Prenda Law Accused Of Trying To Start Over Again Under A New Name

from the when-your-name-becomes-toxic... dept

We've written a few times about Prenda Law and John Steele lately -- including some of the trouble that Prenda is running into for doing things like being accused of fraud on the court after a crazy hearing in which Prenda denied being associated with the case, despite hiring lawyers and having John Steele present (while trying to deny any role). And then, of course, there are the still open questions about whether or not Prenda set up a shell company by signing, as CEO, the name of a guy who John Steele hired to take care of some property.

For those who have been following these cases, you know that Prenda Law was actually John Steele's "new" firm, after his previous firm Steele Hansmeier was dissolved. Of course, that happened soon after a judge told Steele to stop filing copyright trolling lawsuits.

Given the increasing hot water that Prenda looks to be in, along with the fact that lawyers in other Prenda cases across the country are now alerting judges to Prenda's questionable behavior, the site FightCopyrightTrolls is suggesting that Steele and his crew of copyright trolling lawyers are trying to set up yet another new firm, called the Anti Piracy Law Group. The evidence is compelling. The group has put up a website at "wefightpiracy.org" -- quite similar to Prenda's existing "wefightpiracy.com." And, that new page, in the fine print, admits that it's Prenda. It also includes a page of sample cases that are Prenda cases -- including the now infamous Tuan Nguyen in Florida, which resulted in that "fraud on the court" issue. FightCopyrightTrolls notes that this new "Anti Piracy Law Group" is already sending out "settlement" letters, using the same address as Prenda Law.
Once again, watching Steele and his friends do what they do, you get the feeling that they think they're smarter than everyone else, and one step ahead of everyone else. Given the events of the last few months, it seems that he's getting closer and closer to being informed that his theory is incorrect.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    Mesonoxian Eve (profile), Dec 18th, 2012 @ 8:19pm

    This new firm is the greatest definition of irony I have ever witnessed.

    Too bad the small print doesn't include the disclaimer: "Arg! We pillage from the poor and give to the rich, after we take our share, of course!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2012 @ 7:49am

      Re:

      I strongly suspect their share is 100% and most the people they're representing don't even know about the cases.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), Dec 18th, 2012 @ 8:20pm

    Thanks, Mike.

    The page embedded above may look insufficient as a proof, but I want to assure that the letters signed by Paul Duffy on the "Anti-Piracy Law Group" letterhead are being sent out. It's understandable that the person who shared that page was reluctant to make the entire demand letter public, even redacted. Nonetheless, it is just a matter of time, and we will have the whole thing soon.

    Note also that Prenda Law is not likely being complemented by the new firm, but rather replaced: Prenda Law did not file its annual report that was due in the end of October, and it is not in good standing with the state of Illinois as a result.

    Taking the occasion, I want to thank that generous person who presented an early Christmas gift to all us — registered http://www.anti-piracylawgroup.com/ and http://www.antipiracylawgroup.com/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    radarmonkey (profile), Dec 18th, 2012 @ 8:24pm

    Cut/Paste Error

    Of course, the "new" company, when creating the "new" settlement form letters forgot to change the ".com" to ".org" for the email and web address.

    OOPS.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), Dec 18th, 2012 @ 8:29pm

      Re: Cut/Paste Error

      .org is a temporary sandbox, that was prematurely leaked due to sloppiness of the designers, whoever they are.

      Apparently the plan is to replace the entire "wefightpiracy.com" with the new design/title.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Dec 18th, 2012 @ 8:26pm

    To any lawyers:

    Please tell me something as simple as a name change isn't enough to get them off the hook.

    Starting up a 'new' company/firm(again) after getting the first one slapped around in the court rooms is bad enough, but if they can essentially start anew by simply renaming the firm(and, let's be honest, the only thing they are doing is changing their name. Same M.O., same address, same owner)...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2012 @ 8:35pm

      Re: To any lawyers:

      It works both ways though, if they can hide so can we.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        That One Guy (profile), Dec 18th, 2012 @ 8:49pm

        Re: Re: To any lawyers:

        You're forgetting the 'high court/low court' bit of the 'justice' system unfortunately. A company/rich person can get away with far worse things than an individual/regular person can, so the question becomes: has this group done enough to get the 'peon' treatment, and actually be punished?

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2012 @ 8:37pm

      Re: To any lawyers:

      I hope this is the case, because it opens up a whole market for people to register a company just to use for ISP related stuff, so when you get 3 or 6 strikes you just dump the company and open a new one that will enter into a contract with an internet provider.

      That would be glorious.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Mr. Applegate, Dec 19th, 2012 @ 4:07am

        Re: Re: To any lawyers:

        Except that corporate accumts are generally much more than residential ones. But if you are prepared to pay 2-5 times the along....

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Michael, Dec 19th, 2012 @ 5:41am

          Re: Re: Re: To any lawyers:

          You do not need to get a corporate account with your ISP to register it to a corporation.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            icon
            John Fenderson (profile), Dec 19th, 2012 @ 9:42am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: To any lawyers:

            This is true. You don't even need one to be able to cash checks in the company name. In fact, you shouldn't bother with a corporate account unless you have specific need for a service that comes with it (handling payroll tax payments, for instance).

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      HoustonLawy3r (profile), Jan 14th, 2013 @ 5:57pm

      Re: To any lawyers:

      No, this will not get them out of trouble. One of the exciting things about being an attorney is that we cannot hide behind limited liability as far as our own malpractice and criminal actions go. Similarly, it is the state ethics board that would bring the attorney up on charges -- not his law firm. Thus, it means absolutely nothing that they keep changing names. The only thing they are succeeding at is confusing judges and the accused defendants.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    vegetaman (profile), Dec 18th, 2012 @ 8:46pm

    Apparently when I originally grabbed popcorn to watch this ensuing trainwreck unfold, my popcorn tub was not big enough.

    But fortunately it is now the holidays, and the necessary 5 gallon buckets of it are readily available!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2012 @ 8:53pm

    WHY ISN'T HE IN PRISON? HOW MANY LAWS DOES SOMEONE HAVE TO BREAK UNTIL THEY ARE PUNISHED?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2012 @ 8:54pm

      Re:

      Except the ever heinous crime of Copyright infringement, I mean.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        DannyB (profile), Dec 19th, 2012 @ 6:40am

        Re: Re:

        Copyright Infringement is not as heinous a crime as being accused of copyright infringement. Alleged Copyright Infringement is far worse a crime than actual copyright infringement.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      S. T. Stone, Dec 18th, 2012 @ 9:02pm

      Re:

      All of them.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2012 @ 9:44pm

      Re:

      WHY ISN'T HE IN PRISON? HOW MANY LAWS DOES SOMEONE HAVE TO BREAK UNTIL THEY ARE PUNISHED?

      Copyright holders ask this every day.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2012 @ 11:11pm

        Re: Re:

        Well, copyright infringement is only one law.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2012 @ 12:27am

        Re: Re:

        Somehow, I suspect that defrauding the court is kind of less important than Perceptional "Property".

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2012 @ 1:05am

        Re: Re:

        And they spend tons of taxpayer money trying to find the right "he", only to more often than not end up suing the wrong person. Try again.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Michael, Dec 19th, 2012 @ 5:50am

        Re: Re:

        It is a slippery slope for charges to be filed against Steele. He is likely to get slapped with some kinds of sanctions, but most of what has been done has been within the law - even though it is clearly underhanded.

        Some of what he has allegedly done is being looked upon carefully (fraud on the court). If he is eventually found to have been intentionally fraudulent, the sanctions could involve him losing his license to practice law and even some jail time.

        What the court needs to be very careful about is setting a precedent that makes it possible for other attorneys to end up ACCIDENTALLY ending up in a similar situation. Remember, judges are lawyers too, and if they can come up with a scenario in their head that would make what has been done by Prenda Law reasonable, they are going to err on the side of caution and not issue heavy sanctions - for fear that they or their friends could end up on the receiving end.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        dennis deems (profile), Dec 19th, 2012 @ 6:12am

        Re: Re:

        Oh snap!

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Dec 19th, 2012 @ 12:30pm

      Re:

      Quick back of the envelope math explains why.
      He is worth millions.
      The high court doesn't hold its membership to the same standard as the low court.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    S. T. Stone, Dec 18th, 2012 @ 9:02pm

    As a response to this story, I quote one of the most esteemed philosophers of our time, Mr. Red Foreman:

    ‘Dumbass!’

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Zem, Dec 18th, 2012 @ 9:37pm

    He's our bestest buddy

    Sometime it takes people likes this to force reform. Legal systems are often fixed when people abuse the system and exploit loopholes. At the end of the day, when he sits in his jail cell, he can sleep soundly knowing that he left the system in a better place than when he found it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2012 @ 10:46pm

    Forgive my bluntness, but when the fuck will these bastards be arrested for racketeering?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    anon, Dec 19th, 2012 @ 1:51am

    I wonder

    Are they still able to collect money from the uninformed, not everyone will browse the internet and come across sites like this with stories about how it is fraud, if they are making a few million from sending out demands then the bad publicity is irrelevant to them, I would say that Steele needs to be investigated much more and any funds from demand letters returned in full, even if it means seizing all his assets, like they did with Kim Dotcom.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2012 @ 2:48am

    Nothing to fear.

    Not that concerned until they create www.wefightpiracy.xxx ThenaTenant only then would I be concerned.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2012 @ 2:53am

    Nothing to fear

    Grrr dang 5 am spelling auto correct thenatenant was meant to be then and only then. Wake up my Samsung Galaxy Tab. Previous post should read. Not that concerned until they create www.wefightpiracy.xxx. Then and only then will I be concerned. Wow that was difficult to post.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2012 @ 3:13am

    If I was a judge, I wouldn't be very impressed with Mr. Steele's way of doing business.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2012 @ 3:50am

    This is why lawyers have a bad reputation. They're like bubble gum stuck under a table at a fast food joint.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2012 @ 4:59am

    I read that as Pretenda Law

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2012 @ 5:53am

    So out of curiousity

    If we theoretically get a 'settlement' letter from Anti Piracy Law Group, do we ignore it, write back and say we know they're full of shit (linking back to here in the letter) or go to the time and expense of calling their bluff and appear in court to watch them fail?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Dec 19th, 2012 @ 7:13am

      Re: So out of curiousity

      I'm not a lawyer, but if you get a court summons, you damn well better go - otherwise they will almost certainly win a default judgement.

      If you just get a threatening letter from the firm, you have more options.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        John Fenderson (profile), Dec 19th, 2012 @ 9:45am

        Re: Re: So out of curiousity

        This.

        If I got a threatening letter from them, I would just ignore it. If I got a summons, I would go.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Dec 19th, 2012 @ 12:02pm

          Re: Re: Re: So out of curiousity

          If I got a letter from them, and had no knowledge of what they said I was downloading, I don't think I would ignore it.

          I'd respond with a letter that indicated a Google search indicated numerous references to how their operation was a scam or illegally practicing law. Thus, I would demand more information on their organization to verify their accusation. I would also demand information on how they had identified me, as their method would seem to be significantly flawed - without more information I would be unable to provide a reasonable explanation of why it was flawed and had mistakenly identified me. And I would keep records of the communication, telling them so, and that I was prepared to retain legal counsel if necessary.

          Again - I am not a lawyer, so this is not legal advice. If that wouldn't scare them off, then nothing would and you should start thinking about a decision to settle or to defend yourself in court.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            icon
            John Fenderson (profile), Dec 19th, 2012 @ 12:43pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: So out of curiousity

            I would do all that if I were actually facing some kind of legal action. Threat letters aren't legal action. Companies use them all the time to try and scare people into responding -- hopefully just settling, but any kind of response can be valuable. Remember, never volunteer any information of any kind to an attorney you aren't paying.

            So if it's just a threat letter, I'd ignore it. Odds are excellent that nothing more would come of it -- but if I made a big stink for them, they might be inclined to pay special attention to me.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Trails (profile), Dec 19th, 2012 @ 8:46am

      Re: So out of curiousity

      Baiting them (e.g. sending them a letter telling them they're full of shit) is probably not a good idea. In fact be extremely cautious in any communications with them. Phonecalls etc... are probably recorded and they will use Sneaky Lawyer Tricks¯™ to try to trap you, or get you to reveal assets/more personal details/more info on your internet activities. Do not believe them if they tell you they know certain things (e.g. "We can see from your traffic history you do a great deal of downloading.") This is essentially cold reading.

      Fightcopyrighttrolls.com has a good FAQ for people threatened with copyright infringement suits. Suggest you start there.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), Dec 19th, 2012 @ 9:28am

        Re: Re: So out of curiousity

        While I 100% agree with what you are saying (don't poke a mad dog), I don't think they record phone conversations: too risky. In many states ("Two-party" states, which means the consent of both parties is needed to record) recording w/o consent is a serious, potentially criminal offense. Even if they can get away with it, I'm sure such recordings are not admissible in the court.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          Trails (profile), Dec 19th, 2012 @ 10:43am

          Re: Re: Re: So out of curiousity

          In many states practicing without a license is a serious offense. Doesn't stop 'em.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            icon
            That Anonymous Coward (profile), Dec 19th, 2012 @ 12:41pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: So out of curiousity

            Steele will make it his mission to crush you under his heel if you put up a fight in this manner.
            He will waste all kinds of money running up your bill and blood pressure.

            How one gets a scare letter without the notice from the ISP first is worrisome. Most courts have required the ISP to send notice when they allow the early discovery.

            The best defense would be seeing if the reference case is listed on fightcopyrighttrolls.com or dietrolldie.com

            Pretenda via its tax shell companies currently has cases in court where they have no right to bring any action. Sloppy sham copyright transfers are sloppy.

            The best response is to get educated about the case.

            If the paperwork is issued by a court, you should consider a lawyer to prepare an answer... never ignore the court.

            If it is just a scare letter, educate yourself about the case and prepare for Pretenda to robodial you at all times of the day or night making threats about taking you to court unless you pay now.

            I'm not a lawyer, I don't play one on TV, this is not legal advice. I do however have MUCH experience with copyright trolls and their methods. I must be good SJD lets me post stuff. :D

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This