Prenda Law Dealt Another Blow in Appeals Court - The UpStream

Prenda Law Dealt Another Blow in Appeals Court

posted Sunday Apr 13, 2014 by Scott Ertz

The Prenda Law story has been so ridiculous that I am proud to get to cover it. Prenda is, for lack of a better term, a copyright troll, who files lawsuits against individuals for pirating pornography for which they own the rights. Last year The Pirate Bay, the world's largest torrent list, revealed that they had traced the torrents in question in Prenda's largest lawsuit directly to Prenda, suggesting that they planted these torrents to allow them to file this suit.

Shortly after this revelation, Comcast joined the research, confirming the suspicions that the IP addresses used to list the torrents in question were those of Prenda Law's own John Steele. The IP was also linked to forum members on various sites who had shared pro-Prenda sentiments.

During oral arguments in the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, Prenda was dealt a series of blows to their case. The three judges overseeing the case continually interrupted Daniel Voelker, the lawyer for Steele, Hansmeier, and Duffy, challenging his statements. Judge Diane Sykes even asked a fairly simple question that would be essential to the case,

Can you describe to me, in 25 words or less, what the relationship is among these various firms: Steele Hansmeier PLLC, Prenda Law, Alpha Law?

This organization was the one identified by Comcast as the owner of the IP address used to upload the torrents, as well as to access John Steele's personal GoDaddy account. Voelker's response did not help his case,

I can't, Your Honor. I don't know. I don't know what it is today, I don't know what it was a year ago.

Sykes responded saying, "That is shocking."

This relationship has been a large issue in previous appeals courts as well as initial trials. It has, in fact, ended Prenda with sanctions from more than one court, including the lower court, which is the case being appealed in this instance. While Voelker tries to accuse the lower judge of making decisions based on facts not in evidence,

{Murphy} found that the attorneys had a 'relentless willingness to lie,' and there's no support for that in the record. He also found that they're 'starving attorneys with shattered law practices.' Those are basically facts that the district court in California found based upon Internet research.

Judge Diane Wood does not seem to agree, however, saying,

Some of these misrepresentations were in front of him, though. There's an overall concern that this was a proceeding in bad faith. It's kind of an attempt to hold up these 6,600 people (and) see who will settle. It's a troublesome record.

So, while the case is far from over, this is not looking good for Prenda, even after just the first day.

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