Comcast Confirms Prenda Planted Torrents

Comcast Confirms Prenda Planted Torrents

posted Saturday Aug 17, 2013 by Scott Ertz

It has been two months since The Pirate Bay accused Prenda Law of planting torrents on its site in order to sue. As The Pirate Bay had suggested, Comcast has confirmed that site user Sharkmp4 is actually John Steele, founder and head of the copyright roll Prenda Law.

As it turns out, the company was running a honeypot scheme in which they would upload and seed torrents for content that they owned and then sued the users who downloaded it. Leaders at TPB searched through backups of data to reveal IP addresses used by Sharkmp4 and encouraged other groups to cross-reference the address information to their own databases.

At the time, the IPs were connected to users on several other sites, some of which wrote positively about anti-piracy policies. This was enough information for a judge to allow the discovery process in the AF Holdings v Patel legal battle, Comcast was subpoenaed for data regarding the IP address in question. Comcast was able to link the address to Steele Hansmeier PLLC, which is obviously attached to Prenda through none other than John Steele, whose name appears in the account holder's name.

This is not the only subpoena out there in the case, but it is an important one. Being able to prove that Prenda setup the scheme ruins their credibility and also proves that they are not actually interested in protecting their intellectual property, but instead is interested in a business model of legal battles against torrent users. Probably not a successful long-term strategy, especially if the whole thing is a setup.

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