mechanism of P2P, offering a download via BitTorrent blurs the line between authorized and unauthorized. Does the choice P2P for distribution also constitute an implied license for unlimited redistribution? If you stop seeding the file can you also revoke your authorization to download from other peers? Is it revoked automatically when you stop seeding? Nothing in the statutory language or caselaw provides concrete answers. Any competent lawyer would avoid even raising the issue except as a last resort.

    Since there has never been any credible evidence of an intention to release the videos there's no need to wade into that particular swamp. The honeypot evidence helps refute Prenda's bizarre and convoluted claims to the contrary. Since monetary damages are limited to compensation for (actual or potential) lost revenue, the lawsuits are improper on that basis alone. If there's no revenue to lose there can be no damages.

    If a judge were to believe Prenda's story about future plans to release the videos, the honeypot evidence is still useful. As you note, even if there were damages they were caused by Prenda and not the defendants. Once again the lawsuits are improper. Essentially it makes the question of future sales or revenue moot.

    None of that really has anything to do with value. Value is a nebulous and subjective term that confuses the issues more than it clarifies them.

  104. Rich Fiscus says:

    @James Pollock

    Movie studios, for example, frequently allow critics to see their products for free. They also frequently allow test screenings to focus groups. They give screeners away to Academy members around awards time. They can still sue you for sneaking into the theatre without paying, filming the show with your camera, or copying the DVDs.

    Neither of those examples even remotely implies a declaration the movie has zero value.

    The entire point of a test screening is to assess a movie's appeal with the intention of making changes if it appears not to have enough value.

    Screeners are distributed with specific instructions not to share them with other people, periodic warnings which display over the top of the movie while its playing, and an explicit threat of suing anyone who ignores those warnings. That specifically implies the movie is extremely valuable.

    Having said that, giving a work away on BitTorrent doesn't constitute such a declaration either. Musical acts have distributed entire albums via BitTorrent while also selling both physical copies and downloads.

    The concept of value just isn't that simple. Fortunately it isn't relevant either.

  105. adam says:

    Trying to use blockquote for the first time:

    Let’s say that AF holdings really was a separate entity from Prenda and that AF held the copyrights(Stop laughing in back! I’m just saying to suppose for a moment.). For Prenda to have seeded those torrents would then have excellent grounds for a lawsuit against Prenda for malpractice.

    This just in: Lutz lawyering up to sue Prenda for malpractice!

    I can't imagine this would ever actually happen, but I sure hope it does. That might just be the greatest plot twist of all.

  106. James says:

    @Sayre Regarding Hansmeier's latest, he states that Alan Cooper's repudiation lacks credibility. As an evidentiary matter don't you have to prove the fact that Cooper agreed to be the assignee before you can prove that his repudiation is faulty (the issue of the alleged forgery is another matter)? I would think it a simple matter for a judge to order Alan Cooper to sign his name on a piece of blank paper and then given Prenda ten days to produce a signed writing of any type that even remotely matches that signature.

  107. Anon says:

    Alan signed before Judge Wright in Ca( I believe), and his lease agreement with his signature has also been produced that was signed years ago. Alan also stated he uses a middle initial. This is typical of the Prenda/S-H group – attack others as a way of misdirection – look over here, not at us.

  108. Anonymous says:

    @James

    It seems like all discussion of Prenda providing evidence that Cooper cooperated at some point is hypothetical and rhetorical.

    They are suffering dearly from failure to do exactly that; if they had piles of papers proving Cooper was a partner, the docket in the Wright case would have overflowed with something other than a bar complaint v. Gibbs.

    Letting Cooper testify against them, failing to dispute that evidence and then taking the 5th dug the hole really deep. Then they sort of tried to attack his credibility by producing some text messages and an affidavit from someone unrelated to Prenda and its clients that had nothing specific to do with Cooper's involvement with Prenda or the porn companies.

    Anything they manage to come up with now, months later, will look very suspicious.

  109. Matthew Cline says:

    mcinsand

    When we were getting our lecture, our lead attorney stressed the word ‘diligence’ over and over. Established patterns apparently have a great impact in court disputes, and documented efforts to enforce IP boundaries help maintain those boundaries.

    Is this why some companies will send out threatening letters if you so much as sneeze on their trademark? Because even though what you did was clearly not a trademark infringement, sending the letter will establish a pattern of them putting effort into enforcing their trademark?

  110. Anon says:

    @ Anonymous
    Which is likely why they continue to attack him in their pleadings, or memorandums' or whatever to the court…they can't produce any REAL evidence and what they have come up with in there "look here" would be subject to being disputed, as well as their witnesses, including STEELE. They want to feather and tar, but not have to face the music if proven wrong. This is NOT about Alan Cooper, but about their own abuses, how they sued thousands of Doe's ( and named defendents). Alan was just ONE area they were caught to begin with, much more is out there as the summer went on.

  111. @Nicholas Weaver
    "Someone REALLY needs to get a declaration from the Pirate Bay operators (who are known) that attests to the logs concerning the files uploaded by sharkmp4, since we now know (and have in-court documentation) that the IP address is Steele/Hansmeier PLCC."

    Yeah, been working on that for a while now. How do you think TPB got involved in the first place? I made some inquiries with them, after Graham first mentioned SharkMP4 to me back in March.

    Remember, this site (TPB) is a 'priority target' of the Whitehouse. The 06 raid was made after the White House DIRECTLY called the Swedish Justice Minister.

  112. Christenson says:

    I would argue that TPB logs, even if unauthenticated, would be pretty credible evidence…or how else did they get John Steele's IP address?? Surely, they just picked that out of thin air…(along with the winning lottery ticket in last week's megamillions)…not!

  113. Delvan says:

    Wow, that's huge…St Clair no longer treating Prenda as the golden child, that was their last useful ground to forage. Wonder where they'll turn next?

  114. Rich Fiscus says:

    @Matthew Cline:

    Is this why some companies will send out threatening letters if you so much as sneeze on their trademark? Because even though what you did was clearly not a trademark infringement, sending the letter will establish a pattern of them putting effort into enforcing their trademark?

    Assuming they're not just trying to shut you up that's exactly why it is. That's what confuses people into declaring if you don't defend your copyrights and patents you lose them. In fact it's only true for trademarks.

    Unlike copyrights and patents, the primary purpose of trademark protection is not an incentive to create. It's consumer protection. Because of that the trademark holders rights are stronger in some areas but weaker in others.

    Anybody can use a trademark owned by someone else providing it's not done in a way that would confuse consumers into thinking you represent the trademark holder when you don't. For example, Ford can use Chevy's trademarks in their commercials when they're comparing their products. OTOH a Ford dealer can't put use a Chevy logo on his sign to lure people looking for a Chevy dealer onto the lot.

    It gets more complicated too. If you use a logo for your company or product which is confusingly similar to that of a competitor it can still be trademark infringement. It doesn't have to be intentional either because once again the consumer is the one who is supposed to be protected.

    OTOH protection is limited to the scope of markets you compete in and have registered it. Monster cable has threatened everybody from Discovery Channel (Monster Garage) to Disney (Monsters Inc) to the Chicago Bears (Monsters of the Midway) without success. The Monster Cable trademark doesn't cover movies, TV shows, or anything football related so they have no rights over the use of the word Monster in any of those contexts. Nobody (even a moron in a hurry) is going to be confused into thinking Monster Cable has anything to do with any of those things.

    Use of a trademark outside of commerce is almost completely unrestricted. I could put up a website with Chevy, Ford, and Monster Cable trademarks all over it in almost any context as long as I wasn't using it to sell anything. That's just speech. Depending on how I used them there might be a defamation claim, but unless I make it appear the trademark holder endorsed or was somehow responsible for the content it wouldn't be infringement.

  115. Matthew Cline says:

    @Christenson:

    I would argue that TPB logs, even if unauthenticated, would be pretty credible evidence…or how else did they get John Steele's IP address??

    Well, obviously TPB was colluding with a Comcast techie who gave them the IP address.

  116. Cassius says:

    Does anybody else giggle whenever the Salt Marsh trust and its beneficiaries, "Mark Lutz' unborn children", are mentioned, when the entire context is porn? The Monty Python lyrics run through my head as I imagine Mark Lutz' animated unborn children dancing around, singing:

    Let the heathen spill theirs
    On the dusty ground.
    God shall make them pay for
    Each sperm that can't be found.

  117. That Anonymous Coward says:

    In some of the Pretenda cases (used as an umbrella for all of the LLCs) they claimed they had the exclusive rights about distributing it via BT.
    This is not a right granted by copyright, so I think Righthaven covers that whole thing.

    These cases make an excellent study in why copyright law is broken, and what needs to be fixed. The law is ripe for abuse and it is being abused for profit. It is being used to supplement a business model, and not living up to the promise of what the law plainly states.

  118. grouch says:


    Since monetary damages are limited to compensation for (actual or potential) lost revenue, the lawsuits are improper on that basis alone. If there's no revenue to lose there can be no damages.

    See 17 USC § 504 – Remedies for infringement: Damages and profits and note the bit about statutory damages. The RIAA particularly loves that section.

  119. Basil Forthrightly says:

    @grouch I don't know if there's case law on this, but there's an argument to be made that in order to get statutory damages, there has to be at least de minimis actual damages or misbegotten profits.

    The section on statutory damages contains the phrase "instead of actual damages and profits". A general principle of interpreting a law is that the court should attempt to find meaning in every phrase. The only reasonable meaning I can see is that statutory damages can only be chosen when in fact there are actual damages/profits.

    The RIAA probably asserted that they lost sales, i.e. had some actual damages. If Prenda in fact seeded the torrent, then they had no sales to loose and should IMHO be in eligible for statutory damages even if, insanely, infringement were to be found. I don't think any of their cases got far enough that the matter of their actual damages ever got fleshed out.

  120. grouch says:

    Basil Forthrightly:

    I'm of the opinion that Steele & cohorts granted an unlimited license to copy and distribute every work, to which they had rights, that they offered to the world by way of their honeypot. I also believe that they would try to claim statutory damages if any court forced them to finish a suit.

  121. SharonA says:

    Wow, that's huge…St Clair no longer treating Prenda as the golden child, that was their last useful ground to forage. Wonder where they'll turn next?

    @Delvan – Washington DC, perhaps?

  122. R. Penner says:

    I am also of the opinion that seeding a torrent is setting into motion an unlimited and perpetual free publishing and distribution network, thus authorizing and licensing all subsequent re-sharing. If the torrent seeder is the copyright holder or an agent of the copyright holder, then obviously this is a legitimate license and it is no violation for others to join in the torrent.

    Even cursory evaluation of descriptions of a torrent and the tools used to seed one should make this clear. The act of seeding a torrent is authorizing a perpetual peer-to-peer network for the exact purpose of copying and distributing these copies to a universe of unknowable individuals who are willing to participate. Thus there must be an implied license to do so when the act springs from the copyright holder.

    That the Prenda shell corporations muddy the waters of control should not shield them from full liability for bogus demand letters, RICO, conspiracy and abuse of copyright law now that the pervasive pattern has been unearthed.

    I am not a lawyer, but next week I might be a juror.

  123. bobdotorg says:

    Prenda published the torrent either with, or without their client's knowledge.

    A few questions:

    Case 1: With client's knowledge. Does this release the defendant(s) from any liability?

    Case 2: Without: Can the client sue Prenda / Steele et al. for copyright infringement?

    There have also been rumblings that (an agent of) Prenda left a valid username / pass on a porn password forum, and then filed suit against IP address holders who logged on with those credentials. Whether this may have been done with or without the knowledge of the copyright holder might also make a difference in potential liability.

  124. Trebuchet says:

    Prenda published the torrent either with, or without their client's knowledge.

    That assumes that a client actually exists that is truly a separate entity from Prenda itself. It's pretty clear that's not the case.

  125. Bystander says:

    Since Prenda was their own client, it was presumably with the client's knowledge (though we are all waiting with baited breath for Mark Lutz's unborn children to sue Prenda).

  126. whheydt says:

    Re: Bystander… What are you baiting it with?

    Waiting with bated breath for the response…

  127. rsteinmetz70112 says:

    Lutz obviously seeded the torrent from his work computer and Prenda had no knowledge of it.

    I can see the bus driving up.

  128. Bystander says:

    @whheydt. Thanks. I'll spell my clichés more carefully in future. ;)

  129. Basil Forthrightly says:

    In a tweet, Graham Syfert has pointed out that the GoDaddy logs show maintenance to the wefightpiracy.com domain coming from a Mullvad VPN IP address, 46.165.208.203.

    This is page 19 of this exhibit:
    http://www.syfert.com/prenda-law-cases/AF_Holdings/gand.188990/gov.uscourts.gand.188990.61.6.pdf

    This crosses the t's and dots the i's on linking the torrent seeder sharkmp4 to Prenda, as sharkmp4 used Mullvad VPN as well.

    Now Mullvad is a very, um, privacy friendly business, telling their customers that they keep no logs and also warning them that credit card transactions can be traced. Mullvad recommends that clients wishing to remain anonymous either pay cash, or use Bitcoin with proper anonymization (since the Bitcoin transaction log is otherwise public).

    Sadly, there's no Bitcoin transaction from the Comcast ip of the Minneapolis office that's been found so far, though if its a dynamic IP then we may not have all the info needed yet. Of course, the payment could have been made from home. (There are Bitcoin payments tied to the same Mullvad IP that sharkmp4 exited from when seeding, but its very very likely that some, and possibly most or all, of those are other Mullvad clients – that's the kind of thing people sign up with Mullvad for in the first place.)

    It would be very nice if someone could find a Bitcoin transaction from a non-Mullvad prenda-associated IP address. However, they might have been smart and paid cash, or been dumb and used a credit card… What are the odds?

  130. Clownius says:

    Good luck tracing a Bitcoin transaction among the millions made. They dont have a name attached you know.

    You would need to know the destination address assigned to that payment at the very least. Im sure like most eCommerce done via Bitcoin it was a one time address supplied for just that transaction.

    One you had the destination address you could trace the sending address. Again that doesnt have a name attached.

    Once you had the sending address you could trace who sent the bitcoin to that address. That may or may not point to an exchange. If it does your in luck otherwise keep tracing and hoping you run into a sending address you can compromise or link to someone specifically.

    Then the exchange may still have the data on why they sent bitcoin to that address. Someone purchased it is a good bet if its an exchange. they may have details or who or how on file.

    Tracing Bitcoin isnt particularly easy. You have to compromise at least 2 links int he chain and probably more.

    Its as effective as tracing a banknote by serial number. You can find where it originally came from but that may or may not be any use to you and it may have passed through a lot of hands since who you will never know of.

  131. Clownius says:

    I forgot the fact Mullvad wont have logs to link that particular IP to any paid account at that time.

    So even if as is likely he was dumb enough to sign up in a very traceable way it wont be proof of anything in particular other than he uses a VPN. Which is not an illegal act and in fact would be smart for any user who uses public wifi to transfer any data related to their clients.

  132. bert says:

    @ Basil

    This crosses the t's and dots the i's on linking the torrent seeder sharkmp4 to Prenda, as sharkmp4 used Mullvad VPN as well.

    Well, you don't even need the vpn IP to tie sharkmp4 to prenda – there is 75.72.88.156, which hosted naughty-hotties, logged into john steele's godaddy account, and was confirmed by the comcast subpoena to be the IP of John Steele.

    Then there is the IP 50.77.50.222 used by sharkmp4, a comcast MN IP, which also logged into Steele's godaddy account (in Exibit F / 61.6). Any subpoena on that btw? It only shows up in the tpb log of sharkmp4, so not sure if is worth something.

  133. James says:

    With respect to Prenda seeding the torrents without their client's permission, it there anybody who has standing to sue since the beneficiaries do not (yet) exist? Will John Steele have to monitor Lutz's sexual activities to determine when the statute of limitations begins to run?

  134. Lucius says:

    A helpful update email from Blair Chintella on the Georgia case:

    Dear Everyone that Donated:

    Thank you very much for supporting Mr. Patel's case. I wanted to give everyone a quick update on the transcript from the hearing held in the beginning of July. Initially, the opposing counsel Jacques Nazaire agreed to pay for half in an e-mail. However, he later reneged on this promise despite repeated attempts by myself and the court reporter to cajole him into doing so. Unfortunately, this type of stonewalling has been too common in this case and others like it. Therefore, we decided last week to simply pay the full amount, which was slightly reduced from the $406 figure because the Reporter would only be providing one copy.

    With that being said, the Reporter is supposed to e-mail me a copy on Monday and I will forward a copy to all of you regardless of whether you donated to the fundraiser for the transcript or the more recent one for the depositions. Let me know if you don't want the transcript.

    Depositions…as it stands right now, Mark Lutz is schedule to be deposed on the 21st, that is, if he shows up here in Atlanta. The deposition will be at the GA State Bar beginning at 9:00 AM, Room #6. We will also be noticing a deposition either tomorrow or Monday for the plaintiff itself, AF Holdings, LLC.

    I will keep everyone posted and thanks again for your help. Below are a few links to some recent developments in the case. If you e-mail me I will send a copy of the audio clips directly to you.

  135. That Anonymous Coward says:

    I'd just like to point out that they had clients before themselves.
    Clients who bragged on forums about how much money they were making.
    And well then there was the case of not only am I the client, but I'm also the expert… o_O

  136. Norwegian Blue says:

    I had never heard of Prenda until two days ago, when I happened across a reference to Popehat and started browsing. I'm enjoying the reportage and especially the comments, and would like to tangentially recommend (to anyone unfamiliar with it) Language Log, which gets lots of similary well-informed comments. They don't deal much with the law, but they do come back every so often to passive voice:

    http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=3897

  137. Anonymous says:

    TAC gets it.

    Prenda had real clients for about a two year span. Some of them bragged on GFY.com, an adult webmaster forum, about how much money they were making and laughing about the scam being blackmail and hush money.

    If Prenda has been confirmed to be running a honeypot recently, that sounds like a reason to suspect they were doing it previously and open waves of discovery against the former clients. The clients were real businesses that are capitalized and have something to lose and may present juicy targets for former John Does.

    Paul Pilcher, owner of one of Prenda's former clients named Hard Drive Productions, Inc., foolishly admitted in a Bloomberg article that he was nervous about Prenda's tactics and is worried about his potential legal liability. Stupid admission, because as Prenda has been so eager to point out, litigation can be expensive and exhausting even if you're innocent. I don't think anyone with exposure to Prenda will be in a fighting mood given the ongoing train wreck.

    Confirming the honeypot is chumming the waters.

  138. whheydt says:

    As regards Bitcoin in connection with Mullvad…

    I saw a news article recently that some court decided that Bitcoins are actually money, plus there is a report of some Congressional committee (Senate Finace?) looking into Bitcoins.

    That suggests that Mullvad might get a request from, say, the IRS asking about any business they transact with Bitcoins and questioning any records they keep on those transactions…

  139. Basil Forthrightly says:

    @whheydt Mullvad is based in Sweden and also emphatically asserts that they keep no records.

    @bert Yes, we knew the Prenda office IP was used before, but know we also know the person seeding is likely also someone with the godaddy login who did maintenance. In other words, they can't put it off an intern or the cleaning crew at the office. And its pretty much impossible to argue that they were framed too, (though i expect theyll try at some point). I haven't looked at the godaddy details but my casual impression is that things are pointing at Steele as the seeder/GoDaddy maintainer. The noose was already around their collective necks, this just tightens it.

    @clownius I don't know diddly about tracing through the Bitcoin blockchain, but a comment on torrentfreak asserted that this link:

    http://blockchain.info/ip-address/46.21.99.29

    showed transactions originating from a Mullvad IP. I have no idea if they're correct, but took the comment at face value. Your comment, that if you have a destination then you can find a source, implies that someone could trivially build a searchable database linking source and destination. The entire blockchain is around 9 gigabytes, so crunching it into a searchable DB should be trivial for someone knowledgable about its stucture. I'm assuming that's what blockchain.info has already done, but I'd be happy to be schooled here.

  140. Myk says:

    @clownius | @whheydt As a bitcoin luddite, I have no idea what, if anything, can be traced. I do however know that the various national- and international-level agencies involved in the investigation and prevention of money laundering have Bitcoin at the top of their priorities list.

    I'm wondering whether the mugus decided to convert their ill-gotten gains to Bitcoin as this allows them to avoid many financial crime checks such as the transfer of money to St Kitts/Nevis.

  141. Basil Forthrightly says:

    And as soon as I say I guessed the evidence is pointing at Steele, Graham Syfert tweets that the Patel evidence is pointing at Paul H., but with no specifics.

  142. WDS says:

    @Basil Forthrightly

    I think there is a flaw in your logic re the IP address. Knowing that IP was used to log into the GoDaddy account, gives no more assurance of who seeded than knowing it belongs to the office. All traffic from the office, both legitimate and cleaning crew surfing would be going out on that same address.

  143. whheydt says:

    Re; Basil Forthrightly… 9GB? Sounds like a job for a cluster of Parallela systems (http://www.parallella.org/). The cluster pictured at the top ought to gobble it up in no time.

    As an aside… The extremely active work on increasingly powerful single board computers (SBCs) has the potential to render previously intractable problems quite easy to deal with on budgets affordable to individuals. We may be heading for a new version of what happened with the proliferation of PCs…inverting "Big Brother is watching" into "Big Brother is being watched."

  144. Basil Forthrightly says:

    @wds we're talking about traffic that is tunneling through a Mullvad VPN. While such a VPN could be wrapping the entire pipe coming out of the Prenda office, that's not the common way to do it, and if one does do it that way, one tends to set it up on a firewall host and it stays on permanently; we wouldn't be seeing some tunnel traffic and some not from that office.

    Far far more likely, the VPN software is on either a single user's machine and he sometimes turns it on and sometimes not (perhaps a home config and a work config for networking), or the user in question is using a home machine, tunneled, and a work machine untunneled. From the BitTorrent evidence, it looks more like one machine than two.

    Yes, not 100% proof, but we're talking a civil case here; "preponderance of evidence" is the standard.

    And I can't imagine any lawyer these days being willing to admit that his office machines weren't password protected, unless bar sanctions were the lesser of two evils. Well, in this case, that's a lot more likely.

    I didn't look closely at the Patel discovery requests, but I hope they asked for discovery on VPN client usage on relevant machines.

  145. rsteinmetz70112 says:

    Knowing that IP was used to log into the GoDaddy account, gives no more assurance of who seeded than knowing it belongs to the office.

    The great irony is that if Prenda argues that they scuttle their entire business model.

  146. Basil Forthrightly says:

    @whheydt 9gb is too small to bother with parallelization, unless you're in a hurry for some reason. And the logic portion is trivial anyway, its an IO-bound problem. Get a solid state RAID on a DB server-class host and go out for a long lunch.

    And as far as "watching big brother", that's been building for nearly a decade already. While improvements in computability will accelerate it, the critical component was the Internet. The prime example is how hobbyist plane spotters collected the data that led to the identification of the planes used by the CIA for rendition flights, in 2005.

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2005/dec/10/usa.terrorism1

    And yes, there are some interesting needle-in-a-haystack and big-data correlation problems that will fall to cheaper bigger computing power, but a lot of the interesting action in government-watching is "follow the money" stuff, for which contemporary computing power is more than adequate. And fast cheap data IO again is more important the CPU hyper-buffness. And getting basic access to disparate data sources the biggest hurdle.

  147. Basil Forthrightly says:

    -facepalm- For 9gb, put the source file and the output DB both on ramdisks; loading the file into RAM and copying the resultant DB back out to non-volatile disk will take longer than the actual crunching.

    Having started on a machine with 20 kilobytes of memory, I just have a hard time casually remembering that a gig is "small" these days. "Big" is stuff that won't fit on a single disk.

  148. whheydt says:

    Re: Basil Forthrightly. All true enough, and I did gloss over the issues of whether (a) the process *could* be parallelized, and (b) the vector cores on the Parallela could process the data.

    I *think* that the Parallelas in the picture are 64 core boards, but even if one assumes the 16-way boards going forward, for 9GB of data, each core would only be handling about 70K bytes, so a search of data–once loaded–would be Pretty Damned Fast.

    If I were doing it single threaded, I'd probably put it on one of the Cubieboards I have with an attached 60GB SSD. Not a real hot processor (1GHz ARMv7), but the power requirements are so low (10W *max*) that leaving it on 24×7 isn't an issue. (Cubieboard + 60GB SSD cost me $100.)

  149. James Pollock says:

    "In some of the Pretenda cases (used as an umbrella for all of the LLCs) they claimed they had the exclusive rights about distributing it via BT.
    This is not a right granted by copyright, so I think Righthaven covers that whole thing."

    17 USC 106(3) appears to disagree with you. Distribution is, in fact, one of the copyright "rights", and it can be subdivided.

  150. @Basil Forthrightly
    And as soon as I say I guessed the evidence is pointing at Steele, Graham Syfert tweets that the Patel evidence is pointing at Paul H., but with no specifics.

    On 3/05/2012, while calling Go-daddy and complaining about a hack, Hansmeier and Steele. were in separate states. There were nearly simultaneous logins from 75.72.88.156 (MN) and from Las Vegas to attempt corrections of the problem that day. The Las Vegas IP address was being used by Steele to login to godaddy. Therefore, the Comcast 75.72.88.156 was used by a person in Minnesota to login to godaddy, and also to upload works to the pirate bay using the name sharkmp4.

  151. Anonymous says:

    @Graham Syfert

    Remember, Paul Hansmeier was a "technician" at the pre-6881 "forensics" company S|H used, Media Copyright Group, back before Peter and 6881. Back when Steele still spoke openly about "our" software in interviews.

    So Paul H. has no hope of claiming ignorance of the monitoring methods and software. Hell, maybe that was Paul's job and not Steele's.

  152. flip says:

    Am I the only one thinking that if Steele has such little knowledge about how to use his domains (etc) as shown by the Comcast sound files, that he's less likely to figure out how to seed a file on a torrent site?

    I'm an utter noob compared to all the tech geeks here, so maybe I'm wrong. But listening to some of those files all I could think of was "come on, even *I* knew this stuff back when I was figuring out how to set up a website".

  153. Clownius says:

    The point i was trying to get across on the Bitcoin thing

    You know note with serial number x was used to pay for drugs. Tell me who had note x. Now you may find that bank y issued note x a year ago to person z. Who had it in the middle?

    If you manage to compromise someones exchange account you may know the exchange sold them that Bitcoin. Thats a link.

    So you need to compromise both the payment system on the VPN's end to know what transaction was the one. Then you need to compromise the exchanges account to work out if that Bitcoin was sold to the person in question. If a blending service was used or the payment was made with Bitcoin that came from a third party (someone purchased a service in Bitcoin and that Bitcoin made up part of the payment) your back to square one.

    Bitcoin can be traced easily. But linking it to specific people is somewhat harder.

  154. That Anonymous Coward says:

    @Basil Forthrightly – Because Sweden has NEVER thrown their laws to the side to appease a superpower. *cough cough cough*

    Greed. Greed is the simplest answer.
    They had clients, and were sad to allow this easy money to slip out of their fingers. IIRC ACS:Law had an 80-20 spit of settlements.

    You spend your time telling a studio how their product isn't worth anything because of piracy, and acquire the rights for a song. It's an investment. The investment value isn't in getting it to market, its getting it downloaded and seeking settlements. Then you use more of the profits to create your own clips, so you don't have any paper trail of transfers. (They are still shocked you can access the catalog online).

    "Lies" Steele Told the world.
    – Tracking software cost $250,000 to develop.
    + Puffery to scare people.

    – Tracking software could NEVER be wrong.
    + Puffery to scare people, famously backed down and failed to apologize to senior citizen in SF who went to the media calling it extortion when they "mistakenly" identified her as a porn downloader.

    – I never uploaded or seeded a file or had anyone do it.
    + Well um err, it wouldn't matter if we did.

    – This signature is real.
    + The law doesn't need it to be real, just the other guys name needs to be real.

    – I'm going to sue you all for defamation!
    + An email titled – 'That in which they attempt to sue me and my friends' goes out, suddenly Prenda is a thing on Popehat.

    – They are just pirates stealing everything!
    + Said those running a criminal enterprise, defrauding courts nationwide, and collecting cash from victims they lied to.

    – Our expert supplied the information.
    + Our expert is also the client who was "unable" to secure his systems for months and months, pay no attention to that possible question of his ability or motivations.

    This really shouldn't devolve into who did what, logged in from where beyond = Someone involved in the enterprise had their fingers in it. There is no possible way any of them can claim to have been unaware of what was going on. To even discount the online posts about the company to unhappy pirates, at some point the pile of them repeating the same things and being shown to be true piles up.

    I just wish that we could get the wheels of Justice powered up by Cuisinart or Kitchen Aid, allowing these people to continue their actions at this point should disgust everyone.

  155. R. Penner says:

    Sad to report that PJ, of groklaw.net, has found the compromised Internet simply too completely compromised by government surveillance to be tolerated.

  156. mcinsand says:

    I have followed Groklaw for a decade. PJ has been inspirational in trying to make sure that her articles are well-researched and view issues from multiple sides. For Groklaw, however, today is a dangerous day to exist in the US. Groklaw deals with technology and related legal issues… issues where we have had our freedoms subverted over the past four presidential terms. Yes, we need to defend ourselves from foreign agents, but only with a balance such that we do not hand them a huge victory. And victory is just what we handed them with The Patriot Act initiation and propagation. They hated us for our freedoms, and we started sacrificing those freedoms immediately.

    The sad thing is to be old enough to remember when the US was one of the prime nations to turn to for asylum, and we actually made efforts to walk the walk in preserving freedom. We weren't perfect, by any means. In some painful cases, we needed decades upon decades to make the necessary changes. Overall, though, we made progress, even if it was clumsy. Over the past decade, we have effectively declared that freedom isn't so much of a national priority, anymore.

  157. Groklaw has been a daily read for a long time. This is a tragedy.

    And for the record, I've often disagreed with PJ. But for the things she covers, she a helluva source.

  158. rsteinmetz70112 says:

    I too have been around Groklaw for a very long time. I will miss it.

    I can only hope that in time PJ will reconsider as she has before or find someone willing to continue her work.

  159. Jim Tyre says:

    In AF Holdings v. Navasca (yes, a Prenda case, not a Groklaw thing!) the Magistrate Judge has just given the parties a series of interesting questions which they should be prepared to answer at the August 28 hearing.

    http://ia601207.us.archive.org/30/items/gov.uscourts.cand.254869/gov.uscourts.cand.254869.103.0.pdf

  160. Resolute says:

    Hmm. How do they answer some of those questions without pleading the fifth again?

  161. whyamihere..! says:

    Deja vu… anyone?

    As the court didnt command Steele et al to be present at the hearing, Duffy will be left to salvage it. As usual he will request for appearance through telephone, his entire argument summarized as "your honor, blah blah.. in the interest of protecting and promoting copyright..blah blah.. we as officers of this court will never blah blah..conspiracy theory..blah blah hence plaintiff is clean and should never be doubted"

    I really hope there will be some fireworks.

  162. Basil Forthrightly says:

    Minneapolis Star-Tribune article on a state settlement with the scan-to-email patent troll, but with a summary on Hansmeier woes.

    http://www.startribune.com/business/220375171.html

    Nice mainstream media story, but nothing new.

  163. James says:

    I was just reading the questions from the magistrate in Navasca. Does anybody think that Prenda is getting tired of other courts quoting Judge Wright's opinion and asking what the proper legal standard is for messing with Steele and Hansmeier? Judge Wright might not have had the legal power to put the final nail in the coffin, but he sure as hell drafted the blueprints.

  164. kyzer says:

    Mark Lutz was a no show for his deposition in the Patel case today. Shocking, I know…

    I'm googling it now but I'm interested in hearing what the consequences are for not showing.

  165. WDS says:

    @kyser

    I wonder if Chintella already had his motion to compel already drafted ready to file.

  166. PonyMaster2k says:

    Comcast is using legal thuggery to threaten to use for the posting of public documents:

    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/13/08/21/1548244/comcast-threatens-torrentfreak-for-posting-public-court-document

    Would this be a case where a SLAPP response is warranted?

  167. Jim Tyre says:

    @PonyMaster2k,

    Comcast is using legal thuggery to threaten to use for the posting of public documents

    They've backed down.

    http://gigaom.com/2013/08/21/comcast-says-copyright-threat-to-torrentfreak-an-error/

    Comcast says copyright threat to TorrentFreak an “error”
    by Jeff John Roberts 1 HOUR AGO No Comments

    Comcast caused a stir by ordering file-sharing news site to take down a court document — the company has since explained the cease-and-desist letter was a mistake.

    Internet giant Comcast claims that a legal threat directed at TorrentFreak was a mistake and that it has told the file-sharing news site to disregard it:

    [....]

    “This notice was sent in error, and we have advised TorrentFreak to disregard it. We apologize for any confusion,” said a Comcast spokesperson by email.

  168. Indeed Jim. Speaking to my boss at TorrentFreak, they backed down after the BBC et al got involved.

    I'm just wondering how this will affect their continued fight to not answer the other subpoena's filed (the motion for contempt against Comcast is filing #63.

    I think in many ways, this case has now eclipsed the California ones in terms of damage to Prenda, and in a more low-key way than Judge Wright's

  169. LauraW says:

    This part of the magistrate judge's order doesn't look like a nail in the coffin. It looks like an extremely large railroad spike straight through the heart:

    d. Paul Hansmeier was unable to testify about “the exact mechanisms by which the money goes from” to AF Holdings from the law firms that represent it Doc. No. 93-11 (Ex. J) at 95:2-96:22. AF Holdings should be prepared to explain these “exact mechanisms” at the hearing, and also should be prepared to provide an accounting of the funds it has received from persons it has sued or threatened to sue for copyright violation based on allegedly illegal downloading of its adult titles.

    Either they are screwed when they don't answer this question, or they are screwed by the IRS CID when they do answer. (Or they perjure themselves, but that would never happen. Nah.)

  170. Bystander says:

    @kyser

    Well you can be sure that the consequences of not showing up at a deposition for some poor schmuck accused of bittorrenting porn would be severe.

  171. Jim Tyre says:

    This is not specific to Prenda, but I'm sure it will amuse many Popehat commenters:

    http://gigaom.com/2013/08/21/huffington-post-to-end-anonymous-comments/

    [...]

    “I feel that freedom of expression is given to people who stand up for what they say and not hiding behind anonymity,” [Arianna Huffington] said. “we need to evolve a platform to meet the needs of the grown-up Internet,” she said.

    [....]

  172. rsteinmetz70112 says:

    Does this mean Arianna Huffington will reveal her true identity?

  173. Matthew Cline says:

    AF Holdings should be prepared to explain why it represented that there were “no known persons, associations of persons, firms, partnerships, corporations (including parent corporations), or other entities (other than the parties themselves) that may have personal or affiliated financial interest in the subject

    Well, heck, that's easy:

    1) The trust has no interest because the money doesn't actually belong to it.

    2) Lutz's children have no interest because they don't exist.

    3) Lutz has no personal or affiliated interest because he doesn't actually plan on ever having any children.

    See? No one exists who has any interests in the money. Nothing to see here, move along. These are not the droids you're looking for.

  174. Palimpsest says:

    Is it fifth amendment time?

  175. James says:

    These are not the droids you're looking for.

    Matthew, please go back and read Judge Wright's opinion carefully. Prenda is a Star Trek meme, not a Star Wars meme.

  176. PonyMaster2k says:

    @James: The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few… or the one

  177. Christenson says:

    @Matthew, perfect characterization of the Prenda side! I'm sure Judge Wright would have applauded it.

  178. mcinsand says:

    I can't help but wonder if some of the key individuals, such as Lutz, might be developing a habit of looking over shoulders. Steele and Hansmeier, in particular, stand to lose a lot if courts keep following trails back to them. I would be shocked if they hadn't pondered the possible salvation of making all of the leads redirected to one of the sous-bussers, as well as how convenient it would be if the poor patsy was, erm, unable to talk. I know that, if I were Lutz or Duffy, I'd be considering hiring a guard and staying somewhere other than my home address.

  179. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Oh, amusing. Dugas wants out of Minnesota. But the judge isn't letting him:
    http://www.archive.org/download/gov.uscourts.mnd.126522/gov.uscourts.mnd.126522.30.0.pdf

    The Clerk of Court shall correct the docket to reflect that Mr. Michael K. Dugas remains counsel of record for the plaintiff. Although he filed a notice of withdrawal and substitution, his withdrawal was not effective upon filing under Local Rule 83.7(b) because it would delay the progress of this case.1 He signed the complaint to which the forged documents were attached. If Mr. Dugas wishes to withdraw as counsel of record for the plaintiff, he must proceed in accordance with Local Rule 83.7(c) and establish good cause to do so.

  180. Jim Tyre says:

    http://madisonrecord.com/news/258504-judge-sets-briefing-schedule-over-sanctions-petition-in-prenda-laws-libel-suit

    Judge sets briefing schedule over sanctions petition in Prenda Law’s libel suit
    August 22, 2013 12:14 PM
    By BETHANY KRAJELIS

    CHICAGO — A federal judge this week set the stage for potential sanctions in Prenda Law’s libel lawsuit.

    In a one-paragraph order issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge John Darrah set a Sept. 4 deadline for the defendants to file a Rule 11 petition. He also granted Prenda Law’s request to withdraw a motion to remand its suit back to St. Clair County.

    Rule 11 allows courts to impose sanctions on attorneys, law firms or parties if it is determined they made misrepresentations to the court.

    Chicago attorney Erin Kathryn Russell, who represents the defendants in the suit, said today that “when a judge invites a party to file a Rule 11 petition, it seems like the court believes misrepresentations have been made.”

    [....]

  181. Lucius says:

    In the Illinois case linked just above:

    Duffy added in the motion to withdraw that “Rather than renew its motion, Plaintiff intends to, at the appropriate time if any, amend its complaint to add Alpha Law Group LLC as a Plaintiff.”

    So Alpha Law Group is now the new name for Prenda? I seem to recall Hansmeier insisting that these shell companies are all totally independent entities. Yet they freely substitute one for another whenever convenient for them.

  182. whheydt says:

    Re: Lucius

    As I understand it (IANAL), one of the ways that you get transferred from a state court to Federal court is by having the two side "reside" in different states (aka "diversity"). The point of "Alpha Law Group" is that it is in the same state that Cooper and Godfread are. Duffy wants to add Alpha to get rid of diversity and go back to a (formerly?) friendly state court.

    At this point….I'm dubious that would work…but you know the gang that can't litigate straight…

  183. That Anonymous Coward says:

    @Lucius – IIRC and sometimes I do… Alpha was just that, one of the Alpha tests of their business 'model'. It preceded Pretenda being a thing.

  184. Basil Forthrightly says:

    The amusing thing about the diversity ploy is that Prenda was trying to add Minnesota company Alpha Law to a suit against Minnesota defendants Godfread and Cooper to "destroy diversity" and thereby move the case back to the East St. Louis area of Illinois, some 500 miles away from Minnesota.

  185. AlanF says:

    When a person fails to show up for a deposition, what generally happens?

  186. WDS says:

    @AlanF,

    I don't know, but I expect this. A while back Chintella tried to get a ruling that notifying apposing council was sufficient, without actually having to serve Lutz, since he is the sole officer of the plaintiff. The Judge declined because the courts don't give advisory rulings. Lutz will claim he was never served, so he had no idea anyone wanted to talk to him.

  187. WDS says:

    make that opposing council. That was with spell check.

  188. Delvan Neville says:

    While you're at it, make that opposing counsel. Honey Spellchecker don't care!

  189. AlanF says:

    I think apposing council would be a group of people who decide what things should be placed next to each other. :)

  190. That Anonymous Coward says:

    @AlanF – in adjoining cells.

  191. Matt says:

    Basil Forthrightly, or other lawyers / legal eagles –

    If Prenda's ploy to destroy diversity succeeds, wouldn't that give Cooper, Godfread, et al some kind of room to argue then that the case shouldn't be in St. Clair county (? I think), but somewhere in Minnesota, and basically get this suit (as is) maybe tossed (I didn't think you could change state courts, just change to Federal court or back depending on circumstances, i.e. diversity), and force Prenda to re-file in Minnesota?

  192. Lucius says:

    @Matt – At this point, Cooper and Godfread are probably happy to keep the case in the Illinois federal court.

    Fortunately, Duffy or his handlers finally realized that Prenda was sequencing everything too ineptly to succeed, and dropped the request for another change of courts.

    The judge there has invited sanctions against Prenda, and seems to understand that Prenda plays games to shop for the friendliest court that will not ask too many questions. As in other courts, the Illinois federal court seems to have progressed past the weak defamation suit against Cooper and Godfried in an attempt to silence them, and on to sanctions against Prenda.

    From the point of view of everyone except Prenda, this all seems good so far.

  193. James says:

    @Matt Federal courts either have jurisdiction over a case or they don't. If the federal court rules that there isn't diversity then their involvement ends there and it is up to the state courts to relinquish the case in favor of a Minnesota court.

    However, the 7th Circuit is wise to the ways of forum shopping especially as it relates to the continuing embarrassment that is St. Clair country. Adding a second plaintiff at the 11th hour to a case that has properly been removed has been tried before with the result that the case was sent back to federal court.

  194. New filing in the Patel case. Doc 67 is by Nazaire, and continues the persecution theme.
    This time He's asking that the judge throw out ALL the subpoenas, because they're 'deficient' in his opinion, but also because:
    10. In addition to the facial defects of the subpoenas, these subpoenas should be quashed because the “Google” and “Comcast” subpoenas are issued for the sole purpose of gathering information of third parties and the undersigned and putting them in display on such websites as “techdirt”, “dietrolldie” and “Popehat”.

    … Which is totally different from gathering information of third parties and putting them on display on such websites as "prendalaw".

    Also, what amuses me is later he claims there's a local rule11 violation (identification of counsel) because Blair hasn't listed his Fax number. I guess this is because in the July hearing a good 5-10 minutes was spent questioning Mr Nazaire why things like the complaint carried SOMEONE ELSES contact info.

    Fun fun.

  195. Christenson says:

    Yall have been neglecting that Comcast got cold feet on the subpoenae, didn't pay attention to the law, and Chintilla has filed a motion for contempt. No wonder they wanted copyright on their productions!

    It wouldn't do to have people aware that a court could compel their ISP to produce their name, now that this is public, now would it??? (note evil grin on my face).

    http://ia601600.us.archive.org/7/items/gov.uscourts.gand.188990/gov.uscourts.gand.188990.docket.html

    See docket # 63.

  196. darthskeptic says:

    Prenda's response re issue preclusion is in.

    http://ia601208.us.archive.org/1/items/gov.uscourts.mnd.126524/gov.uscourts.mnd.126524.54.0.pdf

    Filled with attempts to draw out minute distinctions like:

    "While the Los Angeles court referenced the “Alan Cooper
    forgery,” it did not find that the Alan Cooper issue constituted a fraud on the court. See id. Instead, the Los Angeles court found that the Alan Cooper issue, “smacked of fraud.” Id" (page 15)

  197. James says:

    Judge Wright's opinion has been quoted in many subsequent cases, and not to Prenda's advantage. By nit-picking each and every item from the Los Angeles case, aren't they inviting the judge to set a hearing where all of this can be dredged up fresh and risk having yet another set of findings on record? As there is no way to know what a second judge might put in his ruling that seems reckless in the extreme. The phrase "Thank you sir, may I have another" comes to mind.

  198. Christenson says:

    Thank you sir, may I have another! indeed…all that shiny new evidence and discovery from Georgia about seeding the honeypot if you don't want to preclude the issue!!!!

  199. Resolute says:

    Hmm. Is the "we didn't plead the fifth to avoid incriminating ourselves, but rather to protect attorney-client privilege" a new angle for them? I'm actually impressed at how creative these guys can get as their desperation increases.

    If I am reading page 13 of that complaint right, they are also whining that it is unfair for Noel to inquire himself if the Prendateers committed a fraud on the court by submitting forged documents because Wright's court didn't sufficiently answer that question. It is rather cute that they are trying to dismiss Wright's findings and use them as a defence at the same time in the same document. They continue on basically arguing "that depends on what your definition of 'is' is."

    As to the "substantial new evidence", I like the "Because U.S. Marine!" part. It's not quite as lulz inducing as "Because Gay Marriage", but is in the same ballpark.

  200. Lucius says:

    Prenda can use the fifth amendment if it fits "nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself". I don't see "attorney-client" privilege in that phrase. Would violating a client confidence be a criminal matter at all? It seems this would be necessary to make a Fifth Amendment claim even remotely justified on this basis.

    Even if violating a client confidence were criminal, the court can't compel an attorney to commit a criminal act.

    IANAL, but I can see this will be fun to read. Hansmeier is more polished than the blundering Duffy, but the extra verbiage produces even more obviously-flawed arguments to highlight.

  201. Lucius says:

    Ah, I now see a plausible use of the Fifth Amendment to protect attorney-client privilege. If the client is guilty of criminal acts, the attorney speaking for him might refuse to disclose those criminal acts under the Fifth Amendment.

    However, if the criminal act is that the attorney controls the shell-company client but failed to disclose it as a fraud on the court, the attorney would be the criminal. In this case, he might take the Fifth to protect himself, but it would not be because of attorney-client privilege as Hansmeier states.

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