Another Hammer Drops On Prenda Law

All of Popehat's Prenda coverage is collected here.

Last month I used up all the ones and zeroes in order to describe the trouble Prenda Law and the Prendateers are in across America. Could it get worse? Of course it could get worse. Today it did.

As you may recall, United States Magistrate Judge Franklin L. Noel reopened several closed Prenda cases in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota to explore whether Prenda had committed fraud at the court. After a hearing that will render Thanksgiving dinners at the Steele household forever awkward, Team Prenda attempted to disqualify Magistrate Judge Noel based on extravagant accusations of bias. You know, because that worked out so well for them with Judge Wright.

Today Magistrate Judge Noel dropped another hammer on Team Prenda. Unlike Judge Wright, he didn't dress up his order with Star Trek references. Team Prenda probably wishes he had.

The order is here. It's ugly for Team Prenda. After reciting the procedural history — and noting the growing array of judges that have sanctioned Team Prenda — Judge Noel made factual findings:


  • He "expressly disbelieves [John] Steele’s testimony" that Steele heard Alan Cooper give Mark Lutz permission to sign Cooper's name to copyright assignments.
  • He found that even though he had ordered Team Prenda to produce someone who could testify directly that the copyright assignments were valid — that is, whoever signed them —  that they "failed to produce an officer who was capable of testifying to the authenticity of each copyright assignment agreement."  He noted "the recent pattern of Lutz failing to appear when he is scheduled to testify under oath."
  • He described Alan Cooper's testimony — that Cooper never gave anyone permission to sign his name, and that Cooper didn't know his name was being used – and concluded that he "finds Cooper’s testimony credible."

This will be extremely difficult for Prenda to attack. A judge's evaluation of the credibility of witnesses at a hearing is entitled to great deference on any appeal.

From there, Magistrate Judge Noel made conclusions of law:

The copyright-assignment agreements attached as Exhibit B to each complaint in each of these five cases are not what they purport to be. Alan Cooper denies signing either agreement and also denies giving anyone else the authority to sign them on his behalf. AF Holdings failed to produce any credible evidence that the assignments were authentic. The Court has been the victim of a fraud perpetrated by AF Holdings, LLC. The Court concludes that the appropriate remedy for this fraud is to require AF Holdings to return all of the settlement money it received from all of the Defendants in these cases, and to pay all costs and fees (including attorneys’ fees) incurred by the Defendants. After all settlement payments are returned and other fees are paid, all five cases should be dismissed on the merits, with prejudice. [emphasis added]

Echoing Judge Wright, Magistrate Judge Noel left the rest up to other authorities:

The Court further concludes that, once all of the ill-gotten gains are fully disgorged from AF Holdings, it would not be a wise use of the Court’s limited resources to sua sponte attempt to fully untangle the relationship between Hansmeier, Steele, Duffy, Dugas, Lutz and Prenda Law, on the one hand—and the Plaintiff, AF Holdings, LLC., on the other. Such investigation can more effectively be conducted by federal and state law enforcement at the direction of the United States Attorney, the Minnesota Attorney General and the Boards of Professional Responsibility in the jurisdictions where the attorneys involved in this apparent scheme are licensed to practice law.

The judge also denied Mr. Cooper's motion to intervene in the case (as his decision rendered it moot) and denied as meritless the motion to disqualify him.

Savor this, from the ending summary of action ordered:

3. The Clerk of Court shall send a copy of this order to the following individuals and entities for the purpose of further investigation:

A. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota. ATTN: John R. Marti, Acting United States Attorney. Address: U.S. Courthouse, 300 S. 4th St., Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55415.

B. The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office. ATTN: Lori Swanson, Attorney General. Address: 1400 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota St., St. Paul, MN 55101.

C. The Minnesota Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board, Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility. Address: 1500 Landmark Towers, 345 St. Peter St., St. Paul 55102.

D. The Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois. Address: 130 E. Randolph Dr., Ste. 1500, Chicago, IL 60601-6219.

The wheels turn slowly, friends, but make no mistake, the wheels turn. The wheels are grinding down Team Prenda, and doing so faster and faster every month. With two different federal judges referring the matter to state bars and the U.S. Attorney's office, the probability of bar investigations and federal grand jury investigations approaches certainty.

Last 5 posts by Ken White


  1. Jim Tyre says

    Could it get worse? Of course it could get worse. Today it did.

    Of course, Judge Noel being a Magistrate Judge, the Prendanistas can always hope that the District Judge will countermand his order.

    When pigs fly.

  2. Dark Moe says

    I have just placed an ad on Craiglist for a fat lady who can sing. Already I have eight potential applicants and a reject from a well-known TV talent show.

  3. BullsLawDan says

    Huh. Federal Judges don't like being used as tools in a criminal enterprise.

    Who would have guessed?

  4. JP says

    The Court concludes that the appropriate remedy for this fraud is to require AF Holdings to return all of the settlement money it received from all of the Defendants in these cases, and to pay all costs and fees (including attorneys’ fees) incurred by the Defendants.

    Since 'Defendants' are called out and capitalized, does this order apply only those who went to trial (5 cases?), or everyone that settled long before the trial stage? That could be the difference between a few thousand dollars and $2 Million, no?

  5. Myk says

    It is referring to the Defendants in the 5 re-opened cases. Although Judge Noel only mentions the settlement figures for 4/5,; anyone know about the 5th?

  6. Sharon says

    Holy … wow.

    The "give the money back and pay expenses" may have been just for the four cases that settled and not however many dozens they contacted outside of the court, but those findings are killer.

    *wonders if O'Kelley in Georgia will manage to top this*

  7. z! says

    Such investigation can more effectively be conducted by federal and state law enforcement […]

    That'll leave a mark. A rather large mark.

  8. OngChotwI says

    Would someone who was keeping better track of things be able to explain why with Cooper jumping up and down saying, "that's not my sig!" that Judge Noel would ignore that – and then change his mind about listening to Cooper after other judges used Cooper in their findings?

  9. says

    *wonders if O'Kelley in Georgia will manage to top this*

    Well, since we've heard nothing from him in months, who knows. Since the June 2 hearing, we've had the minute notice, the judicial notice statement, the discovery extension, and the 'quiet for now' order. That's it. No rulings on any of the motions.
    That includes the fact that when he gave the 60-day discovery deadline, he said we'd be looking at another hearing, probably in October. It's now November, and we've heard nothing.

    Of course, he was pretty scathing of AF Holding's attorney (as you'll see when the transcript becomes public later this month)

  10. James says

    The Court expressly disbelieves Steele’s testimony in this regard.

    I think this quote is suitable for framing. Perhaps this would make a nice Christmas present if printed on a tea towel for John's mother-in-law.

    As for the judge dropping the hammer on Prenda, I think Lowe's must have had a tool sale or something cause he brought a really big hammer. If other judges order Prenda to return all the settlement monies due to fraud on the court this could get even more messy than it already is. We know that figure is at least $1.9 million thanks to Gibbs, and when you add in fees and expenses . . . it get to be a really big number.

    @OngChotwI The judge did not ignore Cooper, he credited the testimony. The motion to intervene was denied because Cooper has another case already pending that will let him recover his damages in THAT case, so no need to hear it twice.

  11. That Anonymous Coward says

    boom goes the dynamite

    Hey Pretenda… I think I told you to run once, a long time ago.
    Maybe you should have listened.
    Oops there goes another rubber tree, oops there goes another rubber tree, oops there goes another rubber tree plant.

  12. norahc says

    boom goes the dynamite

    Hey Pretenda… I think I told you to run once, a long time ago.
    Maybe you should have listened.
    Oops there goes another rubber tree, oops there goes another rubber tree, oops there goes another rubber tree plant.

    "Boom goes the dynamite" should be the name of the book about Prenda…and be required reading in law school.

  13. AlphaCentauri says

    Think the studios would make it a major motion picture if everyone promised not to pirate it? ;)

  14. Ed Clarke says

    Many of you reading this blog are lawyers. I ask you to consider exactly what these people (Prenda/AF/etc.) have done to the reputation of your profession. Between uploading gay porn to a public space so that you may sue anyone who looks – to having your wife join a class action and then representing her to object to a settlement unless you are paid what is in effect protection money – Prenda and/or the individual lawyers involved have really made a mockery of the entire concept of justice.

    It's fun to laugh at them finally getting caught, but at this point I sort of feel like I'm laughing at a dumb excuse for rape. Their actions have seriously weakened the confidence that many people used to have in the justice system. The damage that was done to the nation as a whole is probably more than the damage that idiot who shot the TSA agent did ( although that is an individual tragedy ).

    This is really a horrible situation and has long since ceased to be funny.

  15. Dormammu says

    I think the chance of the Defendants getting their money back is close to nil. If Gibbs' document is accurate, Steele & Hansmeier drained the bulk of the money for themselves and deny being part of AF. That's the most likely reason they set up the shell in the first place. Depending on where they stashed the money after they sucked it out, it may be next to impossible to recover it for the victims of Prenda's fraud.

  16. Trebuchet says

    At what point do the US Marshalls start hunting for Mark Lutz?

    I'm thinking they'll need to bring some cadaver dogs.

  17. nlp says

    I'm thinking they'll need to bring some cadaver dogs.

    I've been wondering if his body is going to be found floating off Miami Beach. Isn't that where Steele last saw him?

  18. snjwffl says

    What exactly is involved in a referral to the USAO/AG/IRS/bar associations/etc.? I thought it just means a letter or phone call along the lines of "would you look into these jackasses for me?", but it seems to be something more formal (in the Wright case, Prenda keeps asking for the referrals to be stayed or rescinded, which would be pointless if referrals were something as informal as I'm thinking).

    I'm thinking they'll need to bring some cadaver dogs.

    Do you seriously think that Steele and company are competent enough to keep a body hidden for this long?

  19. norahc says

    I wonder how long it will be before somebody contacts the NSA and asks for the alleged phone call between Cooper and Lutz that was arranged by Steele.

    Would Steele still be singing the same tune if that call recording still existed?

    And yes, I know it will never happen.

  20. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Ed Clarke – It was heterosexual porn.
    There might have been girl on girl action, I have no idea.

    The trolls who worked (and some are still working) gay porn are still out there. I was fighting them before S|H was even a thing, and I keep fighting them. They are much more quiet now, but I still keep a watchful eye on them.

    Malibu Media has made allegations of CP and Bestiality porn in their cases in unsealed documents submitted to courts to make people pay up faster. They have YET to get what is coming to them.

    Now there are the direct to DVD and D-Grade movies that are trying to cash in on these types of cases.

    The anti-troll community does what it can, but FFS it is time that courts finally wake up to this growing scourge sweeping the nation.

    We might disagree on copyright law but can we agree that handing them the ability to demand $150,000 from a target for content that one can buy for $3 might encourage this sort of thing?

  21. MCB says

    Who knew the EFF's influence was so vast?

    One wonders how long the bar proceedings will last. That may be the best bet to see some punishment before the criminal case(s).

  22. That Anonymous Coward says

    @snjwffl – I think the letter reads along the lines of..
    I'm a Federal Judge, and these people committed fraud upon my court. It appears this is NOT an isolated incident and for the Justice system to function people need faith in it. Please investigate and see what charges should be brought.

    The Judge can only do so much within the boundaries of the law, he needs to refer them to those who bring cases before Judges/review boards/etc.

  23. MCB says


    In that sense Prenda have done you a favor. The expansion of copyright law has been fueled, in part, by the perception that the battle is between legitimate businesses and thieves. Prenda has demonstrated that these laws are also useful tools for unscrupulous huxters.

    I am not a fan of strict liability or statutory damages for these cases. But the courts cannot really fix that; it's a question for Congress.

  24. norahc says


    Couldn't the courts affect how these cases proceed by strictly enforcing 17 U.S.C. 504(c)(1) and making the plaintiff disclose how much they've received in settlements in order to accurately calculate how much they could recover in statutory damages from the remaining defendants?

  25. AlphaCentauri says

    @TAC, Has Malibu Media then implied that they distribute CP?

    Is the paperwork that proves that actors/actresses were of legal age public, or does a law enforcement officer need to get a subpoena? Is there some equivalent of a qui tam case that could be brought by a concerned third party who sees a company bringing a suit for pirating CP that they hold copyright on and calls bullshit for a fainting couch?

  26. says


    No, TAC refers to the infamous "Exhibit C", for which Malibu Media/X-Art now faces the ire of the EFF.

    (For those who are not familiar with Ex. C, it was an unsealed exhibit they would attach to the complaint with a long list of other, unrelated torrents they had seen the guy torrenting. This often involved porn much more hardcore than what X-Art produces.)

  27. Another anonymous NAL says

    Another Prenda update? SQUEEEE! *dances and claps hands*

    The schadenfreude is mighty tasty today. One can only wonder what Thanksgiving at various Prendateer households will look this year My personal vision features a group of turkeys, feasting on crow.

    As more and more cans of whoopa$$ get opened, the whereabouts of Mark Lutz seem more and more suspicious…time to breakout the photos on milk cartons, and an APB or two, methinks.

  28. says

    Is the paperwork that proves that actors/actresses were of legal age public, or does a law enforcement officer need to get a subpoena?

    Proof of age is required to be kept by the custodian of records for each pron producer, and is available upon request.

    Update: Scratch that, Sec 2257 says they have to make them available to the Attorney General

  29. BPFH says

    You know, that order might have been about as close as I've ever seen a judge get to saying, "Excuse me, counselor, but your pants are on fire."

  30. That Anonymous Coward says

    @MCB – Pretenda screwed themselves when they sued the community. I'd been carrying on about these parasitic *string of profanity goes here* for a REALLY long time… but I have a name and an avatar people can't seem to look past. I work twice as hard to get half ahead, but I was making progress.

    Then I got sued in 3 courts along with what was going to be thousands of people. Suddenly people took more of an interest in what was being said, the evidence we had, the dissection we did… and oh hey these ARE parasitic *string of profanity*.

    Now the names of the people in the community are getting to be well known. We ARE the experts on copyright trolling, and despite "interesting" names and avatars people listen.

    The courts can and should have done something different.
    Joinder is incorrectly applied.
    Subpoenas before any actual evidence, subpoenas given on films with NO COPYRIGHT REGISTRATION. (sorry sore spot)
    There has NEVER been an outside technical analysis of ANY system used to "catch" infringers.
    Personal Jurisdiction was ignored.
    Oh and every Judge who gave the lawyers a pass after suspecting something was wrong, and NEVER EVER gave a break to the accused.
    Beryll Howell… 'nuff said.
    Ignoring the rules of procedure allowing things to linger on dockets for 6,7,8,12 months and not making them serve anyone to move the case forward.
    They SHOULD have done more.
    The inaction and permissive joinder for actions that never were adjudicated has cost the court system millions… and the community passes the hat to get the filings out of PACER so we can defend Does.

    So I feel there is much more the courts could have, should have done in these cases… and a few of them being enforced would have slowed this crap down and we might have killed it sooner.

    @AlphaCentauri – indirectly they are accusing the Does of distributing CP. Its BitTorrent baby, you download/upload at the same time. This also means that a lawfirm, officers of the court, had reasonable suspicion that someone was involved in the distribution of CP… and all they did was attach it to a filing for crappy XART porn. Unless of course there was no suspicion… because they know their case is bogus. Aren't officers of the court obligated to bring serious matters like these to the attention of the authorities? And let us not forget the public admission by the crying porn starlet who isn't out to hurt anyone (even in the face of a letter form her lawyers shaking down a man they KNEW was innocent… they demanded he pay or they would just run his bills up) that she used to infringe music on Napster. Wheres the RIAA when I need them…

    @MCB 1 – You missed the T in TAC, and 2 – I've actually offered to speak with companies who are being infringed upon. See I'm the anti-christ in their view… but I know consumers. I know how to market, I know how to leverage BT into more sales. I know that burning your own brand to the ground for a few hundred bucks (because hey the lawyers get the lions share of the cash) is freaking stupid. That sometimes a polite word can stop your content from getting online. That sometimes you can release content for 'free' and you get more business from it. So far… no ones taken me up on it, and seem determined to destroy their brands… and I'll help by outing every dirty trick their lawyers use.

  31. Daniel Neely says


    Law school curriculum covers cases where right and wrong are ambiguous so that students learn exactly where the line id. Staggeringly blatant abuse like what the Pretendtards have done is more properly the subject of late night beer sessions. "You think that was bad, well have you heard about …"

  32. zilong555 says

    @norahc – If a court does order them to disclose how much in total they got from settlements, I predict that they will each say, "I don't know, ask ____."

  33. Trent says

    Depending on where they stashed the money after they sucked it out, it may be next to impossible to recover it for the victims of Prenda's fraud.

    The IRS will find it, they will get their taxes, their interest and penalties and people will be hauled into IRS court and likely put in prison for failing to declare it.

    If there is one thing in life you should fear it's being hauled before the special tax courts where you are guilty unless you can prove yourself innocent. Everything about those courts is stacked against you and if the Judge even thinks there is even a drop of evidence indicating you did it intentionally you'll end up in jail. They routinely put wealthy, famous and well connected people in Federal prison for multiple years for failing to pay taxes.

    The wheels of justice turn slowly but everyone should be afraid when IRS CID starts looking into things. And they will find the money, even if Steele/Hansmeijer moved it off shore and hid it in some third world bank. You simply can't hide money from the IRS if they know where it originated and it stays in the banking system (the only way I know to hide it from them is to put it into cash or cash equivalents, but even then they can follow it to the cash conversion which becomes evidence of tax fraud).

  34. Delvan says

    @AlphaCentauri: Not-a-lawyer answer: They're required to publicly mention somewhere on the site where the records regarding the age of performers is kept, but its only via the Attorney General that those records can actually be requested. It's 18 USC § 2257.

    The only reason I know anything about § 2257 it is that Naughty Hotties (Steele | Hansmeier PLLCs site according to Comcast) was lacking that requirement for a while, but they fixed that by the time I was making a record of the site.

    While Malibu is big on producing teen porn, to my knowledge they aren't using minors for any of that. They rely on Exhibit C "look what else we claim you downloaded" to accuse Does of downloading the illegal stuff.

  35. Daniel Neely says


    It's morally dubious; but the feds do have ways to get imprisoned felons to "voluntarily" surrender money that they either managed to hide under an off shore rock or funneled to friends/family members who weren't involved in the crime and whose bank accounts can't be hoovered empty as a result. They put the prisoner in the most unpleasant level prison they can and then let it be known that they'll approve a transfer to a minimum security location and/or no longer oppose granting parole if the remainder of the money they're chasing after is surrendered. It's not fool-proof some dirtbags (eg Bernie Maddoff) refuse to break and continue rotting in a hellhole; but I doubt any of the Prendtards are willing to do hard time for the sake of Lutz's unborn children.

  36. Mike says

    Andrew Norton (@ktetch) • Nov 6, 2013 @6:12 pm

    The bigger question is when these payouts are going to start…

    Apart from the bond, there's been no outlay

    I believe Steele already had to pony up on Pietz's attorneys fees for the "It's called copy and paste" motion to reconsider quagmire.

  37. Daniel Neely says

    I'm curious where the US Attorney General's motivation in almost always going after people referred to them by judges typically lies? Moral outrage: "How dare they mess with my court." Cold blooded pragmatism: "My job's easier when someone else has already done the first part of proving they're guilty for me." Or naked cynicism: "If I take down the dirtbag who pissed off Judge X; he'll owe me a big favor I can cash in later."

  38. MCB says


    I like AC better. It reminds me of Alan Cooper and the good old days of Slashdot.

    I think even if the courts were more skeptical–and this case will probably make some judges more skeptical–statutory damages and strict liability will likely still be tempting for lawyers. I will say that it is worth remembering the incredible variety of matters that courts have to deal with. When you give litigants tools those tools will be used both by those with unimpeachable ethical standards and by the more ethically challenged.

    I am not a huge fan of the current implementation of copyright laws. I am not Richard Stallman: I do not have an ethical objection to the concept of copyright in general. Also, I don't have any phobias of parrots. But, I don't see any reason for the terms to be so long, for accidental copying to be actionable, and for plaintiffs to not have to prove damages. Change those three things and most of the mess would go away.

  39. says

    grouch – the RIAA had a bit more evidence (fasttrack/KaZaA was easier to get more information on), didn't falsify documents (in some cases) and weren't running a shell game to obscure attorney-client relationships (or inability to have them), and they didn't stick the songs on the networks for people to download.

    and their guys showed up in court, and didn't argue with judges or plead the 5th, or vanish mid-case.

  40. Kat says

    I had no idea that things had progressed to this point with the Prenda cases–I basically didn't bother to catch up past a certain point once you took a break from covering them. It's amusing to see how big of a train wreck it's become!

  41. That Anonymous Coward says

    @MCB – TAC grew out of my time on TechDirt. I started posting as an AC, the sites default name for anonymous commenters. An insult on the site was oh its THAT AC. I took the name and started redeeming it.
    I think I did something right…
    If you peep the 2nd one (which is chronologically the first one) you'll see I called Steele out before Pretenda launched.

    As to copyright law-
    Terms are much to long.

    We allow them to veto technological advancement because they can imagine how it might somehow cost them money.

    They need to separate commercial and non-commercial infringement.
    2x or even 5x the retail value is enough penalty for non-commercial infringement. (and makes them get the product out to meet market demand, not some abstract chart designed to maximize every cent waiting for VOD cash, then Asia release, then EU, then…)

    Much of the infringed content isn't actually available in the market when the infringement starts.

  42. Robin Bobcat says

    *peers mournfully at the bottom of an empty popcorn bucket* Dangit, I can't pop this stuff fast enough…

    I am curious though – has Prenda done ANYTHING that wasn't shady? I mean, it seems like every single thing they have done is somehow dubious, dishonest, or outright illegal. Have they done any action, won any case, even filed a single piece of paper that did not have the stench of lies and fraud upon it?

    As for the hammer, I do believe that the one used was in fact mighty Mjolnir.

  43. Katherine/Kat Anon/Simality says

    BTW, Ken, I do so love the file names you choose for various orders and what not. "BOOM–headshot" indeed.

  44. azazel1024 says

    All these hammers dropping. Its like a railroad car filled with hammers derailed and tipped over a bridge.

    Its aweeeeeeesome.

    Its too bad the judge didn't order (or couldn't?) all settlements related to the copyrights in question restored to anyone who paid one.

    Now that would be a good hard thwacking on the backside (even though I am sure Prenda couldn't manage to do that).

  45. cdru says

    @Daniel Neely – You forgot "it's their job to do so".

    The fact that it comes from someone with inherent authority as an officer of the court, that has to add additional weight to bypass the "ok, is there something fishy here?" stage and move to the "there's something definitely wrong here, how do we prove it" stage.

  46. chalker says

    Longtime lurker here with a suggestion: It appears that sometime in the not too distant future, there will likely be criminal charges / IRS CID / other TLA sanctions involved. And because there is a nexus of 'hot topics' (porn! million of dollars! fraud! thousands of victims!) there will likely be press conferences / releases announcing the charges.

    It's likely main stream media will pick up on these and want to run stories / articles, which will be prime spots for prepared soundbites or big picture summaries. In preparing those stories / articles, they will likely do Google searches on key words like Prenda and AF Holdings, which will likely lead them to sites like PopeHat, Techdirt, DTD, Ars, etc.

    This will be a perfect opportunity to not just get some media exposure, but to also put forth some of the very good suggestions on how to revise things like copyright law to prevent these types of abuses in the future.

    Thus my suggestion is that bloggers on sites like this should think about putting up summary postings that would serve as a quick guidebook to anyone new to the story. Those should include links to background postings, explanations of why what's been going on is unethical / immoral / illegal, and also recommendations for policymakers / the public to change the system.

  47. That Anonymous Coward says

    @azazel1024 – the Judge could only make orders for the cases before him, however his findings of fact can be introduced into other districts.
    I've been calling it fraud for a long time, a Judge won't take me that seriously.
    However another Judge making that finding, and supporting it with all of those facts… they tend to listen.
    Now it is just a matter of finding a victim so they can file a complaint before a previous Judge and then those involved in that action can be made whole again.

  48. sta says

    I used to do a lot of federal practice in MN and appeared in front of Mag. Noel quite a bit. He has this thing he does with one hand when he's talking that looks like he's conjuring a fireball. Looks like he let loose with one of those on the Prendaricans

    He's been a magistrate longer than most of our judges have been on the bench. He's a VERY good judge. He's been at this longer than Judge Erickson. This order won't be reversed by her.

    He also bears an uncanny resemblance to Alfalfa from the Li'l Rascals.

  49. WDS says

    @Daniel Neely – I think it might fall under the pragmatism category, but more along the lines of "I depend on this guy and his friends for much of what I do, I want him to be happy with me."

  50. rsteinmetz70112 says

    At what point do the US Marshalls start hunting for Mark Lutz?

    What makes you think they haven't found him and are the ones keeping him from testifying because he is telling them the truth?

  51. says

    @Ed Clarke:

    I ask you to consider exactly what these people (Prenda/AF/etc.) have done to the reputation of your profession.

    Prenda et all have no more harmed the reputation of "all lawyers" than OJ Simpson harmed the reputation of "all African Americans" or Bernie Madoff harmed the reputation of "all Jews".

    People are individuals. Pick any set and you'll find sinners and saints.

  52. rsteinmetz70112 says


    Malibu has purportedly threatened to call the cops to accuse their victims of kiddy porn. Since the victim does not have proof that the model is over 18 that might make it difficult.

  53. Christenson says

    @Magistrate Noel:
    Thanks for helping me make a killing in popcorn futures! (just kidding). You do know that the Eckenrode affidavit, even if it is moot, has this smell about it….the peanut gallery, especially THAT Anonymous Coward, and myself, don't think it is authentic, given the provenance through Steele with all the quibbling.

    Prepare yourself to find out that *none* of the ill-gotten gains have been disgorged on the 20th!

  54. says


    "all these hammers dropping"

    Cool video.

    I can't resist dropping in some blacksmithing nerdom.

    What you're watching there is a "hammer team" or a "striker team".

    Usually it's done with one master smith signalling each blow with a hand held hammer and the strikers (assistants) banging where he indicated. There's a whole vocabulary of hammer taps, calls, etc. to start the action, speed it up, slow it down, etc.

    I've done it a few times, and it's exhilarating when it works well (as it does here).

    Only the older gentleman at the right hand side of the video is weilding his sledgehammer correctly: his upper hand is sliding down to meet his lower as he works.

    The thing that they're hammering the work into is a swage block and the internet – of course– has an entire website devoted to collecting them and sharing information about them.

  55. Matt says


    He has this thing he does with one hand when he's talking that looks like he's conjuring a fireball. Looks like he let loose with one of those on the Prendaricans

    More like a hadouken, methinks :)

  56. Resolute says

    “Did you hear Mr. Cooper give Mr. Lutz authority
    or permission to sign his name to documents?” Steele replied “yes.” Id. at 7:9-11.
    The Court expressly disbelieves Steele’s testimony in this regard.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but did Noel not just accuse Steel of perjury?

  57. Jim Tyre says

    And now back in LA:

    United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
    Notice of Docket Activity

    The following transaction was entered on 11/07/2013 at 8:10:28 AM PST and filed on 11/07/2013
    Case Name: Ingenuity13 LLC v. John Doe
    Case Number: 13-55871

    Document(s): Document(s)

    Docket Text:
    Filed order (Appellate Commissioner): On October 30, 2013, the district court granted appellant’s motion for an indicative ruling. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 62.1(a)(3); Fed. R. App. P. 12.1. Accordingly, appellant’s request for a limited remand is granted. See Crateo v. Intermark, 536 F.2d 862 (9th Cir. 1976). This appeal is remanded to the district court for the limited purpose of enabling the district court to consider appellant’s motion to vacate the May 6, 2013 order imposing sanctions on appellant. Within 60 days after the filing date of this order or within 7 days of the district court’s ruling on appellant’s motion to vacate, whichever occurs first, appellant shall file: (1) a report on the status of the district court proceedings and a motion for appropriate relief or (2) the opening brief. The filing of the opening brief or the failure to file a report will terminate the limited remand. If the opening brief is filed, the answering and optional reply briefs shall be filed in accordance with the time limits set forth in Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 31(a). Appellant’s request for dismissal is denied without prejudice to renewal after resolution of this limited remand. The Clerk shall serve this order on the district court judge. SM/ (MOATT) [8853936] (WL)

  58. Shiro says

    This has all the makings of a TV Movie. Especially when they find the Lutz's body dumped in the Salt Marsh.

  59. Nezrite says

    I know this is like talking about Christmas before Memorial Day, but someday there will be an "after Prenda." And then, to quote Dr. Valentin Narcisse, "What will we do, Mr. White? What will we do?"

  60. Regular Guy says

    @rsteinmetz70112: Threatening criminal prosecution to gain an advantage in civil litigation is a big no-no.

  61. Christenson says

    Mr White can clearly re-fill his bit bucket with ones and zeros so he doesn't run out again….I have this strange feeling that troll Nicolletti is next….somehow I don't think the pony menace will reach the top of the list any time soon, because in any large population (lawyers) there will always be a few scumbags.

  62. Trebuchet says

    On the bright side for Prenda, there was no referral to the Deming NM police.

    I've been waiting with bated breath for a Clark or Ken post about that one!

  63. Dan says


    Gibbs asked Wright to say that, if Wright got the case back, Wright would remove the monetary sanction from Gibbs. Wright did so. Gibbs then asked the Ninth Circuit to send the case back to Wright so that Wright could take that action. The document filed by the Ninth Circuit this morning is the Ninth Circuit agreeing to do that.

  64. MEP says

    I know it's been said before, and it may even be getting old, but all I can really think about this development is, "Welcome to the big leagues." I really think it's all that needs to be said.

  65. Lagaya1 says

    Since the court has ordered the repayment of only the "5 Defendants", can others harmed in the same way by Prenda start a class action suit to regain their money and costs; and it that likely to happen?

    Not a lawyer, but I would assume "yes" and "yes".

  66. rsteinmetz70112 says

    @Regular Guy

    So? Does that mean it doesn't/didn't happen?

    From an Interview on ZD,

    Of course if we really wanted to be dicks about this, we can just file a complaint against you with your local police department and tell them we believe you are posting pictures of children under the age of eighteen.

    Since you obviously don't have a model release and have no way of proving her age, you'd be in hot water. You might not go to jail for it, but it would seriously fuck up your life.

    Of course this doesn't prove it happened, only that he thought about it.

  67. Jim Tyre says


    Thanks for giving a good answer to the question Richard put to me.

    Unsurprisingly, it took Gibbs about an hour to go back to Judge Wright with the Ninth Circuit order. I haven't actually looked at what he filed, if only because it seems obvious and I don't have the time, but here's the Notice of Electronic Filing:

    Notice of Electronic Filing

    The following transaction was entered by Gibbs, Brett on 11/7/2013 at 11:04 AM PST and filed on 11/7/2013
    Case Name: Ingenuity13 LLC v. John Doe
    Case Number: 2:12-cv-08333-ODW-JC

    Filer: Brett L Gibbs
    WARNING: CASE CLOSED on 01/28/2013
    Document Number: 244

    Docket Text:
    REQUEST for Order for Notice of Remand and Request for Order Vacating Monetary Sanctions Against Movant Brett L. Gibbs filed by Movant Brett L Gibbs. (Attachments: # (1) Exhibit A – Ninth Circuit November 7, 2013 Order, # (2) Proposed Order)(Gibbs, Brett)

  68. Myk says


    People are individuals. Pick any set and you'll find sinners and saints.

    I'll take "The Criminally Insane" for $100, thanks Johnny.

  69. rsteinmetz70112 says

    Gibbs now want a get out of jail free card from Wright. What are the odds of that? What will Wright do?

    Seems to me Gibbs' only remorse so far is getting caught and thrown under the bus. He has not really even apologized for being taken in.

    It seems he is at least responsible for not checking out the cases he was hired to handle, and likely knew more than he has fessed up to.

  70. David Lang says

    Judge Wright has said that if the case is remanded to him, he would let Gibbs off the hook as far as the 'jointly and severable' bond. That's why the appeals court remanded it back.

    so what we expect to see is Judge Wright letting Gibbs off the hook for those penalties, but since Gibbs explicitly did not ask for relief from the investigations, those will continue.

  71. Apotropaist says

    I don't think Gibbs is getting away with much by being let off from the monetary part of the sanctions. If you look at the larger picture, he doesn't have the red ink on his hands that Prenda does. Even if he did screw up a little while he worked for them, he is showing his willingness to try to make amends and also bring the real fraudsters down, which sets him apart from the others. He still faces bar investigations, etc. that sounds to me like real and forgive able contrition.

  72. Black Betty says


    "Do you seriously think that Steele and company are competent enough to keep a body hidden for this long?"

    Being from the Gulf Coast, I can tell you…they wouldn't need to "hide the body". Especially in Florida. Three words: Gators, Hogs and Sharks. Pick your poison.

    Just sayin'.

  73. Anony Mouse says

    Prenda et all have no more harmed the reputation of "all lawyers" than OJ Simpson harmed the reputation of "all African Americans" or Bernie Madoff harmed the reputation of "all Jews".

    Moreover, it's not like lawyers were universally loved before this all happened. I mean, they have a higher approval rating than Congress, but so does jock itch.

    It also assumes that anyone outside of copyright or lawgeeks has any clue this is even happening. It's not like it's on the evening news.

  74. Fasolt says

    Sometime the wheels of justice flatten as well. I thought of John as the hapless guard in this one.

  75. rsteinmetz70112 says

    @ David Lang et al

    Gibbs asked for more that being let out of the "the joint and several liability for monetary damages" Wright agreed to. He asked for an "Order Vacating Sanctions" including "monetary sanctions" and a "statement that Gibbs did not lie to the Court or ignore or disobey any order of the Court." That would basically exonerate Gibbs and give him a defense against the bar complaints.

    He also gets to keep all the money Prenda paid him.

    I doubt that Wright will forget the matter of the large estate that wasn't nor Gibbs enthusiastic participation right up to the time he got caught. Gibbs hasn't offered any explanation of the former other than "innocent" error. If Prenda had come up with that story he doesn't say so. It seems to be all on him. Who knows what other fabrications are contained in his other enthusiastic filings.

    Coupled with what appears to be the goal of saving his ass rather than an effort to make amends for the damage his misconduct caused.

    I don't think Wright is likely to totally vacate the sanctions.

  76. Basil Forthrightly says

    I suspect that Judge Wright is taking into account the bond posted by the other members of the scheme; he's reasonably sure the defendant will be made whole, eventually, and is apparently willing to apportion the punishment a little more carefully now. However, he's not the kind of judge who will accept a "just following orders" defense, I think.

    I suspect Gibbs will get severed from the others but still have a monetary sanction for his lack of diligence; I'll call $2k. And the various referrals will remain.

  77. rsteinmetz70112 says

    @Basil Forthrightly

    I suspect you're about right. I suspect he will let stand his findings of fact that he was lied to. He may expand on those and add some conditions like continuing to assist the various investigations.

  78. Lucius says

    The Eastern Illinois motion for attorney fees set for Wednesday (Nov 13) is shaping up to be quite an event. Prenda has filed every excuse they can imagine to block or delay it, to no avail.

    As expected, Booth Sweet submitted careful, well-written documents supporting legal costs imposed by Prenda on Anthony Smith. The total is $72,367.00. Even if the fee is not tripled as a sanction, as it well may be, it is significant in itself.

    Not only that, but then both Comcast and AT&T filed requests to submit attorney fees imposed by Prenda upon them, and ask to pursue this request at the Nov 13 hearing. Although their productive effort was smaller, this does not seem unreasonable. If they are allowed to also submit costs, and it is accepted, would Judge Murphy be able to make a final judgement on all Prenda-imposed costs without more wasted time?

    In Document #81, Dan Booth of Booth-Sweet has a well-written description of Prenda behavior. He provides solid evidence that all three of them are fully involved in the same actions of the various shells, are working closely together, and are intimate with fine details of each other's schedules.

    As usual, Prenda inconsistencies abound. Paul Hansmeier submitted an urgent request that everything be delayed by 60 days, but it was actually filed by John Steele. It seems that Hansmeier, Steele, and Duffy all found urgent needs that make Nov 13 a conflict for them. The requests for more delay were denied, and the date is still set for Nov 13.

    A consistent Prenda tactic seems to be to try to dig up something on the personal life of any judge about to make a decision against their misuse of the courts. Hansmier in his filing for more delay noted that Judge Murphy is scheduled to step down after the end of the month. He helpfully suggested that Prenda would be willing to accept a new judge taking over in return for a long delay.

  79. rsteinmetz70112 says

    @ Lucius

    I am not a lawyer but I look for Comcast and ATT to present hefty bills. I don't think they would usually bother but Prenda is on the ropes and this looks like an easy win and an object lesson to others.

    While ATT and Comcast may have had fewer filings they also had to research and notify 6,600 subscribers then respond to the subscribers issues. They had to educate their client on the case and a number of tasks only made necessary by Prenda's frivolous litigation.

    Since ATT and Comcast are multi-billion corporations the level of diligence necessary is much higher than for an individual. For example Comcast is subject to certain privacy regulations that apply to cable operations. ATT said they were not but they also operate the U-verse service which is to all intents and purposes a cable company, so there is a lot of background work required.

    The ISP's lawyers are also a lot more expensive. Legal fess that may be reasonable (or unreasonable) for an Individual may not be reasonable (or unreasonable) for an enterprise like ATT and Comcast.

    Wasn't one of the conflicts Prenda floated the now cancelled hearing in Minnesota?

  80. snjwffl says

    I thought it would be hard for me to be surprised by Prenda's actions, but this line left my jaw hanging open:

    though he [Duffy] filed a timely opposition to it in April…

    (page 10 of Smith's opposition to Reconsideration)

  81. That Anonymous Coward says

    @rsteinmetz70112 – I think you've mistaken the corporations as having a heart. They rarely if ever offer any information to the subscribers beyond we got a letter, do something and inform us before X date otherwise we hand your information over.

    Pretenda not paying for the information lookups, sending out invalid subpoenas for info, forcing them to have to go to court and file complaints to get paid… and as an afterthought requesting the information be returned/destroyed. (How they were willing to accept the word of players found to be willing to commit fraud upon a court is baffling.) That most likely was a CYA move to avoid subscribers suing them in the future when a shakedown letter arrived in the mail from a closed case. (Because THAT never happened before… *falls over laughing*)

    Oh and then there is that whole Pretenda sued the big boys for not just rolling over and giving them all the data they wanted.

  82. rsteinmetz70112 says


    I don't think these corporations have an heart. I don't think they did anything altruistic. I think they have a process to protect themselves and they followed it. That involves paying lawyers a lot of money to make sure they don't screw up. I think Prenda should pay for the costs their frivolous lawsuit caused.

    As far as cost relating to subscribers, I was thinking more of handling the thousands of calls they likely got as a result of the form letters.

  83. Christenson says

    Oh, my, more grist for the bar association: Plaintiffs in suit (Lilly Poss) don't know a suit has been filed in their name.

    And yes, you need to hit business websites early for ADA compliance….as smaller businesses often have largely static websites, where the actual developers move on when the job is complete. But the "see what you are missing" is the right angle–as I now curse my iPad when it won't magnify the text on a page, simply because I am now old enough to need glasses all the time!

  84. Palimpsest says

    From the aboive link

    Paul Hansmeier said "We consider ourselves to be an advocacy association more than we consider ourselves a law firm,"

    A lot of people seem to not consider them a law firm…

  85. norahc says

    I can't believe I missed this little jewel before. In the order Judge Noel issue, page 7, paragraph 1…

    1. AF Holdings failed to meet its burden of proving the authenticity of the copyrightassignment agreements for “Popular Demand” and “Sexual Obsession.” Both documents purport to be signed by Alan Cooper, on behalf of AF Holdings, LLC.15 John Steele testified that he was familiar with both agreements,16 but did not witness Cooper sign either of them. ECF No. 64 at 3:9-17. Steele testified that he had no knowledge of whether Cooper personally signed the agreements. Id. Steele also testified that he was familiar with Cooper’s authentic signature and that what was purported to be Cooper’s signature on the assignments was not authentic . Id. at 10:7-

  86. Dormammu says

    @ norahc,

    Odd, then, that it was allegedly John Steele who provided the signed document in question, at least according to Paul Hansmeier. From the infamous transcript:

    "AF Holdings makes use of corporate representatives to help prevent the — I guess the officer, Mark Lutz, himself, from being targeted by these individuals. The manner in which Mr. Cooper was designated as a corporate representative was Marks Lutz asked attorney John Steele to arrange for a corporate representative to acknowledge the assignment agreement on behalf of AF Holdings. Mr. Steele did so and returned the assignment agreement to AF Holdings bearing the signature of Mr. Alan Cooper."

  87. Dormammu says

    And, from the same deposition transcript:

    "And so to address that issue AF Holdings — well, spoke to Mr. Steele — Mark Lutz spoke to Mr. Steele and said, Well, I understand that there's an issue with this Alan Cooper and asked Mr. Steele point-blank, Is the signature a forgery. Mr. Steele said the signature is not forgery. And he asked him, Is the — is this signature authentic. Mr. Steele says, yes, the signature is authentic. Based on Mr. Steele's representation, we have no reason to believe from what Mr. Steele said, at least, that the signature is a forgery or there's some sort fraud going on with respect to the signature."

  88. norahc says


    That was why I posted it…we have Steele saying the signature is not authentic and Paul Hansmeier saying it was Steele who obtained the signature.

    One of them appears to have committed perjury if not outright fraud.

  89. rsteinmetz70112 says

    One of them appears to have committed perjury if not outright fraud.

    Maybe both of them?

  90. Dormammu says

    According to multiple court cases they have committed fraud. Whether they have committed perjury is a question best left to lawyers. I can't help feeling that they have some trick up their sleeve to deal with these inconsistencies, though.

  91. norahc says

    According to multiple court cases they have committed fraud. Whether they have committed perjury is a question best left to lawyers. I can't help feeling that they have some trick up their sleeve to deal with these inconsistencies, though.

    They do. They go around telling everyone else that they were present and willing to testify but were denied the opportunity to do so.

    Check out footnote #1 in Hansmeier's Opposition to Comcast and AT&T wanting attorney's fees in Lightspeed vs Smith. (The case where Prenda added Comcast and AT&T as defendant's claiming they aided in hacking.)

    Time to call my sources at Jolly Time Popcorn and arrange another shipment.

  92. whheydt says

    Re: norahc

    Oddly, the document doesn't come out say that he's filing pro se, but it's pretty clear that he is. Any lawyers want to comment on that aspect of the filing? (I'm sure it's a nitpick…but I find it a mildly interesting nitpick.)

  93. anne mouse says


    Nothing odd about it. He wasn't appearing pro se in the underlying case (Lightspeed vs…), but the posture now is that Comcast and AT&T have moved to hold him personally liable for their attorney's fees.

    In effect, the original case is over, Lightspeed lost (months ago). The only question now is whether Prenda's actions in the suit were so egregious that not just Lightspeed (if it exists) but Prenda (which no longer exists) and its individual attorney members (who exist – Lutz may not have been seen lately, but he's not an attorney) can be held liable for the ISPs' costs and fees.

  94. rsteinmetz70112 says

    In Steele's opposition to Comcast he says

    Plaintiff is now bankrupt

    He apparently attaches 2 Exhibits, one an article on Piracy from Variety, the second a Comcast financial report.

    Why not file the Plaintiff's notice of bankruptcy filing?

    Did Lightspeed Media Corporation really file bankruptcy? They still seem to be in business their website is still up. It has an Az address and toll free number. It is current with the AZ Corporation Commission.

    Unless the plaintiff here is a different Lightspeed Media Corporation.

  95. anne mouse says


    Only if Steele had been abducted by aliens would we expect him to be wholly truthful, accurate, and precise. A judge might think that "bankrupt" means "has at least filed for bankruptcy", but no way did steele mean to imply that, heavens no.

    Actually, I'm tempted to give him a pass on this one. The difference between bankrupt-in-fact and bankrupt-at-law is usually just some weeks of delay and some thousands of dollars in legal fees.

    However, if Lightspeed has *not* filed for bankruptcy, why is Steele intimate with their finances? It's a rather odd fact for a lawyer to be testifying, without *some* reference to supporting evidence.

  96. Lucius says

    Steve Jones may be doing the same thing Steele and Hansmeier do with their shell company names when they acquire liabilities: make sure they are empty of assets, abandon the now-worthless shell target, and use any other disposable name that is more convenient. They also like to find a naive third person to dump the liability on by giving them the worthless shell name.

    This could be testing the legal viability of such serial fraud as a long-term business plan.

  97. whyamihere..! says

    So Hansmeier is continuing with fraud, albeit in a new avatar.

    I dont want to say this, but here it is:
    Steele just cant shut his mouth. We have seen his pro-se talent and hell he is no lawyer. I am having doubts if he is smart enough to plan all this.

    Hansmeier on the other hand seems evil.

    I dont see Steele starting a new business after getting hammered. But Hans just went on doing the same shti, as if its another day at office..

    I remember someone suggesting Hansmeier could be the master-mind. I am starting to see the pattern.

  98. rsteinmetz70112 says


    As of this morning I could find no indication of any changes to Lightspeed and creating serial corporations to limit liability is not a new tactic and does not require bankruptcy. All one need do is create a new shell and transfer the assets. See how easily SteeleHansPrendaWeFightPiracyClassJustice have done it.

  99. WDS says


    Are you sure Steele hasn't started a new business, and just did a better job of hiding his involvement than Hans?

  100. calamansi says

    Popehat is referenced (though not credited) in the Hansmeier motion for a stay in MN:

    This case has attracted nationwide attention and the Magistrate Judge’s order has been declared by some to constitute a “head shot” to copyright enforcement.

    They appear to be tracking coverage of their cases even as they plead ignorance due to lack of service.

  101. norahc says

    Of course they follow the coverage, otherwise they wouldn't be able to file complaints about the mean ol' bloggers whose sole purpose is to embarrass them.

  102. rsteinmetz70112 says

    Booth Sweet has filed a response to Hansmeier's objection. It is scathing.

    Their response to Steele will no doubt be equally intense.

    ATT and Comcast may yet pile on. I hope they do it late tonight in true Prenda style.

  103. norahc says

    Did anyone else just hear Steele and Hansmeier's voices go up a couple of octaves?

    Also, isn't this the hearing that is scheduled for later this week?

  104. rsteinmetz70112 says


    Legal kung fu/jujitsu by Booth Sweet.

    I'm still looking for ATT and Comcast to file before the hearing tomorrow.

  105. WDS says

    For someone who considers himself to be "in the Big Leagues" Hans seems to consistently get out lawyered.

  106. rsteinmetz70112 says


    Having worked with lawyers from both ATT and Comcast, I am well aware of their capabilities.

    Apparently Prenda was not when they started this farce.

    Both sets of lawyers are loath to recommend settlements when they cannot point to a potential fault with their client.

    While a nuisance settlement might get rid of one case it also might spawn many more.

    Plus settlements are not good for billings.

  107. That Anonymous Coward says

    I think it's cute that Hans is still pretending what Pretenda did was copyright enforcement.

    I enjoy them trying to characterize everyone who opposes them as evil thieving pirates out to destroy copyright and burn 'merkia to the ground.

    Heh… but then I am really entertained that their actions have made me an hero. Good upstanding people who would have previously judged me by the avatar and name, actually listen to what I say. Its kinda werid.

  108. Resolute says

    No Hansy, the ruling was not a "head shot" to copyright enforcement. What it was, alas, was a grazing blow against a morally bankrupt, sociopathic fraudster abusing antiquated copyright laws for personal gain.

    The head shot is coming though. The feds work slowly, but its coming.

  109. rsteinmetz70112 says

    Any word from the hearing this morning?

    Booth Sweet tweeted "Best. Hearing. Ever."
    Nothing further.
    Perhaps they will send out a press release like they did before.

  110. rsteinmetz70112 says

    Minute Entry from Light speed.

    Motions taken under advisement.

    I wonder what happened at the hearing?

  111. SharonA says

    Here's a compliation of the update @BoothSweet sent over Twitter, starting ~14:06 Eastern:

    Today's hearing in Lightspeed v. Smith (about sanctions against Steele, Duffy, and Hansmeier) did not go well for them, to put it mildly.

    Judge Murphy had decided that the plaintiff's lawyers deserve sanctions, and was not especially moved by their arguments.

    We appeared by telephone, as did Hansmeier and Huffman (counsel for AT&T). Steele, Duffy, and Toennies (Comcast) were in the courtroom.

    The hearing only addressed the arguments on awarding sanctions to Smith against Hansmeier/Steele/Duffy; ISP motions taken under advisement.

    Judge Murphy said that our fee request was modest, both in the hourly rate and the total amount (under $75K). Nice to hear.

    Hansmeier did most of the talking on their side; Steele said a little, and Duffy said nothing.

    On Hansmeier's point that he'd only appeared in the case after the complaint, Murphy said, When you appear, you represent the entire client.

    Judge Murphy mentioned, early in the hearing, that these cases have become notorious in the federal courts. Which sounds about right.

    Judge Murphy seemed to accept that the three attorneys run Prenda together, so service to one gave notice to all. But we'll await his order.

    Recognizing that Prenda's attorneys are likely to appeal his order, he pegged their chances of success at "between slim and less than zero."

    Judge Murphy characterized the entire lawsuit as "baseless" and "worthless." And, if I heard him correctly, "a shame."

  112. rsteinmetz70112 says


    We'll request a copy of the transcript from the court, because we're going to want it framed.

  113. Lucius says

    We'll request a copy of the transcript from the court, because we're going to want it framed.

    … and share with the rest of us?!!

    Recognizing that Prenda's attorneys are likely to appeal his order, he pegged their chances of success at "between slim and less than zero".

    Prenda will do it anyway, to avoid a final ruling noted by other courts as long as possible. If Prenda wants to appeal, they should be required to put up a bond to cover the awarded costs. This should never be used to discourage valid appeals. It is necessary in the extreme case Prenda presents, since there is little purpose other than obstruction and delay.

  114. James says

    We can only hope the $75K BoothSweet billed is tripled to $225K, and that Comcast and AT&T get their pound of flesh as well. To misquote the late Senator Dirksen "A hundred thousand here, and a hundred thousand there, and pretty soon you are talking real money."

    How long before all these sanction awards exceed the numerous $3,000 nuisance settlements Prenda managed to obtain?

  115. Carl says

    Well, if you assume $75K at a pop, each sanction wipes out 25 nuisance settlements. If they made $3M, you need 40 sanctions.

  116. James says

    Yeah, I can do that math easily enough. What I am wondering is how much they really spent to generate the income because they had expenses like filing fees, they had to spiff Gibbs, Lutz, van Den Hemel and "GAY MARRIAGE!!!" Nazaire, there was an office, and so on. We have some idea of that from Gibbs' dump from the DropBox files, but there must be more.

    Now we are in a different mode with Prenda having to pay (or not pay as the case may be with Heather Rosing) for legal representation, the cost of plane tickets to annoy judges in person, and the lost income from spending their days writing motions and appeals. At some point the pain will become too much and one of them will crack. My vote is for Duffy.

  117. I was Anonymous says


    Hansmier in his filing for more delay noted that Judge Murphy is scheduled to step down after the end of the month. He helpfully suggested that Prenda would be willing to accept a new judge taking over in return for a long delay.
    Isn't that just so … magnanimous … of Hannsmeier?

  118. WDS says


    Magnanimous would be Judge Murphy stating he was willing to delay his departure to be able to bench slap the group personally.

  119. I was Anonymous says


    We'll request a copy of the transcript from the court, because we're going to want it framed.

    I can hear Prenda now… "WE WERE FRAMED!!!"

    [oh and hi from a fellow former Groklovian]

  120. Jim Tyre says

    Case Nos. 2:12-cv-8333-ODW(JCx)
    BRETT L. GIBBS [244]

    On November 7, 2013, the Ninth Circuit remanded this case for the limited
    purpose of enabling this Court to consider Movant Brett L. Gibbs’ Motion to Vacate Monetary Sanctions. (ECF Nos. 244, 245.) The remand was in response to this Court’s Order Granting Motion for Indicative Ruling pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 62.1(a)(3). (ECF No. 243.) Accordingly, the Court now considers Gibbs’ Motion to Vacate May 6, 2013 Sanctions. (ECF Nos. 240, 244.)

    Gibbs is specifically asking this Court to vacate his joint and several liability for the monetary sanctions imposed in the Court’s May 6, 2013 Order. (ECF No. 130.) After carefully considering the papers filed in support of and in opposition to the Motion to Vacate Sanctions (ECF Nos. 240, 241, 244), the Court hereby GRANTS the Motion. Gibbs’ joint and several liability for the monetary sanctions imposed in the May 6, 2013 Order is VACATED. The Court’s decision is based on Gibbs’s dissociation with the Prenda parties. This order has no effect on non-monetary sanctions nor does this order affect the other parties subject to sanctions in the May 6, 2013 Order.

    November 13, 2013


  121. PonyMaster2k says

    @Jim Tyre
    Does this mean that Gibbs is not found to have lied to the court with the whole "estate" debacle?

  122. PonyMaster2k says

    @Jim Tyre
    Er, I'm a bit confused with all the negatives, sorry. Which of the following is true:

    a) "Gibbs is vacated from the monetary sanctions, but is still found to have lied to the court. His motion was granted in part".

    b) "Gibbs is vacated from the monetary sanctions, and is also found to not have lied to the court. His motion was granted in full".

  123. norahc says


    It is more of a "Gibbs has flipped on his cohorts and I'm no longer going to hold him liable for the money part of the sanctions order".

    Nothing else has changed.

  124. Jim Tyre says


    You forgot (c). '-)

    Wright relieved Gibbs of all monetary sanctions, though not the referrals to other agencies. He made no finding about whether Gibbs had lied before. So Gibbs' motion was granted in full, but the grant of the motion does not reveal whether Wright thought that Gibbs had lied earlier.

  125. PonyMaster2k says

    Thanks Jim. I thought part of Gibbs' motion was a "statement that Gibbs did not lie to the Court or ignore or disobey any order of the Court."
    I guess that wasn't part of the motion. In any case, I think I get it now, thanks!

  126. rsteinmetz70112 says

    @Jim Tyre

    I don't think Gibbs motion was granted in full. Gibbs also asked for a statement that he did not lie to the court. No such statement was made.

    Wright did say Prenda had lied and specifically referred to Gibbs' statement about a gated estate, that was in fact a modest residence. Gibbs attempted to explain it away as an error, admitting the statement was his and wrong.

    That finding still stands and is still pointed at Gibbs.

  127. Jim Tyre says


    It's a bit more tricky than that. There's no question that, in his motion, Gibbs argued that he hadn't lied. But if one looks specifically at the relief he requested, he got all the relief he requested; which is to say that he did not specifically request Judge Wright to find that Gibbs hadn't lied.

    He wrote the motion in such a way that I have little doubt he was hoping for that, but he did not formally request it.

  128. That Anonymous Coward says

    Gibbs most likely didn't even look at the gated estate until after he saw the bus pulling in with his name on it.
    As with many things in Pretenda cases,
    things SOMEHOW get filed in the locals names, via the locals ECF id from IPs not in the state where they practice. (IMHO)

    They give them talking points, and well the locals aren;t smart enough to question the paycheck over their duty to the law.

    @James – people think I'm a pirate hacker… I improve lots of peoples standing simply by existing… unless they are Copyright Trolls.

  129. MCB says

    I am so surprised that this most recent hearing didn't go well for Prenda. I thought: this is the one, Prenda is going to finally introduce the federal courts to the big leagues. They got this.

    How could it all go so wrong?

  130. rsteinmetz70112 says

    @ Jim Tyre

    I'm confused.


    Included this language:

    Gibbs also respectfully requests that the Order Vacating Sanctions include a statement that the Court has concluded, after reconsidering the record and the arguments and new evidence presented by Gibbs, that Gibbs did not lie to the Court or ignore or disobey any Order of the Court.

    He goes on at some length explaining all of the good things that might happen to him if the court grants this request.

    Whether this counts as a motion, a request for relief or it's something else Gibbs clearly asked Wright to say he didn't lie.

    The Judge declined to include that statement.


    As for the comment that the remark about the gated estate was written by someone else that certainly is possible, but Gibbs never said that nor did he say that he relied on information provided by Prenda, which he certainly could have done.

  131. DonaldB says

    TAC suggests that Gibbs wasn't the person that wrote the filling claiming a small house in a tightly packed neighborhood was a "gated estate".

    That could well be the case.

    But if Gibbs makes a claim that someone else was filing the documents, that only adds to his problems. He would be admitting a cascade of ethical violations: hat he allowed others to file in his name, that he made no effort verify the filing, and that he didn't he didn't correct or mitigate the error when he became aware of it.

  132. z! says

    The whole "gated estate" thing seems way overblown. It uses assumption that an "estate" must be a large piece of land instead of a more legal usage that someone's estate is simply a piece of real property (glossing over many things here). I own a piece of land, well, me and the bank. It's my estate. There's a gate on it. Just because you think many-acres-with-fence when I say "gated estate" doesn't make what I said untrue. The fact that the property in question has a gate made the description correct, albeit maybe misleading. AFAIK that's usually acceptable practice in this type of the law.

  133. Bystander says

    The whole "gated estate" thing seems way overblown.

    The point isn't that Gibbs lied about a gate, it's that he claimed the "estate" was so large that it's unlikely its WiFI was accessible by any neighbors, which is manifestly false when you look at the map (and even more so for the other "corner lot" he made the same claim about).

    38. In order to rule out neighbors of the property located at 635 S. Vanderwell Avenue, West Covina, California 91790 utilizing the internet connection, I utilized Google maps and obtained a satellite picture of the property. The satellite photo revealed that the property was a very large estate consisting of a gate for entry and multiple separate houses/structures on the property. Further, through another publically available search, I was able to identify that the house was approximately 1,304 sq. ft. sitting on a 7,620 sq. ft. lot. Considering the position of the house and the neighboring properties, including the seemingly main house on the lot, it seemed clear that, should the household have wireless Internet, it likely was not accessible by its neighbors.

  134. rsteinmetz70112 says


    It is true that he could be in trouble for filing stuff he didn't properly vet. However it's fairly common for lawyers to have other people work on their filing like Associates, ParaLegals and Secretaries. He could have easily said that the information came form Prenda and he believed it to be accurate. He has done that with other things but not with this.

    So would he be in more trouble for saying someone else did or saying he made it up himself, because the innocent error just doesn't fly, without some additional explaination.

  135. WDS says


    I don't know, I always considered a lot of .175 acres a large estate.

    Plus there are multiple buildings, there's the house and then the single car detached garage.

  136. ketchup says

    7,620 sq. ft. lot

    It seems that Gibbs (or the ghost writer) intentionally chose to use the units of square feet to describe the lot size, because that sounds so much bigger than 0.175 acres. I'm wondering why he didn't point out that this estate covers an area of "more than 1 million square inches!"

    By the way, I have a lot size of over 12 million square inches, and I can detect my neighbor's wifi connection. No, I don't "borrow" it. It is encrypted anyway.

  137. DonaldB says

    My experience is that it's very common in California residential real estate listings to give the lot size in number of square feet. On the east coast it's typically given in acres, even for small lots.

    Checking Zillow for "Fairfax VA" and "San Jose CA" supports this impression. Checking in "San Diego CA" does have a few listing that quote the lot size in acres, but it's well under 25%.

    This is a detail that would strike someone from the east coast as supporting exaggeration, but it's really in line with local usage.

  138. David Lang says


    sq ft is the normal way that urban properties are described. nothing unusual or malicious there. It's only when you get up to several acres that the normal unit over measurement shifts from sq ft to acres. I own (sort of) a lot that's .85 acres, but just about everything that refers to it talks about it in terms of sq ft

    It's only when things get up to 3+ acres that the real estate descriptions shift. Note that I live in southern california, so other areas may have different norms, but since this is the area the case was about, the norms here matter.


    the fact that the statement about it being large includes the actual dimensions seems to me to indicate that it's a mistake, not something malicious. nothing required them to give the measurements in the filing, and as everyone has noted, the measurements are anything but large

  139. Bystander says

    @ David Lang

    This wasn't an innocent mistake. This filing was in response to a previous Order to Show Cause re Sanctions by the judge.

    One of the judge's primary concerns was that Gibbs/Plaintiff hadn't exercised due diligence in trying to determine whether or not the subscriber was actually the infringer:

    2. Lack of reasonable investigation of actual infringer’s identity.

    The second problem is more troublesome. Here, Plaintiff concluded that Benjamin W is the person who illegally downloaded the copyrighted video. But Plaintiff fails to allege facts in the Amended Complaint to show how Benjamin W is the infringer, other than noting his IP address, the name of his Bittorrent client, and the alleged time of download…

    For instance, Plaintiff cannot show that Benjamin W is the infringer instead of someone else, such as: David W; other members of the household; family guests; or, the next door neighbor who may be leeching from the W's Internet access. Thus, Plaintiff acted recklessly by naming Benjamin W as the infringer based on its haphazard and incomplete investigation.

    Gibbs responded to this order concerning possible sanctions with, among other things, an easily checkable and transparently false statement that the neighbors' were too far away to access the defendant's WiFi. Personally, I don't believe that's the best way to respond to a judge who's considering sanctioning your conduct. Either Gibbs was totally out of his mind when he wrote that response or it was ghost-written by someone else who didn't care if Gibbs was hung out to dry.

  140. anne mouse says

    @david lang and others, He stood up in court and said something to the effect that it was a "very large gated estate", way too big for anybody to have possibly leached their wifi. There's no way that's an honest mistake. He also said much the same in written filings, both before and after the hearing. I am confident the exact acreage was only presented in post-hearing filings. His "explanation" points out that there *is* a gate on or near the property (I don't actually see it, and it's not clear if he's talking about the neighbor's gate), but carefully avoids stating whether he actually knew of the existence of this gate before making his representation about a "large gated estate" in court.

    If this were a single incident, one might hesitate to impose sanctions. But it's just one example of obvious mendacity – even his "explanation" totally strains credulity. As I've said before, I would have sanctioned him just for the bullshit level of that "explanation"

  141. mcinsand says

    @bystander. Thank you. As with some others, I missed the importance of 'large estate.' Now, I don't. Even if the property were acres, wifi access is still common beyond the property, depending on multiple factors, such as building locations, materials used to construct those buildings, ductwork, etc. However, for anyone that cares in the least about using someone else's wifi, home-made waveguide antennas are ridiculously easy to make. The site I used for mine is still up:

    When I moved to my apartment, one of the nation's largest DSL providers developed Prenda-class incompetence. DSL did not work period until after 3 months of constant calls. Even then, they double-billed me until I noticed that one of the monthly bills was attached to a number they could not get to function. Anyway, back to the relevant topic…

    While waiting for DSL, I did use a waveguide antenna made from a cookie can to get internet from the apartment complex clubhouse. Since free access to this router is one of the perks, I wasn't stealing. However, since the router is a quarter mile away, I did need some help in order to do things like watch videos.

    There are regular contests with these designs, and I think the distance record is still 69 miles. For under a mile, though, access is pretty easy, antenna construction is easy, and materials are cheap.

  142. James says

    My previous home was in a neighborhood of McMansions with a minimum lot size of 3 acres, and I personally had 5.5. I could connect to my next door neighbor with no problem, a distance of at least 300 feet, but could not connect to my own Wifi located in my home office from the family room (same floor of the house, maybe 40 feet away, max). What lies between makes all the difference.

  143. David Lang says

    I actually know a lot about wifi networks and what can be done with them (I run the wireless network for an annual conference with 2000 techies attending). I'm not saying that I agree that 'large estate' would be a valid argument even if it was true

    I'm just saying that if someone is arguing 'large estate' and quoting sq ft sizes like this, it's far more likely that they made a mistake than that they think that can can call a 1000 sq ft house 'large'

    do I think the Prenda Principals would try this, absolutely!!

    do I think that the existance of this statement means that Gibbs is as bad as the rest of them? I'm not sure. This is just too easy a mistake to slip by. Looking at an address in a picture you don't always get the scale right, and then after the text is written, someone else looks up the exact figures and adds them to the document, and nobody reviewing it catches the mistake.

    Would I hire Gibbs for anything I needed? NO.

    But do I consider this evidence of misconduct instead of a mistake? no.

    I consider this a run-of-the-mill mistake of the type that legal folks make on technical issues all the time. The number of legal folks who would understand the difference is small, and part-and-parcel with the entire "your IP identifies you" misunderstanding of the entire legal and law enforcement communities.

  144. Christenson says

    We have been debating the culpability of Gibbs for the "impossible to borrow the neighbor's WiFi" statement when crossing a narrow driveway was all that was required. As a highly skilled technical person, my knee-jerk reaction is that such an error is highly egregious and nearly impossible to make by accident. Others, whose livelihoods seem to depend less on good numbers, seem more forgiving.

    TAC, For example, suggests that Gibbs was letting Prenda use his ECF ID. That theory is consistent with events surrounding that mistake. But TAC has also said Gibbs supervised local counsel, and could not have been unaware of the overall scheme of things, could not have been unaware that something had to be fishy, and I forget which judge said that all sane lawyers get reallly careful about the rules if sanctions loom.

    So I am sitting on the fence about Gibbs. @TAC and all, can you get me some popcorn-infused facts that we can't alllow to interfere with my pet theories?

  145. says

    Everyone speculating about can you get a wifi signal, or not, or if it's big or not, just stop. It's getting both repetitive and nonsensical.

    If you'd describe it as 'big' or not depends on your frame of reference. Growing up I lived in a 900sq ft house, on a lot maybe double that, and I felt that was a decent sized house, because where I lived, it was (and if you check the UK zillow-like sites, you'll find them going for £95,000+ ($140k) and it's not even a nice area. To put it in perspective, when I was heading home from my first trip to the US (to Long Beach) in 99, I got turned around on the LA subway and got off in Compton carrying my luggage. I didn't realise it was Compton though, because it looked slightly better than where I grew up, with bigger houses and MUCH bigger lots. So if you grow up in a city, a lot might seem large.

    Second, WiFi. I do a fair bit of wifi stuff too, and I've had to run event (you know your event is big when you don't even think about the wifi being congested, but the 4G and 3G cellular signals are killed, and even SMS isn't reliable, despite half a dozen mobile tower-trucks – 56k techies/geeks willdo that) stuff including Wall-of-Sheep and connection-less packet-sniffing. i also do a lot of monitoring of my own wifi system. I know, for instance, that if I put my router on the floor, instead of on the shelf it's usually on, I then can't even get a signal at the far end of my house, but I can if I'm sitting in the car in the driveway. Signals and pathways are like that (and you've never lived until you've had to help a fussy friend who was ADAMANT than he had to have at least a strong signal in every room of his house, and a fair one on his yard (he works for CBS in network storage, works a lot from home). It ended up needing 4 routers to do it, when a quick look would think you'd only need 1, maybe two.
    Maybe what I'm trying to say is that there's only one way to know if the wifi signal will reach to the street – GO THERE AND SEE.
    With so many variances of equipment, position and materials, you don't know, you won't know, you can't know if the signal will reach, unless you actually go out there and measure. (and yes, this is why I have a GPS dongle for my laptop, because that and InSSIDer make a great analysis tool.

  146. Billy V. says

    @ktech I must say I love you you stay stop arguing about it… and then you add in your own .02 ;) that being said I completely agree with you

  147. That Anonymous Coward says

    Gibbs admitted in court that Pretenda had his ECF login because he gave it to them. (among other things)
    Its on the record somewhere, IIRC. Somewhere just before Pretenda didn't show up. I think it was Judge Wrights court…

    Gibbs was lead national counsel when it suited him, but the wefightpiracy address was created by someone in Pretenda and many had access. This was pointed out in court by I want to say Randalldo (sp I am totally sorry for butchering your name)

    Hell a majority of locals used it as their 'offical' address on complaints they filed. It is way easier to shadow manage cases when all the dockets arrive in a single email box.

    It is very possible that many of the locals never even saw the documents that "they" filed with courts. There are lots of ethical lapses all over the place that no ones applying pressure to. (or if they are its behind the scenes).

  148. calamansi says

    It's in the March 11 OSC hearing where Gibbs says under Pietz cross that he "might have" authorized a Prenda employee named Carl to use his ECF password, and additionally that Hansmeier "had access to [Gibbs'] passwords."

    He also claims that letters were sent out with his signature stamp without his approval. That would appear to be another instance of identity theft.

  149. rsteinmetz70112 says

    If he's already admitted that why doesn't he say this one was filed without his knowledge?

    How much more trouble would he be in? I'm sure lost of lawyers give their passwords out to their Paralegals and Secretaries.

    I'm not convinced he's actually come completely clean. I beleive he is only doing what he thinks will get him by.

  150. WDS says


    Claiming someone filed it without his knowledge doesn't do him much good considering he stood in court and verbally made many of the same statements.

    I guess he could claim that someone else did the research and he took them at their word. It's too late for either argument now though.

  151. billbored says

    Add another 100+K for comcast and along with the BoothSweet 75K, if tripled would start to really make some hurt

  152. PonyMaster2k says

    When can we expect a report of the "best. hearing. ever?". I'm very curious to learn what happened.

  153. norahc says

    Tweets are the appetizer…the main course is the transcript and the subsequent order is the dessert.

  154. Anonymous says

    Lightspeed is fucked.

    This is really fun because earlier in the year the company was for sale. If memory serves this would have been just a little bit before the first Wright hearing and Prenda's scam started to unravel, so maybe he was starting to worry about the liability he had built up. I wonder if he ever found a buyer, and if so, did he inform the buyer about these massive outstanding legal liabilities? I'm not sure who would want an old and busted crappy porn website that has publicly declared its business destroyed by piracy, so I'm guessing poor old Steve Jones got caught holding the bag.

    Steve Jones was one of Steele's first mass-Doe BitTorrent lawsuit clients, in fact he may have been the first. There are posts on, an adult webmaster's forum, where Steele and Lightspeed have a couple of nice chest-thumping sessions, laughing publicly about their shakedown racket to the other adult website owners.

    Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Not that I have much sympathy for Hard Drive or Millennium or Boy Racer or any of the other actual content producers that used Steele's services, but I believe most of them were just treating Steele | Hansmeier / Prenda as a 3rd party service. Lightspeed was a founding member.

  155. That Anonymous Coward says

    If only there was like a system or agency that could look into these sorts of things and suggest charges…
    Wait we have some of those? Someone wanna wake them up?

  156. James says

    Tweets are the appetizer…the main course is the transcript and the subsequent order is the dessert.

    So a final order just before Thanksgiving sounds about right. It gives the judge time to thoughtfully consider his ruling and write up a masterpiece of bench slapping that we can all digest over the four-day weekend.

  157. Mike says


    I would not expect a ruling/order before Thanksgiving. Unlike the assclowns Pretenda, competent lawyers and judges cite actual case law, which takes time to research and properly cite. One thing I have noticed in all of Pretenda's motions, the can cite rules all day long, but they seem to have problems citing case law and precedent. I know it isn't hard to find case law online, but hey maybe in "The Big Leagues" case law doesn't mean shit.

    All of the previous orders by Wright, Noel, etc.. have taken longer than two weeks from the hearing to come out, and were very liberally sprinkled with benchslap in the form of chunks of case law and precedent citations throughout to utterly make Pretenda's chances of appeal less than zero. I would expect to see an order just before Christmas or even the first of the year (depending on how much hurt is going to put on the assclowns). As Ken has said numerous times, the wheels of justice grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine (which takes time).

  158. Lucius says


    Hansmeier in his motion for more delay mentioned that Judge Murphy would be stepping down from the bench after the end of the month.

    If true, would he need to issue his ruling before then? Otherwise, this could mean waiting for another judge to get up to speed to take over.

  159. norahc says

    I would think he would need to issue his ruling before he steps down, since once he does retire he wouldn't have the authority to issue rulings.

  160. rsteinmetz70112 says

    Federal Judges don't usually "retire" or "step down" they generally "take senior status" which allows them to continue to hear cases on their own schedule. Some have nearly a full calendar, others take only a few cases. Judge Murphy could easily take "senior status" and retain jurisdiction over this case.

    I haven't looked into his situation so I could be wrong in this case.

  161. That Anonymous Coward says

    @whheydt The problem is how much it will cost to buy the seeds to spread across the grave to keep them from rising and causing more problems.
    Even disbarred they can acquire more copyrights and continue using more locals to carry this out.
    Look at the list of lawyers carrying out copyright trolling, and I'll show you a list of people who needed the money more than ethics.

    Evan Stone – filed suit without the rights to the material. Participated in the same swarms he targeted (assisting the infringement). Decided the Judge was only kidding when he denied the motion for subpoenas. There is more there, but no one has the will to look.

    Malibu Media – multiple pages of sanctions against at least 1 of their locals. A letter where they admit the target wasn't guilty, but he should just pay them off or they were going to run the bill up. Exhibit C.

    I've got chapter and verse on so many lawyers who troll/trolled. (some stopped when bright lights shone upon them)
    Most of them don't like me… not sure why. :D
    Maybe it is the fact I have such little respect for them and have no fear. I will put myself out there shouting until people listen that the once proud hero has gone to the dark side. That I don't owe them a damn thing for their previous good works, and I will expose them as trolls and bear witness to the harm they cause.

    As long as there is the $150K super weapon, someone will do it.
    It's easy money, and if you can avoid the eyes watching (or don't give a shit) you get paid very well. All in pursuit of imaginary lost dollars and unproven claims of harm. It is legal extortion the only thing you need to play is a sheepskin on the wall. You'd think as the mighty trolls fall others would slow down… they aren't. They system is focused on Pretenda and the others are still given respect they are not due.

  162. whheydt says

    What I was thinking in terms of is that many of the sanctions amounts are in the general neighborhood of $100K and each such sanction is "one more nail in the lid of Prenda's coffin."

  163. Christenson says

    There is also the question of whether those nails will ever be collected…

    IMHO, an underlying cause of the problem is a serious oversupply of law school graduates, which leads to those sufficiently desperate to pay of un-dischargeable student loans to not have ethics or be concerned about eventual consequences. This kind of problem has been seen before, for example, with refugees from Vietnam.

    Can you help my crystal ball here, and tell me what might happen if a truly bankrupt Prenda principle is behind a local copyright troll that succeeds in extorting someone?

  164. That Anonymous Coward says

    @whheydt – scattering seeds on top of a grave is an old superstition about keeping the dead from rising.

    Sadly I do not think, barring long jail terms, we can kill them or the zombie children they inspired. And then I got inspired to get on my soap box…

    @Christenson – careful calling it extortion, ya get sued for that. :)
    Moving into the future post whatever happens to Pretenda…
    A copyright holder, lets call it STEAL, contracts a young lawyer to bring a copyright case. STEAL has retained the services of a company called HONEYPOT. HONEYPOT has recorded these thousands of IP addresses allegedly infringing the copyrights held by STEAL. Young lawyer, lets call him NOOB, files a copyright complaint and moves for early discovery. The court grants the request, and settlement letters are sent out. These still don't have to be factual. Some money comes in, NOOB gets his cut and STEAL gets theirs. I doubt they would attempt to bring any real action in the court, because someone might find out who owns STEAL or HONEYPOT, a Nevis registration only works so well.
    If it got out that a former Pretendateer was behind it well they would have diminishing returns as the anti-troll community let everyone know what he real score was.
    But they can just create new shells, transfer copyrights, and find a new NOOB in another state.

    Until there is an actual requirement of them proving how the IP tracking works, that it is accurate, and that it can only identify an IP address and nothing further… all of this keeps going.

    And this just in from the Twitterverse…
    Hans 'ZOMG THEY NEVER SERVED PAPER' files objections, demands they remove the Judge and close the case…
    because the sanctions are punitive…

  165. Jim Tyre says

    Who fucked the universal balance?

    I haven't read this stuff yet, but it wasn't due until tomorrow.

    United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
    Notice of Docket Activity

    The following transaction was entered on 11/18/2013 at 9:28:09 AM PST and filed on 11/18/2013
    Case Name: Ingenuity13 LLC v. John Doe
    Case Number: 13-55859

    Document(s): Document(s)

    Docket Text:
    Submitted (ECF) Opening Brief and excerpts of record for review. Submitted by – Ingenuity13 LLC and Appellant Paul Hansmeier, Esquire in 13-55859, – Ingenuity13 LLC in 13-55871, Appellant Ingenuity13 LLC in 13-55880, – Ingenuity13 LLC and Appellant Prenda Law, Inc. in 13-55881, – Ingenuity13 LLC and Appellant AF Holdings, LLC in 13-55882, – Ingenuity13 LLC and Appellant Paul Duffy in 13-55883, – Ingenuity13 LLC and Appellant John Steele in 13-55884, – Ingenuity13 LLC, Appellant Prenda Law, Inc. and Appellee Paul Duffy in 13-56028. Date of service: 11/18/2013. [8865603] [13-55859, 13-55871, 13-55880, 13-55881, 13-55882, 13-55883, 13-55884, 13-56028] (DJV)

    Notice will be electronically mailed to:

    Morgan E. Pietz
    Nicholas Richard Ranallo
    Mr. Steven Goodhue, Attorney
    Daniel J. Voelker
    Paul Hansmeier
    Brett Langdon Gibbs

    Case participants listed below will not receive this electronic notice:
    Paul Duffy
    13th Floor
    2 N. LaSalle Street
    Chicago, IL 60602
    John Steele
    Suite 400
    1111 Lindoln Road
    Miami Beach, FL 33139

    The following document(s) are associated with this transaction:
    Document Description: Appellants' Opening Brief
    Original Filename: Appellants' Opening Brief.pdf
    Electronic Document Stamp:
    [STAMP acecfStamp_ID=1106763461 [Date=11/18/2013] [FileNumber=8865603-0] [756766492ed57f678c8c85392aa412d4719836e3dc34da94e9e5d5b0219ab736600c770cc3a7396c37d667e77d53e38fe460629f8b57bc8e2d5ce4b64d11067f]]

    Document Description: Volume 1
    Original Filename: Excerpts of Record Volume 1.pdf
    Electronic Document Stamp:
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    Document Description: Volume 2 part 1
    Original Filename: Volume 2 part 1.pdf
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    Document Description: Volume 2 part 1a
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    Document Description: Volume 2 part 1ab
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    Document Description: Volume 2 part 1c
    Original Filename: Volume 2 Part 1c.pdf
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    Document Description: Volume 2 pard 1d
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    Document Description: Volume 2 part 2-1
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    Document Description: Volume 2 part 3a
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    Document Description: Volume 2 part 3b
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    Document Description: Volume 2 part 3c
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    Document Description: Volume 3 part 1
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    Document Description: Volume 3 part 2
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    Document Description: Volume 3 part 3
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    Document Description: Volume 3 part 4
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  166. That Anonymous Coward says

    They filed something on time?
    wait wait wait… were these electronically filed by the people not getting electronic service?

  167. Marzipan says

    @TAC, not only that, but they also knew enough how to exclude themselves from being served with their documents. Perhaps their information here could be used as the default info for service to be provided?

  168. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Marzipan – we've seen those addresses before, and IIRC there are issues with them getting papers sent there.

    Now is it the clerks error or sneaky?
    Lindoln Road

  169. Jim Tyre says

    It's a joint Appellants' Brief (which the Ninth Circuit had suggested, but not required). Daniel J. Voelker filed it on behalf of Ingenuity, AF, Prenda, Steele, Duffy and Paul H.

    Coincidentally, the court clerk just treated Gibbs' motion as one to voluntarily dismiss his appeal and granted it, so he's out.

  170. rsteinmetz70112 says

    The Prenda appeal seems to reshash all of the same stuff they've tried before. Some of it seems very close to misrepresenting what happened. Pietz's notes are interesting.

  171. That Anonymous Coward says

    @darthsketpic – well they are, afterall, fine upstanding lawyers that have nothing to do with this insane Star Trek themed criminal proceeding.

    I wonder if any of the evidence proffered by Gibbs is admissible in the appeal to shore up the findings of fact Judge Wright made.

  172. Lucius says


    from Hansmeier's complaint about Judge Noel's decision:

    The sole purpose for which Plaintiff presented the copyright assignment to the Court was to demonstrate its interest in the copyright infringed on by the Defendant. The Order does not contain findings of fact or conclusions of law that demonstrate that Plaintiff does not own the copyright at issue in this action.

    In this summary, Hansmeier is saying that the forged document was submitted to use the signatures to convince the court that Prenda (or aliases) owned the copyright. The court issued a discovery order based on trust that an officer of the court would not lie and submit a forged document. Once fraud was exposed, it was not the court's responsibility to determine actual ownership.

    Hansmeier keeps overlooking that more than one factor is considered in determining fraud on the court. A forged document might very rarely be filed by an ignorant but well-intentioned attorney. A court might overlook an honest error.
    Here, there was plenty of other evidence presented that Prenda was not well-intentioned, and was actively misleading the court for the sole purpose of obtaining a broad discovery order. The judge made a reasonable attorney-fee decision based on the sum total of the evidence, not just one fact.

  173. rsteinmetz70112 says

    Prenda has never offered any substantial proof that the Plaintiff even exists, much less owns the copyright. All you have are naked assertions by Prenda and they can't be trusted. It is their responsibility and no one else's to prove these things.

  174. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Lucius – it worries me that one can submit a fraudulent doc to a court and pretend it is no big deal.
    I don't think Judge Noel was trying to find the actual ownership, I think he was trying to sort out who all of the players were and the more he saw the more concerned he grew about the extent of the fraud upon the court.

    Admittedly I skimmed the filing… footnote 6 and I was done.
    So tired of the no one ever served us!!! It is almost hysterical given the sheer numbers of service fails I've seen in troll cases.
    I've not been served but I'm still keeping an eye on Duffy/Pretenda v teh Internets… only fools ignores court cases connected to them.

  175. rsteinmetz70112 says

    Judge Noel was not trying to find the owner. He simply said that given the document they presented was forged there was no proof of ownership. A very different thing. Something Prenda could have easily remedied, if they could manage to tell the truth.

  176. Dan says

    Interesting–according to the appeal brief, AF is owned by the Salt March Trust, not the Salt Marsh Trust. Yet another story, or just a simple typo?

  177. Lucius says

    According to the history of Prenda testimony, it was originally owned by a physical person named Saltmarsh. Another person named Salt Marsh entered the scene at some point. When that person was about to be called into court to be identified and personally testify, title was transferred to a trust named Salt Marsh.

    The original owner probably joined Mark Lutz, location unknown.

  178. Dan says

    Yes, I got the "Salt Marsh" story. What's new in this filing is that they're now talking about the "Salt March Trust." Probably nothing more than a typo, but I sure wouldn't put it past them to be trying yet another new story.

  179. Dormammu says

    The whole story about whether a trust owns AF seems to have come about because of PH's fumbled deposition. I would not be surprised if AF was never owned by a trust until that deposition came out, after which it was moved there to avoid being caught in a lie.

  180. Christenson says

    @Jim Tyre:
    Outside Counsel Voelker is the person with his thumb on the scales of the universe. He is the only new one in the bunch. He might actually have some skill as a lawyer.

    P.S. Popcorn's been a poppin' in Malibu Media/Lipscomb/Nicoletti over on's twitter feed. Michigan counterclaims filed, alleges seeding, invasion of privacy, intentional emotional distress, and permanent damages, and, of course, sanctions. Judge in FL wants to know exactly HOW geolocation works, again Malibu Media.

  181. Christenson says

    @Jim Tyre: Thanks. Indeed, I half-remember that….but I don't see him filing late, and even so, I don't see him winning. Grist for Mr Pietz.

  182. says

    Follow the money, and it leads to Steele and Han. Did they really think Cooper would be a credible fall guy when no money trails lead to him?

  183. That Anonymous Coward says

    @bookmanuf – really? I'm sure they could show transfers from the firm to the account of AFH, that then went to a trust or 4 and vanished.
    While people tracked the money they'd just wander away.

  184. MrEye says

    What Mr Nazaire said in Patel;
    MR. NAZAIRE: I'm afraid of dealing with the defendant because every time — on a phone call, I'm afraid that I'm getting tape-recorded. I don't think that's fair to me, Your Honor, that I don't know whether or not I'm being tape-recorded.As far as if somebody's in New York, New York is a two-party consent state, it's not a one-party consent state, and any national across state — interstate call, whether it's to one-party consent states, it's illegal to tape-record somebody without that person's permission.
    Case 2:12-cv-00262-WCO Document 64 Filed 08/19/13 Page 85 of 92

    What the law said:

    New York's wiretapping law is a "one-party consent" law.

    Federal law requires that at least one party taking part in the call must be notified of the recording (18 U.S.C. §2511(2)(d))

  185. That Anonymous Coward says

    @MrEye – I much more enjoyed his meltdown over having his own email submitted into evidence. He ranted and raved about that… ignoring he submitted an email, without the senders permission, to the court. Mind you it was an "alleged" threat where he was so scared he didn't contact the authorities… he saved it for court, but left off any detail that could have been used to trace it. (A lawyer without a clue how to file a complaint about a threat or preserve evidence… who knew)

    Then it was the THEY ARE MAKING FUN OF ME ONLINE AND STEALING DOCUMENTS TO REPOST! Is called PACER, should look into it Mr. Bigtime 'I worked for Credit Card Companies' Lawyer Man.

    But he was to busy working up a lather over gay marriage, Anonymous, Wikileaks, and those damn EFF terrorists. o_O
    I so need to find someone to deliver all of my love to J-Nizzle in court.
    Guessing they won't let a 'Gorilla-Gram' be delivered in a Federal Courthouse, right?

  186. James says

    Guessing they won't let a 'Gorilla-Gram' be delivered in a Federal Courthouse, right?

    Yes your honor, the terrorist are now threatening to send to have me attacked by a pack of wild gorillas. Probably gay gorillas.

  187. htom says

    I've figured out the NSA non-privacy breaking. One party to the call has to consent, and all of our calls begin with a call to NSA — that's the click you hear when you connect on a land line, the bars that are showing on your cell. Of course they can monitor, they're a party in the conversation!

    /wanders off looking for fresh foil to line his hat/

  188. says

    MrEye – yeah, I noted this at the time (the Judge – who was on the FISA court 80-87 – his law clerk and the deputy all rolled their eyes when he was saying this, as did I) in my writeup of the hearing (, also 'a version' in the docket number 60 attachment 15 – the 'Internet is making fun of us' filing)

    Glad the transcript it finally out. Did feel a lot longer than 100 pages though.

    And htom – I did have a discussion with friends about that a few months back. Certain state laws kinda override it, Illinois for one (which is two party) but not all 2-party states. It's kinda complex when it comes to the interaction, but yeah, wouldn't work for Illinois.

  189. rsteinmetz70112 says


    Following the money leads down the rat hole of bank confidentially in St Kitts and Nevis.

  190. whheydt says


    Why is is that Tom Leherer lyrics keep running through mind mind after reading that comment…

    "When someone makes a move,
    "Of which WE don't approve,
    "Who is it that always intervenes?
    "UN and OAS,
    "They have their place, I guess,
    "But first, send the Marines."

  191. snjwffl says

    I'm still reading through the transcript from the Patel case, but this little gem is a good teaser for the second act:

    THE COURT: Because what I've seen and read in this case is absolutely despicable and no lawyer should do some of the things that have been done.

    Now excuse me while I go make more popcorn…

  192. That Anonymous Coward says

    @James & Klaus – I am J-Nizzle's anti-christ.
    Gay – Check
    Trendy Avatar – Check
    Anonymous in name – Check
    Critical of Copyright – Check
    Tenuous connection to EFF – Check
    Smarter than him – Check

    He loves me so much he submitted some of my tweets to the court.
    (Well someone did using his name)
    Of course he characterized them as 1st Amendment protected speech, which is hysterical as his masters (one of which wrote that line) is suing to unmask me and others.

    So PACER scares him, he has a sad because people online are making fun of him and asked to have the case sealed to keep people from watching him squirm.

    Oh and J-Nizzle, because I know you can't stop watching, those posts you denied making before one of your meltdowns… Using that DOD owned network was stupid. Wait for that one to come home and roost.

  193. Another Anonymous Coward says


    Wow. Forgotten about that. Can't wait for those IP's to pop up in record.

    This my first comment ever but I've been here from the start, oh yes.

    ATTN Copyright Trolls: The internet is watching, these crimes take place on the internet, we're better at interneting than you. We may not catch you all but as soon as you pop up we'll be playing whack-a-mole forever. We are essentially inexhaustible for when one soldier stops fighting three others join.

    What you are doing here is extortion and that is not cool.

  194. Anonymous says

    Has anyone been watching the Guava v Merkel case in Minnesota state court where $60+k was awarded to the ISP and Doe lawyers? With all these appeals flying, it would be surprising if that wasn't being appealed, too.

  195. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Jim Tyre – Due dates for submissions to the court appear to be loose guidelines in some peoples heads. They are not known for understanding deadlines.

    @AAC – Are you the AAC from Slashdot? I sometimes wonder what happened to him, and if the good we did helped.

    The Copyright Trolls helped with their own destruction.
    Many of the people they targeted were left feeling hopeless, until they searched online. They found the community online and saw the truth of what was happening. Many of them got really pissed off, and they put this anger to use. They learned how to hurt trolls. Tracking cases, flagging errors, checking copyrights, offering a comforting ear…
    We're not going away, you've not scared any of us.
    To the baby trolls starting up…
    Expect us.

  196. Lucius says


    The latest I was able to find on Guava v Merkel was the Aug 30 fee judgement. The case may be under the radar because it is in a state court, apparently without easy access to docket information.

    This case shows such blatant fraud (secret collusion with a defendent just to mislead the court into a broad discovery order, Guava not being registered as a legal company, etc) that Prenda may not want to emphasize obvious guilt by a futile public appeal. It would be characteristic of them to ignore the order, pay nothing, stone-wall, and hope the order is forgotten.

    The order is only against Guava, Alpha Law Firm, and local attorney Dugas. Guava and Alpha Law are expendable shell names that can be discarded, and local attorney Dugas may have limited exposed assets. As we have discovered from other cases, the award may have to be expanded to include Steele and Hansmeier behind the shells before Prenda will respond.

  197. Christenson says

    @Morgan Pietz, SJD: I was a surprised not to see the Michigan Private Investigator's act in the 2257 filings from yesterday. It's another good rock to throw.

  198. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Lucius – But the principle of Alpha might be held responsible, ohai Hans.
    And well hey, Alpha tried to join the defamation suit(s).
    I think we are only a spark away from seeing some veils burn.

  199. AlphaCentauri says

    I am J-Nizzle's anti-christ.
    Gay – Check
    Trendy Avatar – Check
    Anonymous in name – Check
    Critical of Copyright – Check
    Tenuous connection to EFF – Check
    Smarter than him – Check

    My impression is that there are two kinds of people who closely guard their anonymity on the internet. Those whose actions are illegal or disreputable are easy to understand. But a lot of people with persistent pseudonyms hold positions of significant respect IRL, especially professionals who don't get to punch out at 5 and stop being who they are at work. They guard their anonymity because being online and anonymous is a chance to be "off duty" from their usual position of respect and responsibility.

    So @TAC, I'm guessing that if Pretenda actually succeeded in unmasking you, they might find you an even more formidable enemy if you no longer needed to protect your identity.

  200. That Anonymous Coward says

    @AlphaCentauri – You might have missed another option. Someone who 'spun-off' a Nym designed to take the heat and toy with people's perceptions. The name selected from a list of insults, an avatar designed to inspire distrust, a playful glee found in shredding the 'powerful', and challenging everyone to overcome preconceived notions.

    My identity is often focused upon by those I stand against. They are SURE that I am a lawyer, more specifically lawyers who have appeared in court against them. If I am not a lawyer, those lawyers they hate have to be giving me the ammunition to use against them. And if you ignore my history, you might believe that.

    Evan Stone 'knows' who I am, I destroyed his 'settlement" letter returns. (and I am poking at his new cases).
    He I won't name, 'knows' who I am. I worked on shattering his reputation and created some large cracks in it before he stopped.

    When a troll goes down, I'm there… sometimes just out of focus in the background.

    Maybe I just enjoy my privacy.
    Maybe I just hate bullies.
    Maybe I just like the challenge.

    An unknown outsider appears on the fringes of the new found fashion of copyright trolling (but he can talk about its start in Germany and its move to the UK). He makes mentions publicly about problems and issues in the cases getting coverage, and bemoans the silence about the underbelly of cases everyone seems to be ignoring using gay porn.

    He assumes a mantle of his own making, and somehow becomes worthy of being quoted and listened to. Its not like I've ever been quoted on Boingboing…er wait. And I've met a bunch of important people who learned to look past the package and focus on the message.

    For everyone telling you the Guy Fawkes avatar, the word Anonymous, and people with "skills" are dangerous… they haven't met me yet I'm guessing.

    Or maybe… I'm Mark Lutz running the long con.

    Oh and they aren't going to manage to unmask me. Their lawyer isn't very good. Having read the transcripts of 2 appearances I am still amazed that any court allowed them to proceed with anything.

  201. whheydt says

    Re: TAC

    Just remember…by and large, judges used to be practicing lawyers. That not very impressive one you mention at the end might some day be a judge…and the judge might be a former lawyer of the same quality.

  202. That Anonymous Coward says

    whheydt – If Duffy is ever promoted to the bench the Justice system is on serious drugs and well beyond any possible repair.

  203. whheydt says

    If Roy Moore can be elected to head a state supreme court, I can't think of anything that would prevent Duffy from getting a seat on some bench or other.

  204. That Anonymous Coward says

    Well I think I've figured out Duffys exit strategy, seems wife is working on becoming a cop. Figure that she will be on detail to take him into custody and accidentally lose him.

  205. Jim Tyre says

    In the Navasca case in San Francisco, Steele's and Hansmeieir's separate responses to the Order to Show Cause now have been filed. (They were timely filed last Thursday, but because they were not electronically filed, they just now came into the Court's electronic system.) At a glance (all the time I have), they are, erm, quite similar – to and including both being dated November 5, 2013.

    Steele's is at For Hansmeier's, change the last part of the link from 127.0.pdf to 128.0.pdf

  206. Lucius says

    In Steele's Navasca OSC response, he keeps insisting that he is not an alter ego of Prenda or AF Holdings because neither incorporation document indicates this status. Has he ever filed these incorporation documents to support his argument?

    If he wants to claim the laws of Nevis determine his status with respect to AF Holdings, wouldn't it be a good idea to establish documentation to prove that an incorporation actually occured in Nevis? Otherwise, he could shop for convenient laws anywhere in the world, then claim anything he finds reassuring without proof just based on his personal "belief".

    Judge Vadas was presented with enough solid evidence of their alter ego status to make the indicated judgement. If Steele and Hansmeier want to dispute this, they need to point to some evidence that they totally failed to provide in the past. Their assertions have little meaning if they are based on nothing but statements without evidence.

  207. anne mouse says

    the Complaint says that Plaintiff suspects additional violations but can't plead them, since he couldn't enter the store. I'd be sympathetic to that in a pro se case, but this piece of paper has Hansmeier's signature on it. To my knowledge, he doesn't use a wheelchair.
    Maybe it's because I wasn't charging enough per hour, but when I had a case that turned on the physical layout of a publicly-accessible place in the same city as my law office, I made it a habit to visit that place before filing a complaint.

  208. Dormammu says

    @ Lucius,

    I can already see some counter-indications for several of Steele's points but since I'm not a lawyer there's no sense posting them here. However, an email might be sent to the opposing lawyers if I feel up to it.

  209. Dormammu says

    @ TAC,

    No surprise there. With any luck, the defendant will discover all the bad press Prenda has created with their multiple bad actions and take the appropriate steps to send Mr. Hansmeier back to his hole in the wall.

  210. Jim Tyre says

    anne mouse

    If you allowed your client to plead a case that way, you'd be walking into a (mouse)trap.

    (Sorry, couldn't help myself)

    A plaintiff does not plead speculation. A plaintiff pleads that which he or she knows, or that which he or she is informed and believes is true. If the source of Plaintiff's information and belief is Plaintiff's lawyer, then Plaintiff has just waived the attorney-client privilege.

    Sure, I'd go look at the premises (and you don't want to know what my hourly rate is when I'm not doing EFF pro bono work). But either I'd find a different way to plead it or I'd amend my complaint after doing discovery.

  211. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Jim Tyre – the big difference being you don't file nuisance suits just to get a paycheck.
    I wonder if this 'client' is aware he has a case filed.

  212. whyamihere..! says

    So, for the few of you who are wondering why Steele identifies himself as Cooper when he calls GoDaddy.. you have the answer in his latest filing. Steele wants you to believe he did all these with a big heart for Alan Cooper.

    Yeah, Sure. Why shouldnt i belive that? Its completely plausible and we have no reason to doubt Steele, do we? with him and his buddy being so upright, big-heart'd, ethical and moral lawyers!!

    There are many such gems in his filing.

    "So Steele – with the authority of Cooper – called into GoDaddy as an agent of Cooper to do nothing more than shut the site down. The pro-piracy community would have this Court believe that turning off a website that had never even went live is somehow proof that Steele owns Prenda Law or AFH"

  213. babaganusz says

    The pro-piracy community would have this Court believe

    what a goddamn sweetheart.
    o, my stomach…

  214. Christenson says

    Oh, Mr Steele:
    There's a huge difference between identifying yourself as someone and identifying yourself as calling on behalf of someone. Especially when that someone is suing you for identity theft!!!!

  215. anne mouse says

    @Jim Tyre,

    Of course the attorney would not want to put himself on the stand, but he does have a duty to inquire into the merits of the case before filing it. If anything is found, you can always ask a friend of the plaintiff (or hire a detective) to take a few photos (and authenticate them in court if/when needed, if discovery somehow fails to turn up similar evidence). You would plead on "information and belief". I would expect Hansmeier to have done that if he had a sincere case, though I guess I shouldn't have. Keeping the defendant guessing is more Hansmeier's style (litigation by ambush). Which reminds me, how long did Hansmeier wait between sending the demand letter (to which the only acceptable response was construction, which the shopkeeper presumably can't do without his landlord's permission) and filing suit, two weeks? Seems calculated to avoid an amicable settlement.

  216. rsteinmetz70112 says

    Often with ADA cases there is a lease provision which allocates who is responsible for what aspects.

    The law does not address that but the leases often does.

  217. Lucius says

    Steele and Hansmeier have an alter-ego relationship to their shell-company names. This does not require them to have their names on a piece of paper as "owners" of that empty shell name. In fact, they go to great lengths to avoid this, and instead use the name of any desperate or ignorant dupe they can find on the street.

    What matters is who controls the money flow through the empty shell name. We saw on the Prenda record for 2012 that money was routed into Prenda only when necessary to cover current expenses, or as a very temporary drop point on its way to a distribution to Steele and Hansmeier.

    If the person given the empty title of CEO or founder does not control the money flow, he does not control the shell. The persons who control the money flow through it become the alter egos of an otherwise-empty shell. Those controllers are Steele and Hansmeier.

  218. WDS says


    Where did you get your information that the disabled person lives in a 2 story house, and do you know that there are no lifts, etc. to accommodate him there, and that he uses the 2nd level?

  219. whyamihere..! says

    Woah! When did this happen? The mastermind Mark Lutz is deposed? Is it in the Patel case?
    Couldnt find it in ktech's wiki. Appreciate if someone here can share a link.

    Steele: "Fourth, the only person who has ever controlled AF Holdings, Mark Lutz, has testified under oath, in depositions , and in multiple affidavits that he controls AF Holdings."

  220. That Anonymous Coward says

    @WDS – the twitters… someone had photos of the property.
    It would seem a little odd for someone unable to use stairs to live in a 2 story condo, or not have other accessibility upgrades made to the home.

    @whyamihere..! Lutz, as far I know, has NEVER shown up for a depo. In fact the SINGLE deposition for the company had Hans appearing as the representative. And what Hans said in the Depo contradicts what Steele said on the stand under oath… and yet Hans said nothing.
    So he suborned perjury, or he committed perjury in the depo.
    Lutz has never appeared to be under oath, unless I blacked out that day. (Oh damn, didn't get get sworn in for the 'Whos on First' comedy in the FL case?)
    And the affidavits, yeah… about those…

  221. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Dormammu – what have we said about accepting anything coming out of Pretenda without verification?
    And the sigs…. yeah because there is tooootally no history of documents that have been found to be fraudulent around these people.
    People signing others names, using their names, claiming to be someone else on the phone…

    That moment when it hits you that the guy with the Guy Fawkes avatar is more trustworthy than an officer of the court….

  222. Curious Layman says

    Steele's response to OSC: "Steele completely denies that he has anything to do with any BitTorrent user account in his entire life."
    Hansmeier's response to OSC: *crickets*

    If memory serves, Blair Chintella tweeted at one point that subpoenaed Comcast logs point to Hans, not Steele, being behind sharkmp4.

  223. Christenson says

    @TAC: Dormammu's been following, he loaded up the salt with *Apparently*…. (and is wondering when a certain nice bridge will be for sale!)

  224. Jim Tyre says

    Prenda, the gift that keeps on giving.

    After carefully considering the itemizations of fees and costs and the declarations in support thereof submitted by the attorneys for Smith, AT&T, and ComCast, the Court finds the time spent and the amounts charged by Smith, AT&T, and ComCast to be reasonable. The Court has also carefully considered the interrelationship between Duffy, Hansmeier, and Steele. The Court finds, that these men acted in concert throughout the entirety of the proceedings in this matter, share total responsibility for their actions, and are jointly and severally liable for the fees and costs of Defendants.


    The motions to vacate, or in the alternative, to reconsider the order granting Anthony Smith’s motion for attorney fees filed by Paul Duffy (Doc. 74), Paul Hansmeier (Doc. 66), and John Steele (Doc. 68) are DENIED.

    The motions for attorney fees and costs filed by Defendants ComCast Cable Communications, LLC (Doc. 78) and SBC Internet Services, Inc. d/b/a AT&T Internet Services (Doc. 82) are GRANTED.

    It is ORDERED that pursuant to 28 U.S.C § 1927, Paul Duffy, Paul Hansmeier, and John Steele are jointly and severally liable, and shall pay within 14 days of this order, attorney fees and costs to Defendant Anthony Smith in the amount of $72,367.00, to AT&T in the amount of
    $119,637.05, and to ComCast in the amount of $69,021.26 for a total judgment of $261,025.11, with interest as provided by law.


    DATED: November 27, 2013

    s/ G. Patrick Murphy
    United States District Judge

    Happy Thanksgiving to one and all – even if you're a damn foreigner or something '-)

  225. MarkH says

    Wow! Great timing. Sounds like Anthony Smith, and the attorneys for AT&T and ComCast are entitled to an extra, extra big helping of cranberry sauce this weekend.

  226. Another Anonymous Coward says

    @JimT – YES!! Awesome. I love that phrase. It really rolls off the tongue.

    Wish it around like a 76' Cockburns Port.

    'Jointly and severally liable'.

    Mmmm. Rich and full and heavy.

    'Jointly and severally liable'.


    @TAC – I am not that fella from slashdot but I know of whom you refer and I know of the help he received. Y'all are good peoples.

    Happy thanksgiving, America.

  227. Jim Tyre says


    If you liked that from the Order, how about this?

    The Court also finds that Duffy, Hansmeier, and Steele exhibited a “serious and studied disregard for the orderly process of justice.” Jolly Grp., Ltd. v. Medline Indus., Inc., 435 F.3d 717, 720 (7th Cir. 2006), quoting Pacific Dunlop Holdings, Inc. v. Barosh, 22 F.3d 113, 119 (7th Cir. 1994). These men have shown a relentless willingness to lie to the Court on paper and in person, despite being on notice that they were facing sanctions in this Court, being sanctioned by other
    courts,2 and being referred to state and federal bars,3 the United States Attorney in at least two districts,4 one state Attorney General,5 and the Internal Revenue Service.6 For example, at the
    November 13 hearing, Hansmeier skirted the Court’s direct questions, Steele made feigned protestations, and both flat-out lied about their association with Prenda Law, Inc. in the face of documentary evidence on the record in this case, and their sworn declarations in other cases.7

  228. Lucius says

    @Jim Tyre,
    Thank you for the nice Thanksgiving present, and something to look forward to in 14 days (December 11).

    Possible outcomes I can think of:
    1. They pay as ordered, and end it.
    2. They start a new series of exciting episodes involving two huge corporations plus victim's attorneys probing all still-visible assets.
    3. They appeal to avoid accepting the precedent of a final uncontested judgement, hoping to keep the hit show running forever.

  229. WDS says


    I hope they appeal, because they will then surely be required to post bond, which means people will get paid eventually. Otherwise, as nice as a judgement of over a quarter of a million dollars is, there is little chance that the money will ever actually get to Smith, Comcast, or ATT.

  230. Resolute says

    Despite their protestations, the Court finds that Hansmeier and Steele both received all the process they were due.

    I like the Court's style!

    Also, they pretty much have to appeal this, don't they? My guess under rule 59(e) since this is now the final judgment? The alternative is to basically admit that they are all acting in concert (I know it sounds soooo far fetched…) and basically blow up their "Duffy is the fall guy sole operator" defence elsewhere.

  231. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Matt @ AlanF – the number is the zip for Miami Beach.
    Supersecret method for setting up accounts.

  232. James says

    So does this mean Kim Eckenrode is officially disinvited to dinner to avoid establishing an awkward Steele family tradition as Ken predicted, or will she be bringing a nice Jell-O mold and the crow casserole?

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of the good guys.

  233. MarkH says

    As long as everyone brings their attorney's along, I am sure the Steele Thanksgiving will be fine.

  234. AlanF says

    @Resolute — No, it's probably out in the Everglades where the 'gators will make sure it is never found.

  235. DonaldB says

    I can't see them posting a $241K bond to appeal.

    I also can't see them accepting a final judgement. The judge's conclusions, especially about their alter ego relationship with AF Holdings, and their association with Prenda, tie them tightly together in other cases.

    Also, the opportunity to throw Duffy under the bus has now passed.
    Of course Duffy "knows where the bodies are buried".

  236. That Anonymous Coward says

    @DonaldB – I can see them trying to secure the bond like they did in CA.
    The biggest issue is we have no idea what they are using as security for the bond being issued the first time.
    Given how they failed to pay representation in the past, it will be hard for them to find anyone willing to offer them anything without secured payments up front.

    They are committed to the idea of they did nothing wrong and this is a horrible miscarriage of justice being carried out against them, so expect appeals.

    I have a feeling they keep squirming to keep the other acronyms at bay, to avoid the appearance that their rights were being trampled.
    Pretenda is very good at playing the victim, and for some reason the courts keep extending latitude well beyond what other accused appear to get.

  237. Lucius says

    Prenda may find a bond pending appeal attractive because it shields the source of any money put up. Relative to the millions they extorted, the amounts themselves are not large.

    Steele would not want to publicly show he has control of the money, since that would make it difficult to throw another sacrificial body under the bus. Both he and Hansmeier attempt to hide anything they can to try to derail further investigation.

    Putting up at least 100% security (certainly required in their case) buys them a very small premium. More importantly, it buys them a (temporary?) shield against highlighting the trail to the rest of the money.

    Other options expose more. I suspect it might be more difficult to simply pay the fine and walk away without exposing the single source of the money. Ignoring the ruling would invite discovery into all sorts of personal assets they would prefer to hide.

    However, if a secured bond is defaulted, they seem able to comfortably pay it off, and walk away without exposing anything else. Another bonus for this approach is that they delay the inevitable final decision as long as possible, making it less compelling in other cases.

  238. Dormammu says

    @Alan F,

    There's no reason to think Lutz has been "disappeared." He's the next layer of fall guy Steele and Hansmeier have set up to protect them from the hammer of justice, or so they think. Like Cooper and Gibbs, he's another guy they set up to take the fall for him, so they have every interest in making sure he's around to do that duty for them, in my opinion.

  239. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Lucius – as they have yet to pay on anything against them (I think 1 might have been paid by Steele), have only secured bond in 1 case (as far as I know), I remain curious how long the courts will allow them to pay up.
    Given how they enjoy filing late for things, one wonders if they are going to screw up, once again, and forget to file an appeal and end up with a Doe Defender getting the right to start digging into them.
    While Pretenda is an empty abandoned shell, one can make a case it was the source to create Peg Leg and some other shells. While there hasn't been a final decision on the appeals of them being involved, are there enough findings by Judges to open the door to serious discovery?

    @Dormammu – I think he is disappeared in the sense that he is being kept drunk & happy, blissfully unaware that the "empire" he is now the head of is in collapse. This is further complicated by the findings that Steele, Hans, Duffy, are personally responsible… they can't just slough off everything, as they most likely has planned to, onto AFH. No one has funded a lawsuit to challenge 6881 to add another player to the game, which might unnerve another player enough to start talking to acronyms.

  240. LauraW says

    @Lucius: Putting up at least 100% security (certainly required in their case) buys them a very small premium. More importantly, it buys them a (temporary?) shield against highlighting the trail to the rest of the money.
    It may hide the trail from us, but not from the TLA's, right? I'm assuming that if the IRS CID showed up at the bond company and said "Tell us where the security on that bond came from", they'd cough it right up: account numbers, photocopies of checks, or whatever. I know if I were a forensic accountant, I'd sure want to pull on that string and see where it led.

  241. Dormammu says

    @ TAC,

    6881 will be added at some point to either civil or criminal proceedings, if my theory is correct. That it hasn't been yet speaks to the slow but methodical way certain parties work in gathering evidence.

  242. Palimpsest says

    So what happens if they fail to pay by the deadline? Does it end up back in court or does the defendant have to file another lawsuit to collect.

  243. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Dormammu – I hope they also get whatever Lightspeeds expert was called. Being the expert and the client should raise serious concerns with a court.

  244. rsteinmetz70112 says

    If they fail to pay and plead poverty, as I expect. I imagine civil lawsuits to collect will be filed which will include discovery of their finances. That should be very interesting. It could lead to more charges and greater sanctions.

  245. Elliot says

    If they fail to pay and don't post a bond, they can still appeal, but the defendants can continue collection efforts while the appeal is pending. That will not require filing a new lawsuit; they can use what are called "supplementary proceedings" in the same lawsuit, which would start with discovery directed at Steele, et al. to locate their assets. Given that these people already know they are under IRS scrutiny, I would expect them to post the bond rather than having hostile lawyers pouring through their bank statements and other financial records.

  246. James says

    It was always my understanding that posting of an appeal bond was a jurisdiction specific rule in civil cases. In some places you can appeal and delay matters so long as you are happy to let the clock run on the judicial interest rate, but in others you have to bond. I don't know what the rule is in Illinois so you may still be correct.

  247. rsteinmetz70112 says


    If appeals are denied and payment is not forthcoming do "supplementary proceedings" still apply?

    Ultimately someone will need discovery to untangle this mess.

  248. PonyMaster2k says

    Anyone interested in summarizing the following?

    1) Steele's 99 page megareply to OSC in the Chen/Vadas case

    2) Appeals opening brief at

    Both of these are long, and as a non lawyer, I don't know if I really follow what's being said. If anyone would like to do a popehat-esque breakdown of the main points, and optional vivisection of the contents, it would be much appreciated!

  249. LauraW says

    NAL, but the main thing I noticed in #2 was the mantra-like repetition of the word "criminal". I suspect this attempt to frame the sanctions order as a criminal matter is intended to invoke the higher level of due process required for criminal penalties: the 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination, reasonable doubt vs. preponderance of evidence, etc. It seems like an interesting argument, though based on the little I know I doubt it will work.

    They also seem to be objecting to Judge Wright's "piercing of the corporate veil" by imposing sanctions on individuals who had not appeared as counsel and had not been listed as plaintiffs. Wright's findings of fact that these entities are all inextricability linked (due to intentional obfuscation, no less) seems to make this one unlikely to succeed.

  250. Elliot says

    @James: Yes, some states may have different rules, but this is an order of a federal court, so federal, not Illinois, law governs this issue. In federal courts, posting a bond is not a requirement for an appeal, but failure to post a bond means the judgment can be collected while the appeal is pending. If you don't post a bond and win on appeal, you are entitled to get back whatever was collected, but you face a risk of non-collectability.

  251. Elliot says

    @RSteinmetz: If a bond is posted to stay collection, and the judgment is affirmed, the bonding company pays and no supplemental proceedings are necessary. If no bond is posted, supplemental proceedings can go on while the appeal is pending, and can be continued after the appeal if the judgment is affirmed.

  252. Lucius says

    @PonyMaster2k: Yeah, a summary from a legal mind would be useful.

    The problem I have with reading anything extensive from John Steele is that after working through the flaws in one argument after another, it is hard to keep reading. It's rewarding to discuss the weak points in a good compact argument, but shooting ducks in a wading pool quickly becomes boring. He could even have a valid point somewhere, but if so, he buries it in invalid nonsense so it can't be easily found.

    Voelker's opening brief (if you call 75 pages 'brief') is a little better. Skimming over the endless rehash of everything done in the past, on page 42 he concludes

    Therewas no evidence from which theDistrict Court couldreasonably inferthat any of the three individual Appellants hadanownership interest in either AF Holding or Ingenuity 13, much less a controlling interest.

    This is attempting to prove a negative. Actually, there was plenty of evidence, with more mounting with every new case. His argument that there was "no evidence" logically goes away as soon as any one piece of evidence is shown to have been provided. The rest of the arguments seem to be a rehash of those already repeatedly refuted in the past.

    Maybe that is why a concise legal summary is needed: to make or refute Prenda's case within the reasonable attention span of a judge patiently listening to one invalid point after another.

  253. WDS says


    Steele's reply is only 24 pages long. The rest of it is a copy of the second document you linked to, which he has as an attachment. That is because he is saying in the 24 pages, "you can't place any weight on Judge Wright's ruling, because we are appealing it, and look what a fine appeal it is". Like others IANL, but the rest of the 24 pages I interpret to say "Hey, I'm John Steele, you can't do this sh.. to me!".

  254. SharonA says

    AF Holdings vs Chowdhury update: Today Prenda was shot down on their motion to set aside the default judgement of $64k ($21.3k in fees then tripled)

    From the filing: (source: source:

    Regardless of the exact relationship between Steele and Hansmeier, on the one hand, and Plaintiff, on the other, it is clear that Steele and Hansmeier had notice of all filings in this case, including filings that identified Steele and Hansmeier as the controlling owners of Plaintiff. Steele and Hansmeier therefore had ample opportunity to litigate this case before default was entered.

    This case shall remain CLOSED.

  255. soRob says

    Footnote 7 lol:

    7 To the extent that Interested Party Paul A. Duffy intended his Declaration in Support of His Motion and Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to Set Aside Default Judgment [#41] to be a motion, it, too, is DENIED for the foregoing reasons.

    I'm sure a man of Puffy's legal acumen can come up a way around this latest setback, though.

  256. anne mouse says


    That's short and sweet! Tauro is a no-nonsense guy, as practically everybody in Massachusetts knows. He's semi-retired now, we'll miss him.

  257. Guest says

    I'm not the only one who looked at that and imagined Judge "Tauros" charging at Prenda like a bull, am I?

  258. Cataline says

    I hope Jason Booth follows this. I just noticed in their Motion for Approval of Form of Default Judgement in Case 1:12-cv-12105-JLT Document 32.0, which was granted, he asks for .12% interest. I'm wondering if that's a typo or a mistake, as it seems incredibly low. .12% is .0012, so at that rate of interest they'd only get $120 on a $100,000 debt. That can't be right.

  259. ketchup says

    Yes, that does seem low. According to, several banks offer a rate for a money-market account of about 0.9%. Asking for that would be easy to justify.

  260. Resolute says

    Steele's reply to that OSC is interesting. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't including case law to try and support his points a new tactic for him? He must finally be feeling the heat if he is starting to do things non-big leagues lawyers have to do.

    Does anyone actually believe that Steele wasn't lying through his teeth with his claims that he was pretending to be Cooper when talking to GoDaddy with Cooper's permission? I'm not sure Steele could convince his own mother of his honesty on that one.

    Also, he actually makes an argument that basically says: "even if I committed fraud, that isn't necessarily fraud on the court".

  261. WDS says


    Good catch on the interest rate. I sent an e-mail to the info@ address for BoothSweet. Hopefully they either follow this thread or read their e-mail.

  262. ketchup says

    Interesting, Mike. This is a good example of what happens when we "IANAL" types start discussing a legal issue. I didn't know the government had a set rate for such things.
    It is crazy that the government assumes one would put the money in US Treasuries when other very low risk options are out there with several times the interest rate. But I suppose expecting the government to use common sense is expecting too much.

  263. WDS says


    I guess I will look like an uninformed oaf when BoothSweet reads my e-mail. That's alright, I've looked like worse.

    Glad what little investments I have are in stocks and not government securities.

  264. Lucius says

    Interest rates that low provide no incentive to ever pay a judgement.

    A judgement including any future cost of collection after a certain due date would made the court more credible.

    Judge Wright implicitly did that by requiring an additional appeal bond to cover any award for those costs. It may be necessary here as well, or in any case involving Prenda obstruction of the legal process.

  265. Another Anonymous Coward says


    “serious and studied disregard for the orderly process of justice."

    Delicious. Thanks for desert!

  266. Basil. Forthrightly says

    @Lucius There's no particular incentive to pay while appeals are pending; after appeals are settled, a failure to pay allows the winner to go back to court and get a writ of execution, allowing them to seize whatever property of the loser they can find. There was a case in Florida where Bank of America blew off a judgement and had a branch bank seized (temporarily, until they wrote a check).

  267. That Anonymous Coward says

    @WDS – I doubt they will think your an oaf, remember they go after Pretenda… that bar is set pretty high. :)
    Besides BoothSweet are good people.

    @Basil. Forthrightly – Does the writ of execution allow them access to records and such or that would require another order? They have have much time to prepare for such outcomes, many things are in their hands but owned by magical legal constructs that are resistant to disclosure.

  268. Jim Tyre says

    The fireworks in the Navasca case in San Francisco just ended. Whether the Prendas paid the full amount due or negotiated a discount to end the matter without further litigation is not known (to me, certainly they know).

    Defendant Joe Navasca, by and through his undersigned attorney of record, acknowledges satisfaction of the Judgment against plaintiff AF Holdings, LLC for attorney’s fees and costs entered in this matter on July 22, 2013.

    DATED: December 5, 2013

    By: ________/s/ Nicholas Ranallo
    Nicholas Ranallo (Cal Bar # 275016)
    Attorney for Joe Navasca
    371 Dogwood Way
    Boulder Creek, CA 95006
    (831) 703-4011
    Fax: (831) 533-5073

  269. rsteinmetz70112 says

    No doubt they paid in order to avoid a search of their assets. I would guess there was a discount based on how much it might cost to appeal and a confidentiality agreement.

  270. WDS says

    Compared to some the Navasca judgement was pretty small. They might have thought it was better to get it paid and concentrate their efforts on the cases where the judgement was 10 fold as much.

  271. Jim Tyre says


    Yes, it was a fairly sensible thing for them to do. We're just not used to them doing sensible things.

  272. Lucius says

    I hope Nick Ranallo was a better negotiator than to accept less than what was awarded. Prenda can't afford to leave him free to search through all their assets. Each item would be used in other cases against them.

    If Prenda paid the full amount to keep all this under wraps from the public, Prenda still paid a bargain price.

    Even so, I wonder how Nick Ranallo would answer the casual question "Do you feel you were fully compensated for your efforts defending Navasca?".

  273. Cataline says

    I'd love to know how AF Holdings paid the Nevasca judgement when it doesn't have any assets. According to the 30(6)(b) Hansmeier deposition, it only recognizes revenue when the value of its worthless copyrights increase, and all the copyright "settlement" proceeds went to Prenda Law trust accounts to further litigation.

    So how could they have settled? Surely neither Steele nor Hansmeier, who of course are merely unrelated non-parties and have no idea why people think they have something to do with this could have funneled money sufficient to cut a check. Because it would be pretty strange for two people who swear profusely that they have no relationship with with AF Holdings to pay such a large expense for a corporation with no assets. I'd love to see an attorney trying to collect on the other judgments explore this line of inquiry when trying to show alter ego liability.

  274. Lucius says


    Steele and Hansmeier were put on the hook for "joint and several" liability, whether they liked it or not. I think this means all assets any of them hold can be seized to pay the judgement. Steele could then claim he paid the judgement only to protect his personal assets, even though he thinks it unfair that he should have to personally pay for his shell or henchmen.

    It would indeed be very interesting to follow that money trail, and study Prenda procedures under pressure. They can pay only so much before needing to find a way to sneak some money back into this country, while trying to keep pointers to the source hidden.

  275. Apotropaist says

    It's obvious why they paid off the judgment: there was an evidentiary hearing scheduled for later this month at which they would not have been able to do their usual tactics of hiding Mark Lutz and trying to argue by motion instead of by live testimony subject to cross examination. The thought of being cross examined scares them shitless because they know they won't make it out unscathed.

  276. Fasolt says

    Pretenda actually coughed up a check? I believe the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are saddling their ponies as I type this.

  277. Jim Tyre says


    Not unprecedented. Judge Wright hit Steele with a small sanction ($5K if memory serves), somewhat unrelated to the big sanction against all the Prendas. Steele paid.

  278. says

    Apotropaist wrote:

    Steele and Hansmeier were put on the hook for "joint and several" liability, whether they liked it or not. I think this means all assets any of them hold can be seized to pay the judgement. Steele could then claim he paid the judgement only to protect his personal assets, even though he thinks it unfair that he should have to personally pay for his shell or henchmen.

    If I were the one owed that judgement, 30 seconds after they failed to pay I'd be filing collection liens (or whatever they call it in Minnesota, Florida, wherever) on every piece of property owned by Hansmeier and Steele. Every. Single. One. Houses, cars, cabins, office equipment, the back teeth of their mothers-in-law, all of it.

    It may be petty and personal, but in my book, that's conducting yourself accordingly. Welcome to the big leagues, Prenda.

  279. Cataline says


    Arrggh! I forgot that the judgement was imposed with joint and several liability. With that requirement, I can see how two people who claim to be non-parties and have no affiliation with AF Holdings can justify paying the full judgement. Still, I'd love to know more about the internals at Prenda. I'm hoping that in addition to the financials Gibbs disclosed, he has more documents detailing how they operate. A while back someone noted that the only way he could have disclosed those documents and have covered his butt is if he's cooperating with some authority. Otherwise, doing so created too much liability. The timing doesn't look coincidental either, as it fell just after the filing deadline for the IRS.

    Also, I'm curious as to what makes you think that they moved the money offshore. The only real entity that could threaten their ill-gotten gains is the government. And even then, attorneys always get special treatment.

  280. Cataline says

    @Steve Simmons

    I'm not sure it works that quickly. My understanding is that they would have to conduct preliminary discovery to find out the nature and location of assets, and then ask for court approval for some sort of levy, garnishment, or lein. Given all of their obfuscation and shady dealings, they've probably structured things to make it very difficult to squeeze a nickel out of them. If they offer to satisfy the judgement, I'm sure it's very tempting to take what you can get now rather than fight it out and maybe get nothing. Further, in some states, certain property (like a primary residence) may be off limits.

  281. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Dormammu – I've often thought of the entertainment that could be had in that case. Other than praying for one of my expletive laden rants, what sort of suicidal notion drives them to want to put me before a Federal Judge?

  282. Palimpsest says

    Do we get any action on Prenda from the IRS or a state Bar or various Attorneys General as a Christmas present? What's the time span for a response on this sort of thing? Does it need more judges piling on to get it moving?

  283. James says

    @pamlimpset The time frame depends on what they want to get out of the deal. Our friends at the IRS can simply send a deficiency notice or begin an audit at any time they want, but you won't know about those because they are not publicly disclosed. On the other hand, they could set this up as criminal tax fraud instead of a civil action but that would have to involve the prosecutor's office and would be a wholly different time line. One federal judge making a referral to the US Attorney's Office should be more than sufficient to get the ball rolling.

    I presume the state bar actions are likewise in progress, but those too might be done in a private forum with announcements coming only when a punitive sanction, suspension, or disbarment is imposed.

  284. That Anonymous Coward says

    I feel Mr. Harris got shafted.
    While he wasn't the bestest defendant ever, the serious issues in this case were swept out the door once again.
    He had his life turned upside down, was harassed for months, and had to deal with serious issues being ignored.
    So because he wasn't a lawyer, didn't control his emotions we can overlook fraud, abuse of process, forum shopping.
    To a layman it looks like the court holding the public to a much different standard than those upright officers of the court.
    Mr. Harris got angry that the supposedly fair system wouldn't listen.
    The fake company, with the fake copyrights, with the fake evidence, who blatantly abused the system bringing this case walks away scott free.

    Add that to the pile –
    The Judge who thought what S|H was doing was "fishy", but did nothing.
    The Judge who misread Judge Wrights ruling and yelled at Mr. Cooper who was the victim, and issued a crap ruling.
    The Judge who didn't like the victims attitude at being falsely accused once again, who just sent them all away despite all of the findings of wrongdoing in other courts (and in his own).

    I get that Justice isn't always perfect, but the massive failures in the copyright trolling cases are sickening.

  285. Mike says

    @ TAC

    To a layman it looks like the court holding the public to a much different standard than those upright officers of the court.

    This is a tired refrain and especially unwarranted in this case. What did Harris not get? He got judgment in his favor. He had no other pending request.

    And he was more than simply not "the bestest defendant ever." He was rude and insulting to the court over and over again. He actually wrote the following paragraph in a brief to the court asking for sanctions against the other side:

    "I remind you: It is your job to protect the Constitution of the United States of America, not to deprive citizens of those rights just because you don't like the way they talk, in my opinion you hold legalese more important than innocence. It is a dark day in America indeed, when a judge looks favorably upon a travesty of justice merely because he doesn't like the way a Pro Se litigant speaks. You keep that in mind before you reject this document."

    If a lawyer wrote that to a judge, that lawyer would catch holy hell; the only reason Harris wasn't held in contempt of court was that he was pro se. So which way is this double standard going?

    Harris won his case in spite of himself. I think that speaks pretty well to the court looking out for a pro se litigant's rights.

  286. David C says

    @Mike: That doesn't mean there's not a double standard. If anything, it clearly shows there IS one. Just because sometimes it works in someone's favor doesn't mean it's not there.

    That would be like a woman complaining that she gets paid half of what her male counterparts get, and someone trying to refute that by saying that people are more likely to hold the door open for her.

    He had no other pending request.

    Um, the other side's motion to dismiss his counterclaims was granted. Unless I'm missing something, THAT was a pending request.

  287. Dan says

    According to the court's order, Harris consented to his counterclaims being dismissed, and to his other motions being denied.

  288. Mike says

    @ David C – your analogy doesn't work because whether a woman gets door-opening privileges is unrelated to whether a woman receives equal pay. By contrast, the significant patience and restraint of the court in handling Harris's numerous written outbursts goes directly to TAC's complaint that there is a double-standard whereby lawyers get away with things that laypeople would not.

    As to your argument that one example of it working the other way doesn't disprove the double standard, I don't know how this argument fits in with the fact that this case was raised as an example evidencing the double standard.

  289. Lucius says

    Well, they were required to pay within 14 days in Lightspeed vs Smith, which would have been by Dec 11. So, as usual, they waited until they were in default before taking any action.

    To quote Cataline above: "My understanding is that they would have to conduct preliminary discovery to find out the nature and location of assets, and then ask for court approval for some sort of levy, garnishment, or lein."

    Isn't this the time for Anthony Smith, Comcast, and AT&T to get this discovery process rolling? Unless Prenda put up a bond, they seem to be in default as of yesterday, and starting the all-too-familiar process of delaying as long as possible as cheaply as possible. Their chances on appeal seem pretty slim, but they always delay if it costs them nothing to do so.

    Starting the discovery process is probably the fastest way to get the Prenda gang to cough up the $261,025.11 judgement. This is assuming they want to avoid having more damaging clandestine details exposed.

  290. rsteinmetz70112 says

    Harris decided to proceed pro se. He is not entitled to attorney fees since he didn't pay any. Many of his filings, to quote Perry Mason, were "incompetent, immaterial and irrelevant". Weighing the balance the judge had little choice but to rule as he did.

  291. Anonymous says


    Prenda hasn't even been held in contempt of court for fucking defrauding the court. Even in Wright's court where they have faced the most serious consequences they are still walking free in spite of being accused of crimes by a federal judge. And Prenda lawyers have written some extremely insulting and condescending requests for recusal.

    Harris is impolite and the lawyerly types are aghast in a way they are not when an attorney lies to the court. That's the double standard, buddy.

  292. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Mike – "The fake company, with the fake copyrights, with the fake evidence, who blatantly abused the system bringing this case walks away scott free."

    One does need to understand that Mr. Harris had been under siege before the AZ case was filed.

    And while Mr. Harris didn't keep control over himself as much as he should have, I've seen the Pretenda lawyers lie in court and not a peep.
    The case was based on a copyright assignment that there have been findings of fact were fraudulent. So the court opted to ignore this tiny unimportant detail because Mr. Harris was frustrated?

    We can ignore them not notifying the court of the related cases?

    We can ignore the default where they were awarded money against the swarm jointly and severally already but spun off alleged members of this already adjudicated issue for more bites at the apple?

    We will probably still disagree about this, but this case like so many others before it ends with those who willfully submitted fraudulent documents to courts having no penalty beyond a dismissed case.

  293. James says

    A 7th Circuit appeal should be fun to watch. I read many of the cases that issue from Chicago and they seem to be one of the more strict jurisdictions on how they interpret deadlines and such.

    Lots of cases get dismissed because somebody misses a filing deadline, especially if they are represented by an attorney, so if Prenda truly was a day late and a dollar short (or 261 thousand dollars short) this might be over quickly. More and more of their cases seem to be decided per curium with little more than a three page opinion that says in essence "Stupid lawyer, follow the rules next time".

  294. Resolute says

    At the very least, I would hope Smith et al insist on Prenda posting a bond before the appeal is allowed to proceed.

  295. Mike says

    @ Anonymous – As I believe Ken has documented, invoking criminal contempt has a high threshold and a very narrow application, making it ripe for reversal on appeal. Judge Wright's order did far more harm to Prenda than an attempt at criminal contempt would have. Prenda people belong behind bars, but only after a full trial on the merits (or plea), not a summary proceeding before a judge.

    And since the accusation is double standard, do you have in mind any ordinary citizens held in contempt of court at the bidding of copyright trolls?

    As to your reference to Prenda's recusal motions, we may have to simply agree to disagree that those motions are as disrespectful as Harris's writing, but I would note (1) even if you think Prenda was just as disrespectful, what does it say that we are even making this comparison between a motion by Harris asking that the opposing side be sanctioned and motions by Prenda that are amongst the most difficult to write (since you have to maintain as much deference as possible and yet demonstrate that the court is misbehaving in a way that meets the high standard for recusal); and (2) Harris was writing the language I quoted above even after a federal judge had warned him that he was crossing the line and further disrespect would not be tolerated.

    The lawyers aghast at Harris's tone to the court aren't aghast because they can't believe somebody would act that way; they're aghast because he hurt his cause so severely by doing so. Disrespect will never get you anywhere in court. Lying, unfortunately, will, which is why both lawyers and laypeople lie in court quite frequently. Yes, laypeople lie in court. They almost never suffer direct consequences for it (such as perjury charges).

    @ TAC – was it ignored? Or did Harris simply decide not to vindicate his rights? He consented to dismissal of his counterclaim. He has also reportedly (and repeatedly) turned down offers of free legal representation. Nearly every litigation produces opposing sides insisting the other is evil/lying/etc, and a judge's caseload is simply too great to chase down every potential injustice (as I believe one of the courts mentioned in declining to unravel the Prenda web any further). If someone brings a lawsuit against Prenda, I almost guarantee they will get their day in court, but Mr. Harris isn't going to get any "justice" that he seems unwilling to seek.

    Now, is this "double standard" you refer to really between lawyers and laypeople? Or is it actually between plaintiffs and defendants? The American system is not kind to defendants, whether lawyered or not.

    Here, Prenda has (1) been sanctioned by several courts, (2) had one magistrate judge sua sponte reopen an old case to investigate fraud, and (3) lost to a pro se defendant who threw a written tantrum in every document he filed. Methinks the lawyers aren't so untouchable.

  296. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Mike –
    I do not have the will to list of the number of violations of court orders, federal rules, ethics violations, etc that hover around these cases.

    2011 they were chased out of court, the "penalty" was the case being dismissed. No one took the names they harvested away from them, allowing them to keep seeking payments.

    They file documents late, they ignore court orders… very little happened.

    A pro se doe well outside of the courts jurisdiction tries to file a motion to quash and is told they have no standing to challenge the release of their information.

    A pro se defendant tries to file anonymously, the court shows no mercy and puts the name on the record – yet plaintiff is free to ignore court rules, federal rules, and has been handed every chance to get it right time and time again.

    While your focusing on Pretenda, take the longer view. The same scam with a different firm name for years.

    The only constant was Does rarely getting a break on paper, the data was still in the hands of those nice lawyers who sent letters filled with lies and threats and used a robodialer to get people to settle after unchecked harassment. Seems no overseeing body, with rules against this sort of thing, had time to listen to a bunch of porn perverts and investigate. I mean its not like they published peoples names on their website, calling them horrible things before any court case proceeded to get quick settlements… oh wait they did, for months, no penalty.

    Perhaps if these entities had done their jobs in the last 4 years or so, maybe millions of dollars wouldn't be in the hands of people who appear to have created events to profit from them.

    Perhaps we'd not have seen Exhibit C from Malibu Media, because they would have been scared to anger a court by using court filings create extra pressure for a settlement.

    Perhaps if a single court took the initiative to question how the magic software works, why the people who own it setup in the US but are always in Germany making it much harder to get answers or discovery.
    Perhaps if the court considered that small firms can't possible handle 30,000 targets in a court room.

    Perhaps if…

    Pretenda finally had to climb up on the bench, piss in the Judges face, drop trou and shit on the bench… and they finally caught a sanction.

    The Does who could barely afford to pay the extortion are now expected to fund a lawsuit against the players to be made whole again after the failure of everything supposedly in place to protect the public interest. And the accused will be offered all sorts of rights that were never extended to the Does…

  297. Dormammu says

    @ Mike,

    You make a good point. I can't think of a single case where Prenda has won on the merits, or in fact even tried to argue from any stance than "you can't prove we are all in cahoots". They have been found liable for fees and other costs in several cases, and have even paid up a couple of times. No one wins all the time, and if Prenda escaped sanctions in one case, they still have a mountain-sized avalanche rumbling towards them in other cases.

  298. Christenson says

    Harris *did* get the short end of the stick. Justice was *not* done. It should not depend on Harris not being so mad he could not see straight and accept help. In fact, where is the referral to the AG for prosecution? I'm sure I'd be in jail if I tried the shenanigans in his case.

  299. Jim Tyre says

    For anyone who was looking forward to Doe's Answering Brief on appeal from Judge Wright's case on Thursday, sorry, boyzengrrlz, you're outta luck.

    United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
    Notice of Docket Activity

    The following transaction was entered on 12/17/2013 at 4:52:36 PM PST and filed on 12/17/2013
    Case Name: Ingenuity13 LLC v. John Doe
    Case Number: 13-55881

    Docket Text:
    Streamlined request [31] by Appellee John Doe in 13-55859, 13-55880, 13-55882, 13-55883, 13-55884, 13-56028 to extend time to file the brief is approved. Amended briefing schedule: Appellees John Doe and Paul Duffy answering brief due 01/17/2014. The optional reply brief is due 14 days from the date of service of the answering brief. [8905802] [13-55881, 13-55859, 13-55880, 13-55882, 13-55883, 13-55884, 13-56028] (CB)

    Notice will be electronically mailed to:

    Mr. Steven Goodhue, Attorney
    Paul Hansmeier
    Morgan E. Pietz
    Nicholas Richard Ranallo
    Daniel J. Voelker

    Case participants listed below will not receive this electronic notice:
    Paul Duffy
    13th Floor
    2 N. LaSalle Street
    Chicago, IL 60602
    John Steele
    Suite 400
    1111 Lindoln Road
    Miami Beach, FL 33139

  300. says

    @Mike: Adam Urbanczyk walked away with the loot after defrauding the court: he will never be disciplined or prosecuted. But, but… "Harris is rude!" OMG.

    It's not fucking "double" standards, it's a brazen, uncovered "high-court/low-court" practice.

  301. Mike says

    @ TAC –

    Our court systems are complex, but they boil down to a certain, simply process. Plaintiff files a complaint which states identifies the Defendant, what they did that warrants relief, and the relief sought. Plaintiff and Defendant engage in various pretrial procedures, most important of which are usually (1) discovery and (2) motion practice seeking to end the case and/or shape the case for trial. Then we have a trial on the merits, either by jury or judge. If Plaintiff wins, Plaintiff gets whatever relief he/she proves to be entitled to. If defendant wins, the case goes away. Although the case may and probably will cost the winner lots and lots of money, with very rare exception we do not require the winner to pay the loser's attorney's fees.

    Luckily I do have the will to list out all the instances where a Doe/ProSe/layperson filed a proper complaint/counterclaim/crossclaim, pursued said claim through discovery and motion practice to a decision on the merits, and was turned down by the courts. Ready? Here we go:

    Okay done. That's right. Nobody. Harris consented to dismissal of his counterclaim. You can complain that the court doesn't insist that Harris pursue a claim that he apparently has no will to pursue, or that the court not just declare him the winner sua sponte and without trial, but that complaint isn't properly captioned as "there's a double standard."

    Harris got all the relief he pressed through to a decision, which was a dismissal. He abandoned both his counterclaim and his sanctions request. Since we're talking about double standards, do you know of an instance where Prenda got some relief/benefit from the court that they hadn't asked for? I don't. In fact, the only such instance I can think of was to Prenda's detriment: the Minnesota magistrate judge reopening a closed case to sanction Prenda.

    In the absence of any apparent will by any Doe or any executive branch to pursue a complaint against Prenda, the results from simple motion practice have been pretty significant. In a system where entitlement to reimbursement of attorney's fees is the exception and not the norm, Prenda has been hit with a lot of attorney's fees. Without one single trial, courts have been atypically aggressive in making stinging findings of fact and adopting/acknowledging the findings of fact from other courts.

    Prenda filed things late and violated court orders. So do a lot of other people, lawyers and laypeople. Like speeding, it doesn't get caught every time (and Prenda has, from my experience, been hit just about as often as you would expect from such shenanigans). If you're complaining about Prenda filing things late, (1) do these late filings prejudice Does or just annoy Prenda-watchers and (2) heaven help you if you ever have to track a California appellate case.

    As to some court not ordering Prenda to unring the discovery bell in 2011, again is this properly a "double standard" complaint? Has a court ordered us to unsee the financial data filed by Gibbs?

    A doe couldn't intervene in a case and another couldn't proceed anonymously. It's hard to intervene in any case and even harder to ever proceed anonymously, whether you're lawyer or layperson. And as we're talking about double standards, did the court let Jacques Nazaire file under seal? Did the court let Prenda file Lutz's declaration under seal?

    You're complaining about no "overseeing body" clamping down on the (largely extrajudicial) conduct of Prenda. But the courts aren't overseeing bodies. By design, they don't have that power. They resolve disputes. The intervention you're seeking is properly aexecutive or legislative function.

    Yes, if the does want justice (apart from what has been administered by motion practice) they will probably have to fund a lawsuit. That's how the court system works. It's not a double standard.

    And I'm curious: you say, " And the accused will be offered all sorts of rights that were never extended to the Does." What rights have been denied the does? Has any doe been sanctioned without notice and an opportunity to be heard? Jailed without trial?

  302. Mike says

    @ SJD

    Adam Urbanczyk walked away with the loot after defrauding the court: he will never be disciplined or prosecuted. But, but… "Harris is rude!" OMG.

    It's not fucking "double" standards, it's a brazen, uncovered "high-court/low-court" practice.

    Assuming you're talking about the fabled agreed order… I take it from this post that the "low court" you reference is Illinois state court?

    This type of a carte blanche discovery would be most definitely not allowed in a federal court — one of the reasons why Prenda goes to great lengths to keep its farcical lawsuits in county courts, in particular, in cronyism-plagued St. Clair county court.

    I agree state court can be an adventure sometimes. So does our system of government, which is why defendants sometimes have the opportunity to remove cases from state court to federal court in instances where historically one might perceive a state court to favor a hometown plaintiff.

    Has any ISP or Doe challenged the order and/or pressed the collusion allegations before the court (or an appellate court)?

  303. Clownius says

    One spends way too much time defending Prendas actions as fine and even laudable methinks Mike or is it John. Nah your words make some level of sense unlike Mr Steele. Maybe its Paul

  304. darthsketpic says

    The parties are on notice that they may not use affidavits as a means tocircumvent cross examination.

    Judge O'Kelley's order in Patel is in. Show Cause hearing against both Nazaire and Chintella. Wright level anger that is mostly directed against Nazaire.

  305. Dan says

    @Clownius, you might need to loosen the tinfoil a little–nobody's defending Prenda. They're instead responding to the "Harris was robbed!" sentiment. Harris got exactly what he asked for, or at least what he agreed to. He didn't ask for attorney's fees (and he wouldn't have been entitled to them anyway, as he didn't incur any), so he didn't get that. He didn't ask for sanctions, so he didn't get them either. He asked for the case to be dismissed, and it was.

    Judges in the United States do not generally act as independent inquisitors, and they're not generally supposed to. Instead, they rule on what's presented to them. Yes, they can sometimes act sua sponte, but that's the exception, not the rule.

  306. says

    > and he wouldn't have been entitled to them anyway, as he didn't incur any

    Don't think so. I'm not a lawyer, so I can't come up with references quickly, but I did see case law stating the opposite: pro se defendants can be entitled to fees.

    Regardless, "he didn't incur any" is offensive. Only lawyer's time is valuable, but plebs would waste this time anyway. Right?

  307. says

    @Mike: Let me tell an anecdote.

    Two classmates meet after years. One is a wealthy executive type, the other is unemployed, evicted, broke.

    — How are you, my friend?
    — Not so good: Didn't eat for 3 days.
    — Not good indeed: you should overcome your lack of appetite and force yourself to eat.

  308. Mike says

    @ SJD Compeling anecdote. The unemployed friend is so focused on his own situation that he is oblivious to the plight of his executive friend, who can't (as the unemployed friend so callously suggests) just "overcome" a lack of appetite symptomatic of a three-day coke binge.

  309. Mike says

    @ TAC re our discussion of the court not letting does proceed anonymously and my reference to Nazaire trying to file documents under seal, a timely passage from the court:

    Finally, plaintiff’s request to seal subsequent court filings is denied.Embarrassment and “misleading characterizations” do not merit any limitation on the“common-law right of access to judicial proceedings.” See Romero v. Drummond Co., Inc., 480 F.3d 1234, 1245 (11th Cir. 2007) (citing Chicago Tribune Co. v. Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., 264 F.3d 1304, 1311 (11th Cir. 2001)).

  310. says

    On the subject of pro se defendants and fees, says, "Pro se litigants may be entitled to Attorney fees and costs under the Civil
    Rights Attorney's Fee Award Act of 1976, 90 Stat. 2641, as amended 42 USC 1988." But as previously noted, if Harris did not pursue a claim for fees, then he is not entitled to them, or indeed even to the court considering whether he is entitled to them.

    … "he didn't incur any" is offensive. Only lawyer's time is valuable, but plebs would waste this time anyway. Right?"

    As I understand it, there are actual and punitive damages. Legal fees fall into the former category. Actual damages need to be supported evidence. The legal system does not consider time spent responding to legal action to be ipso facto damages. Rather, a pro se litigant requesting reimbursement for his time would have to prove that were it not for the time spent litigating, he would have been doing something else of value which he was unable to do as a result of the litigation.

    Expenses are the same. If a pro se litigant incurs expenses, he can certainly petition the court to be reimbursed for them just as someone represented by counsel could.

    None of this strikes me as a "double standard" or something that is horrendously unfair to pro se litigants.

  311. JTM says

    @Jonathan Kamens
    "Pro se litigants may be entitled to Attorney fees and costs under the Civil Rights Attorney's Fee Award Act of 1976, 90 Stat. 2641, as amended 42 USC 1988."

    I don't think that's correct. Section 1988 applies to certain civil rights cases (where plaintiffs are pursuing claims against the government). It wouldn't apply in the Prenda cases. (Even in 1988 cases, pro se plaintiffs are not entitled to attorneys' fees: "The Circuits are in agreement…on the proposition that a pro se litigant who is not a lawyer is not entitled to attorney's fees… A rule that authorizes awards of counsel fees to pro se litigants — even if limited to those who are members of the bar — would create a disincentive to employ counsel whenever such a plaintiff considered himself competent to litigate on his own behalf. The statutory policy of furthering the successful prosecution of meritorious claims is better served by a rule that creates an incentive to retain counsel in every such case." Kay v. Ehrler, 499 U.S. 432.)

    In some cases, pro se litigants are entitled to fees and costs, but that means actual court costs (filing fees, service fees).

    (I'm not an expert in this area, so take everything I say with a grain of salt.)

  312. Christenson says

    @Blair Chintilla, SJD, @EFF:
    I did not know funding someone's defense was against GA bar rules. The judge is complaining about the Gordian Knot of motions; I hope Mr Chintilla realizes that a pro se lawyer has a fool for a client and gets some good help. I'd really like to see a resounding victory.

  313. David Lang says

    That is one very angry Judge

    Anyone have info about the specifics of the GA law that Mr Chintilla may be in violation of?

    What happens if both sides end up being sanctioned? do the sanctions just cancel each other out, or do some of the sanctions end up being payments to the court or something like that?

  314. JTG says

    I haven't read far in the Patel order, but the first sentence is highly amusing:

    Having found itself litigating against a more formidable adversary than an empty chair, plaintiff turned to unfounded accusations and wholesale obfuscation.

  315. says

    Christenson – I don't know when Blair will get a chance to respond (he's gone to visit family for Christmas, I read most of the order to him on the phone an hour or two ago)
    Since I'm referenced in that bit, I looked up the rules.
    The two combined basically say that as long as its with the informed consent of the client, doesn't create a conflict of interest in the lawyer, and doesn't expose priviledged info, it's ok.
    Since the funding just paid for already-decided actions, the CoI is moot. It's all done with Patel's informed consent, and no privilege-protected info was disclosed, there's no real issue.
    Read for yourself here –

    The Gordian knot is because there were so many flying back and forth. At the July hearing, 3 motions were heard, now we're at about a dozen, but the ones from July still haven't been addressed, and will be in the upcoming hearing (yay, another trip to Gainsville…)

  316. JTG says

    Is there any chance that they would split the OSC hearing into two parts? For some reason it seems strange to me that they would have a single OSC hearing against both competing counsel. Wouldn't that give each of them an opportunity to muck up the hearing for the other one? Or is that sort of the point?

  317. Basil. Forthrightly says

    @Christenson there's actually a special term for financing or otherwise taking a financial interest in a lawsuit – champerty. In English common law, it was not at allowed and was considered a tort. Apparently, unscrupulous nobleman used to buy into frivolous suits and then use their connections to influence the outcome – the free market applied to the judicial system, if you will. The abuses became so flagrant and frequent that the practice of buying into a suit had to be absolutely barred.

    It's my understanding that champerty is still generally prohibited in most jurisdictions, though it's been gradually loosened to allow contingent fee arrangements for the lawyers/ law firm on a case. However, other parties on the legal team (private investigators, laboratories, expert witnesses, jury consultants, etc.) are generally barred from working on contingency.

  318. Basil. Forthrightly says

    Damn, didn't edit fast enough.

    It turns out that some jurisdictions do allow champerty, but apparently Georgia isn't one of them, though it's fuzzy. (In some jurisdictions, it's actually a criminal offense, BTW). However, it's my understanding that Chintella simply accepted donations, so IMHO, the champerty rule doesn't apply to the facts. I'm wondering of the judge thinks it might…

  319. Cassius says

    In the order in the Patel case, the judge is not interested in Steele, Hansmeier and Duffy. Nazaire has done a good job so far of falling on his sword and being their patsy. Based on that, here's my prediction on what will happen in Patel from the Show Cause Hearing.

    1. Steele, Hansmeier and Duffy convince Nazaire to continue standing in for them by sending him some money (e.g., about $10,000) and telling him that Lutz will show up at the Hearing.

    2. Nazaire continues to stand tall and does not throw Steele, Hansmeier and Duffy under the bus. Maybe Nazaire will try to throw Gibbs under the bus.

    3. Lutz does not show up at the Hearing.

    4. The judge sanctions AFH/Nazaire (e.g., about $20,000) but reduces it based on the judge's complaints about Chintella.

    5. Nazaire pays up from the funds received at #1 and it ends.

  320. JR says

    Sounds like Chintella needs to bring some people so he can have them testify…..

    Gibbs and Cooper

    Then be the nicest person to the judge in all the world. If Lutz shows up he will trip all over himself without Steele or someone holding his hand. It might not hurt the current case more, but his direct testimony with a chance to cross examined will be used in the appeals they have going.

    If Steele does show to help Lutz, then call to the stand Steele and destroy him.

    If Lutz doesn't show, all Chintella needs to do is be nice and Prenda will loose big time.

  321. Mike says

    @ JR – I think the risk with bringing Gibbs would be running afoul of the court's directive:

    The court emphasizes that this hearing will not be a symposium to discuss and review what other courts have done in cases involving AF Holdings nor whether Prenda Law principals directed a nationwide scheme of similar litigation. Defendant’s attempts to turn this case into a putative class action have been and will continue to be rejected. At this time, this court’s sole interest for the purpose of assessing sanctions is misconduct in this case.

  322. calamansi says

    Nazaire is going to have trouble throwing Gibbs under the bus. It will be entertaining if he tries. He's on record saying he was not directed by Gibbs:

    The undersigned would not assign Brett Gibbs to negotiate a left turn with his vehicle, let alone a settlement on behalf of a client, regardless of whether the case was venued in Georgia, California or Afghanistan. While Gibbs may be a pleasant young man, to assert that Plaintiff’s attorney takes orders from Brett Gibbs is absurd and laughable.

  323. JR says


    I understand your point, but Nazaire is full of shit, Gibbs being his contact with Prenda for a bit can be used to impeach Nazaire, and Lutz if he opens his mouth.

    It will limit Nazaire to not, "Prenda told me to do XYZ", but he will have to be more specific, "Paul Duffy told me to …". If he does that, then the judge can say, "that's hearsay, do you have Duffy here to testify?"

    I really doubt Nazaire will have the other Prenda folks show up so they can be raked over coals, the order doesn't make them appear.

    Also remember Gibbs' email and phone number were in Nazaire's filings.

    Nazaire has an ego, otherwise he would have just slide under a rock a long time ago. If backed in a corner, he is going to say it was the client/Prenda that wanted things done a certain way. Gibbs can say it wasn't him that told him. Lutz, I'm sure will be asked if he ever talked to Nazaire. The answer will be, no. So that leaves Nazaire to blame Steele and company.

    Oops, those guys are not in court, sorry, it's just hearsay.

    Nazaire will be left hung out to dry by Prenda.

  324. rsteinmetz70112 says

    If no one shows up for AF, the Judge will not be pleased.

    If Lutz does not show up the Judge will not be pleased.

    If the answers are not to his liking the Judge may well order additional discovery.

    Chintella needs to kiss some judge ass and be on his best behavior. Either he has some history with Nazaire or he let Nazaire's antics get to him.

  325. Mike says

    I don't think the OSC strictly requires Lutz to appear, although it will be interesting to see who, if anyone, does appear for AF Holdings in addition to Nazaire.

    I think Chintella just failed to appreciate that sometimes its best to let an idiot demonstrate his idiocy, rather than get pulled into the fray and seen as part of the circus.

  326. SJE says

    Why is Blair Chintilla broke? Is it due to pending payment from all those Attorneys fees that Prenda are due to pay him?

  327. Klaus says

    From earlier filings it was Patel being bankrupt not Chintella, not sure this got mixed up or both are .. time will tell … Klaus

    Edited for spelling

  328. Christenson says

    In the face of this displeased judge, who sounds mad about wasting his time on smelly recycled grass he doesn't want to read, *I* would be inclined to start off with a very short conclusory allegation: These new court documents show that Nazaire misbehaved in Georgia at the direction of Prenda, and that it is Prenda that forged the copyright and harrassed my represented client. I would then tell him who I had prepared to be cross-examined about each of these conclusions. Then the Judge can draw his own conclusions and manage his time.

    The general technique here has been called "bit literacy" — it is the art of leading off documents and messages with enough information that the reader can quickly decide whether or not the rest is worth reading, based on the reader's interest.

    Oh, and do talk about the failure to file notices of related cases, IN GEORGIA.

    Finally, if there are still a bunch of still pending motions, I'd take stock of my part of the pile, boil it down to a minimum of necessaries, and strike or stipulate withdrawal of the rest. Remember you want to save as much of the judge's time as possible.

  329. Jack says

    @ Mike
    Yeah, it was so painful to read through the transcript of the last hearing. Every time the judge pounded him for going off topic, he went right back to the whole story of Prenda and needlessly pissed off the judge. Then, the whole thing with motions being hurled like monkeys throwing poo and trying to compel Comcast he just shot himself in the foot.

    I agree that I don't think the OSC strictly requires Lutz to attend because it doesn't list him by name in – it lists specifically AF Holdings. But, if someone else shows up as a "corporate representative" instead of Lutz, it kind of ruins their entire narrative about the fact that Lutz is the CEO/Manager/Sole-Employee. Though, if nobody shows up, all the Judge can do about that is sanction AF Holdings which is just a shell? Unless the Judge sets another OSC for Steele, Hans, Duffy, etc. to hold them personally liable for AF Holdings as an alter-ego? But, that seems highly unlikely since the Judge seems to just want to be rid of this case ASAP.

  330. Jack says

    I don't know about that. Maybe the related cases not being filed because it is pertinent to THIS case, but the judge made it very, very clear that he wasn't interested in what Prenda and Nazaire were doing in other cases. He even cut off Chintella about a dozen times in the last hearing while he was going through an overview of the Prenda cases telling him to stay on topic about the current case.

    Sure, after the first hearing he could have done that, but after the whole motion slinging and OSC hanging over his head, going off topic seems like a terrible idea. He needs to let Nazaire hang himself at the OSC and needs to shut up about the other dirty deeds of Prenda. The Judge already agrees that it was a frivolous lawsuit and is going to award fees, so there is no reason to piss him off and risk that.

    If he didn't come into the wrath of Judge Kelly, he could have turned this into a Wright-style OSC, but I think that ship has long sailed.

  331. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Mike – Identified Does have often been ignored by courts.
    The ISP informs them their information will be released unless they file a motion to stop it.

    Some courts refuse any motions under seal to protect the identity that the troll wants.
    Some courts refuse any motion to proceed anonymously, forcing them to identify themselves in trying to stop from being identified.
    Some courts refuse any motion from account holders because they are not a party to the case seeking their information.
    Some courts have ignored the motions coming from well outside of the personal jurisdiction of the court.
    Some courts refused to entertain motions to quash where solid facts were presented, because they assumed this time a court handed over a few thousand names they were gonna name people unlike every other time.
    Some courts ignore the rules about how long they have to file, infact when they sail past the deadline by months they are granted extensions over and over.
    Some courts granted defaults where the service was defective. (We never were able to prove that one default target was actually still alive.)

    There have been violations of professional rules, ethics, and laws by Pretenda and its agents… and none of the punishments to date have actually stopped them or have amounted to more than being chased out of district.

    Now that the web is collapsing we get to play innocent until proven guilty with them. We get to deal with delays, appeals, and a system that favors its own agents… and nothing it does will repair the damage to the people they targeted. Those people will be left on their own to try and find someone to represent them, find a way to raise the money to do it, and maybe be awarded what was taken from them… and still not be whole.

  332. rsteinmetz70112 says

    In Georgia, there are a couple of interesting openings for Chintella,

    The judge inquired whether all of the attorneys representing the Plaintiff had entered appearances. I'm not sure but if the Prenda's were directing the case (and I'm sure Gibbs will say they were) it seems they should have entered appearances.

    Chintella could also present technical evidence that Prenda seeded the torrents, although I think this judge will only admit evidence directly related to this case.

    I am not sure where but Prenda got Patel's information somewhere possibly from a subpoena in a different case. If they did the judge might be interested.

  333. Palimpsest says

    Any Lawyer want to comment on the Booth Sweet filing? Is it straight forward or telling the judge what to do or just the logical consequence of the strange Prenda way of doing things?

  334. Lucius says

    IANAL, but I am still impressed with the Booth Sweet filing. They make no specious dramatic claims, and proceed with excellent clarity, while carefully supporting each step in the progression.

    Unlike the occasional Prenda citations, I'd expect each of those citations when examined to support exactly what was stated. Above all, each point is directly relevant to the strong case they are making.

  335. Apotropaist says

    Reading the Booth Sweet filing is a pleasure after seeing what passes for filing with the Prenda gang. The real question in my eyes is what they will do in Georgia since the judge demanded they produce the original copyright filing. I seem to recall Prenda saying in a California case that they no longer had it.

  336. rsteinmetz70112 says

    While the Judge in Georgia was careful to dispense criticism on both ides he seemed particularly focused on the Plaintiff.

    He is also focused only on the case in front of him.

    If Defendant takes the hint they can do very well. The requirement for an original copyright assignment is a tip of the hat to the other cases.

  337. Mike says

    @ TAC

    Your laundry list of complaints doesn't really address or respond to any of the points in my post. In fact, you repeat your complaint that Prenda is allowed to file things past deadlines without acknowledging or responding to my comment that lax deadlines are a common fact of life in today's civil litigation arena. Likewise, you again repeat your complaint that Does aren't permitted to proceed anonymously without addressing or acknowledging my point that proceeding anonymously is highly disfavored in this legal system or my reference to the recent Georgia decision denying Prenda's request to file under seal.

    Most of your arguments are conclusory assertions without any reference or explanation. You say that courts refuse ISP-related motions from Does for various reasons, but you don't provide any specifics. I know that there are ways to successfully challenge subpoenas and ways to really muck up a challenge such that you lose. Are we just to assume that the Does' challenges were perfect and denied simply because the court practices a double standard for lawyer and lay?

    In your prior post you complained that Prenda would now get due process rights that were denied to Does. I asked you to identify what specific rights you were talking about. You don't provide even one example.

    It seems to me you've chosen to shift away from your original assertion that there is a double standard between the courts' treatment of Prenda and lay people and towards a more general complaint that (1) the system doesn't quickly, consistently, and forcefully address misconduct like Prenda and (2) aggressively and proactively protect parties in the pretrial stages. That's fine, but those are different things. If judges had more manageable caseloads, I think you would see better results form your perspective. Alas, the courts are overburdened and we are thus left with only limited judicial supervision of cases until they reach trial (or, as is more common, settle).

  338. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Mike –
    Judge Howell.
    Denied motions to proceed anonymously or under seal for Does.
    Meaning if they wanted to try and object they had to provide the very information they sought to protect.
    Refused to consider the issue of Personal Jurisdiction, even as motions she refused to remotely consider were filed with her court from across the country.
    Shifted the burden to the ISPs to object for their customers, because Does are not a party to a lawsuit seeking their personal information.
    Sat on the bench and made her own decision that the ISPs and Does had a duty to do much more than what the law said.
    Ignored motions questioning the validity of how the information was gathered, giving the trolls the benefit of the doubt that she refused to provide to Does.
    Quite possibly had a hand in pressuring another Judge in the DC district to change course after he issued a ruling that might cause a problem for trolls.

    The lax deadlines – If something is filed 6 months after the rules of procedure deadline has passed, perhaps it is well beyond the schedule of a busy lawyer?
    I've seen trolls file docs late, and Does file late (but less time having passed than was granted Pretenda) denied for not being timely.

    Proceeding under seal – Does often want to hide their names, to remove the bargaining chip of a destroyed reputation. I'm pretty sure its a violation of some rules/laws for them to have their names posted online as criminals before the case actually proceeds… and yet this was done to multiple people.

    Pretenda wanted it because what they are doing is legally sanctioned extortion. The complaints they provide gave no good reason to do so, my favorites being "we were emailed a threat!", except officers of the court seem unable to file a police report about this very 'scary' event. They manage to leave off any information that could be used to track the threat.
    The largest complaint they can't make is those meddling kids on the internet are shredding all of the claims we make and mislead the court with.

    You'll have to forgive me if I sometimes take shortcuts across my memory, I've been involved in the battle against trolls since before USCG filed for 'Hurt Locker'.
    I've read the the ACS:Law archive, and was not shocked to know that they knew and openly talked about how they were running a scam and all it would take was 1 person willing to get to the right question to sink them.
    I was there when Evan Stone admitted that he was assisting in the spread of the content he was suing over, making the event worse to increase his profits. I was there when he lied on a copyright application to try and qualify a work for statutory damages that the law precluded it from. I was there when he filed a lawsuit for a movie on behalf of someone who did not hold the rights.
    I was there when the boutique law firms used state courts to use the Writs to bypass the Federal Courts that might have questions.
    I was there pulling up copyright registrations for recut movies that falsely claimed to be new works so they could put statutory back on the table.
    I was there for copyright claims for unregistered movies, that the courts rubber stamped defective court filings as the law precluded them from the satisfaction they sought.
    I was there for a movie never actually released, owned by a company in a country where porn movies are illegal, not registered and yet the court opened the door for discovery.
    I was there when service was delivered in the middle of a lake, nonexistent addresses, and upon unrelated 3rd parties.
    I was there fighting the negligence claims, laughing that a case about a tugboat could be twisted to be tacked onto copyright law.
    I was there providing truth to the lies the lawyers told.
    I was there making sure that people who felt lost and alone didn't do something stupid because a copyright claim outed them.
    I was there making sure that some of the 'guilty' got affordable representation, and didn't end up penniless.
    I was there when the EFF ignored the gay porn trolls.
    I was there when the EFF was suggesting people retain lawyers who had no intention of representing clients beyond getting a fee for a "better" settlement price that doubled the out of pocket cost for the accused.
    I was there when the EFF suggested a lawfirm involved in trolling be contacted to represent people against claims.
    I was there as rules to disclose related cases were ignored over and over.
    I was there as a Judge finally had that lightbulb moment that perhaps a single man lawfirm really had no way to try cases with 10,000 does in them.
    I was there as it became clear there was forum shopping happening, and Judges allowed it to happen.
    I was there as Judges ignored the source of the initial information, not wanting to deal with the troll using information another Judge ordered them to not use.

    I am not saying every Doe motion is/was perfect but to wholesale deny them without looking at them?
    Cases that proceed where the client is also the alleged 'expert' providing the information accepted without question.
    White washed cases using state courts and novel reading of laws to avoid the scrutiny of what should be a Copyright law cases.

    300,000ish people have been targeted.
    Number to goto actual trial really small.
    And when pushed, many of the cases folded as defendants started to open the can of worms exposing all of the bad acts to the courts.

    How about the amazing case where the client was also the expert and demanded the ISPs turn over contact details and the details of how they made payments to the ISP.

    How about the court that ignored the defendant was a strawman being used to gain unlimited discovery.

    How about the robocalls?

    The courts assume the lawyer and expert are telling the truth, and allow them to proceed unchecked. They ignore that the evidence is being generated by a 'magic system' that no one can know how it works. They ignore that some experts have financial interests in the outcome of the case.

    Several Judges caught them lying to the court, no punishment.
    Mr. Harris went "slightly" beyond impassioned, was denied many things that could have made up for the improper case that was dragged on.

    @FritzMuffknuckle – Actually Pretenda is following the original German model.
    Geographic Troll History
    Germany – UK – US – Canada – UK (round 2) – Germany. There are a few limited examples in other countries but the majority are Germany, UK, US.

  339. Mark Hall says

    Well this story finally made the front pages.

    On MSN today.

    Hans wouldn't comment, and the others couldn't be reached for comment. Imagine that…

  340. Lucius says

    I also have no certificates in my possession showing anyone other than Lutz owns AF. Will this pathetic lack on my part help support the claim that only Lutz owns AF, and protect those that actually do own any financial benefits laundered through AF?

    Since I personally lack certificates proving John Steele did not murder Mark Lutz, the Prenda brand of logic strongly implies that Steele probably did murder Lutz.

  341. Anonymous says

    So does Alan Cooper have an interest or not? That seems like a rather conspicuous omission; surely they must count him as an interested party if Prenda's story is that he was a willing participant, even if he claims otherwise.

  342. Apotropaist says

    It's much easier to be misleading–even flat-out lie–in an affidavit than on the stand, where there is cross-examination available. Team Prenda knows this which explains much of their strategy so far.

  343. Tom R. says

    @Anonymous — "[S]urely they must count him [Cooper] as an interested party" based on what? The self-serving statements of proven liars in Prenda Law? Does the fact that these clowns [currently] are licensed to practice law make their statements magically believable? If Steele or Hansmeier told me it was sunshiney outside, I'd start looking for my umbrella.

  344. James says

    @Tom I don't think anybody is accusing Prenda of telling the truth, but if you assert in one set of court documents that Alan Cooper has an interest in AFH but deny it in another case, the inconsistently will come back to bite you sooner or later.

    As for Nazaire, it seems he has taken inspiration from Sgt. Schultz with the "I know nothing" defense.

  345. rsteinmetz70112 says

    Madison Record has an opinion piece effectively calling Steele et. al. socioparhs. Posting from my phone. Sorry no link.

  346. Resolute says

    Just getting caught up… Interesting to see that Booth Sweet argued imprisonment as an acceptable means to compel Prenda to pay up or post a bond on their sanctions. This is the first time since I've been following this that I've seen someone involved suggest throwing the Prendateers behind bars.

  347. Dormammu says

    Strictly speaking the Judge's order enjoined parties from filing, and Comcast is a non-party, IIRC. It would strike me as unjust if Chintella was not allowed to reply to such a motion.

  348. Mike says

    I believe the court enjoined the parties from filing additional motions. This wouldn't preclude Chintella from filing an opposition to Comcast's motion.

    Indeed, it would be a due process violation for the Court to grant the motion while forbidding Chintella from opposing it.

  349. That Anonymous Coward says

    The court was upset by the mountain of papers flying back and forth between J'Nizzle and Blair. Many of them could be summed up as legal nose thumbing.
    The order said STOP, do not pass go, do not file another piece of paper with the court UNLESS you get my permission first.

    IIRC from reading the transcript, the Judge opened the door for them to file documents that would be required by the next Show Cause Hearing (Judge very much wants documents prepared for this case, not culled from all the other cases out there).
    As the Comcast motion has been filed, Blair might need still need to say mother may I before filing anything (I don't think the Judge altered the order much), but an answer should be allowed.

    The problem is, shoving Comcast was not a wise decision. I mentioned before that dealing with Pretenda can lead to frustration, and I think given how J'Nizzle flat out ignored discovery and played games that the motion to compel Comcast seemed like a good idea at the time to get any answers for the limited discovery period.

    I also think that Comcast is STILL owed money from several cases in a couple districts, so they are pretty much over the entire BT case craze, and want to make it clear pushing them will end poorly.

  350. Mike says

    The order specifically and explicitly barred motions, not any other pleadings:

    "Therefore, plaintiff and defendant are hereby ENJOINED from filing a motion of any kind without this court's prior approval."