Thought Prenda Was Dead? No, It's Up To Its Old Tricks... And More

from the they-just-don't-quit dept

Even as Prenda supposedly lays dying, it appears that Team Prenda is up to the same old tricks under a new name. As detailed by FightCopyrightTrolls, Paul Duffy appears to be playing the same game Prenda has played before. Back in December, we wrote about Prenda's big bag of tricks in trying to get names associated with IP addresses using any means necessary. It involved a series of "tricks" involving a specific state court, a single named "defendant" but with claimed "co-conspirators" who are not named other than by a long list of IP addresses (but whom Team Prenda will argue cannot intervene in the case because they're not named parties), a questionable charge of hacking under the CFAA conflated with copyright claims (which are meaningless in state court), followed quickly by the "defendant" agreeing to some sort of "settlement" that grants Team Prenda the right to do discovery on the "co-conspirators" such that Prenda can send out the subpoenas, get info back from ISPs and then begin the usual copyright trolling shakedown. Read that bag of tricks link above to get the full story.

As FCT's article shows, it appears that even as John Steele, Paul Hansmeier and Paul Duffy have been facing very, very critical courts in multiple states -- with some even suggesting that they've been violating criminal laws -- it appears that at least some of them are still doing the same old thing. Paul Duffy just recently filed one of these lawsuits, once again in St. Clair County Illinois. And, just like before, the lawyer on the other side was Adam Urbanczyk -- the lawyer who is on the other side on a whole bunch of the cases that quickly "settled," allowing discovery. This willingness to settle and grant discovery already had one judge question if Urbanczyk and Prenda were "in bed together," and in at least one Prenda case, a defendant has admitted that Prenda more or less offered him a "deal" if he would do that kind of settlement. And, just as in the past, Urbanczyk's client quickly "settled" and "agreed" to allow widespread discovery with little limit.

Because judges like to clear out their dockets nice and quick and a "settlement" looks good, this one was approved, allowing Paul Duffy to subpoena a wide variety of ISPs for customer data. Not surprisingly, threat letters soon followed officially from the "Duffy Law Group." Just as before, the letters basically say "pay up or you'll get sued," and (of course) misrepresent the basics of the law and the likelihood of damages in any lawsuit. Of course, as FCT also notes, at least some of the threat letters appear to have been sent out after the "Duffy Law Group" was involuntarily dissolved. But, apparently it's still going...
What's truly amazing is not just that they're up to the exact same tricks, but that this is all going on while they're getting slammed in other courts for some of these same practices. It's really quite incredible. It's too bad that the judge in the St. Clair Court appears to have rubber stamped the settlement. Either way, it does make you wonder if some of the judges in these other cases that are exploring Prenda's practices might be interested in knowing the details of the threat letters coming from the no-longer-existent "Duffy Law Group."




Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Atkray (profile), Apr 25th, 2013 @ 9:52am

    I couldn't help but notice

    Duffy claims in his extortion ummmm, I mean settlement letter that "My office has obtained default judgements in excess of $150,000 against individuals who have failed to answer my client's claims"

    Has anyone verified that?

     

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

  2.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Apr 25th, 2013 @ 10:24am

    Re: I couldn't help but notice

    I think $150,000 is the statutory amount. If someone didn't show up and the judge did the statutory rate that is likely the amount to be chosen. So it has at least plausible that they have gotten default a judgement in that amount.

     

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  3.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Apr 25th, 2013 @ 10:35am

    A lot of crack addicts will use as long as crack is available. If there is a cop standing there watching they will still be unable to resist the urge to partake.

    I think the primaries in the Prenda saga are pretty much like crack addicts. They will keep filing mass copyright cases as long as they have their attorney licenses. They just can't help themselves. In fact, if they lose their law licenses I wouldn't be surprised to see them still try to file, perhaps using some washed-up lawyer or new law school graduate to do their dirty work.

    Of course, I'm not sure Techdirt readers are much different. I keep swearing I am not going to read another story about Prenda. But when the next one appears I just have to peek. And then comment. Twice on the same article. I think I need an intervention.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Scote, Apr 25th, 2013 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re: I couldn't help but notice

    $150,000 is the statutory amount in a **copyright** case with a registered copyright, yet these cases, IIRC, purport not to be copyright cases, hence why they are in state court.

    One wonders if the conflation of the two in the threat letters isn't blatant fraud...above and beyond the usual amount of apparent fraud on the part of Prenda et al.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2013 @ 10:50am

    yeah....

    why is it no one is in jail yet?

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2013 @ 10:52am

    If "Rachel from Cardholder Services" can be public enemy #1 for the FCC, why can't "Duffy (or Steele or Hansmeier or...) from Prenda" be enemy #1 for the DoJ?

     

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  7.  
    icon
    crade (profile), Apr 25th, 2013 @ 10:53am

    Re:

    I think the answer is more like:
    Why not. Nothing is really stopping them. So the court got mad and there were some raised voices. Woopdi do. Raised voices supposed and slapped wrists supposed to disuade crooks who are making a fortune on their crimes?

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2013 @ 10:53am

    Re:

    *FTC, but still point remains...

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    S. T. Stone, Apr 25th, 2013 @ 11:02am

    Every time I think Prenda canít dig its grave any deeper, it finds new ways to shovel the dirt out of that thousand-foot hole.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2013 @ 11:03am

    "Our firm is famous"

    Not in a good way, though.

     

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  11.  
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    dennis deems (profile), Apr 25th, 2013 @ 11:04am

    Don't judges read Popehat??

     

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  12.  
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    yaga (profile), Apr 25th, 2013 @ 11:42am

    Re:

    They like to have clear dockets so they can go play golf not read something that might help them do their job better.

     

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  13.  
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    Thomas (profile), Apr 25th, 2013 @ 11:45am

    Are the judges..

    getting a cut of the money in order to move things through smoothly and ignore any possible attorney misconduct? Judges love to clear their dockets and go off and have fun.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2013 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: I couldn't help but notice

    Let's put it this way - Duffy is in big trouble here. As in, he could not only lose everything he owns, but he could also bring the other Prenda teams into serious disrepute as a result of deliberate and wilful fraud. Because any settlements obtained by these "letters" are obtained by deception. Which is the basic legal definition of fraud.

     

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  15.  
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    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), Apr 25th, 2013 @ 12:20pm

    Re: I couldn't help but notice

    He refers to Lessiere case in Florida that resulted in a default. "more than 150,000" means that attorney fees were added, the total (IMO absolutely non-collectable) amount was. 153,770.00. There are couple of mysteries surrounding this case, TAC looked into it.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2013 @ 12:39pm

    Will silver bullets and stakes be enough to prevent these guys coming back yet again?

     

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

  17.  
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    sorrykb (profile), Apr 25th, 2013 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I couldn't help but notice

    Duffy... could also bring the other Prenda teams into serious disrepute

    That ship sailed a long time ago.

     

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  18.  
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    Bergman (profile), Apr 25th, 2013 @ 1:19pm

    Actually, Prenda IS pretty clearly dead...

    We're now seeing Zombie Prenda in action. They're desperately seeking brains (due in large part to lacking functional brains themselves).

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    gyffes, Apr 25th, 2013 @ 1:28pm

    Mike, Mike...

    *something stupid something inane something snarky nothing coherent*


    I think that about covers THAT asshole's contribution.

    Now, for mine...

    THANKS, I was starting to get the Lack-o'-Prenda shakes...

     

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  20.  
    icon
    ECA (profile), Apr 25th, 2013 @ 1:36pm

    WE need a debate on LLC

    lets DEBATE LLC..

    In my understanding..
    LLC was designated for Startup and small companies.
    It was to lend protection to them.
    It was NOT for larger companies as they had enough money to protect themselves.

    Why was this changed, and when?

     

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  21.  
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    madasahatter (profile), Apr 25th, 2013 @ 2:13pm

    May Be a Big Mistake

    What would happen if someone who was aware of Prenda's antics got a demand letter from this batch? I would think telling one's lawyer about the problems Prenda is having in two different federal courts would mess up the works. Also, they are suing in state court and it is very likely most of the letters are going out of state (jurisdiction). One of the defendants could challenge the court's jurisdiction - probably get it moved to the defendant's local federal district court.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2013 @ 2:41pm

    Zombie won't die

    "And in the master's chambers,
    They gathered for the feast
    They stab it with their steely knives,
    But they just can't kill the beast"

     

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  23.  
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    sorrykb (profile), Apr 25th, 2013 @ 3:00pm

    Perhaps Duffy is just trying to get some quick cash for his "flee the country" fund.

     

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  24.  
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    Wally (profile), Apr 25th, 2013 @ 3:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I couldn't help but notice

    Prison and national disbarment and of course repaying all the settlements in full ought to do for a good punishment.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2013 @ 5:38pm

    Re:

    It's because rarely, if ever, has a group of so called attorneys showed such disregard for the letter of the law. And it just keeps getting further and further from reality yet they keep on going like the energizer bunny.

    Unbelievable, disgusting, and on and on. How can you not continue to be in thrall to such a real life fairy tale?

     

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

  26.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Apr 25th, 2013 @ 7:32pm

    Re: yeah....

    Because no big companies or government agencies were involved. As long as it's just regular people getting hosed over by 'legal' extortion schemes like this, the laws and courts really don't care much.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2013 @ 8:10pm

    Re: Re: yeah....

    Your views on that are way too broad. Prenda has be practicing law illegally and they will be punished as such. Maybe if you had been keep track of the case or read this article...you would not make such a conflating statement as you just had.

     

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

  28.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Apr 25th, 2013 @ 9:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: yeah....

    As much as I'd love to think so, the legal system seems to have a rather large blind spot when those in high positions, or those who know the loopholes are concerned, and far too often they seem to just get away with a slap on the wrist where regular people would get an orange jumpsuit.

    Heck, the fact that Duffy at least is still pulling crap like this suggests that he's not exactly worried too much about potential repercussions for his actions.

    Now to be clear, I quite enjoy watching these scum-bags get worked over by the legal system and lawyers and judges who aren't willing to just let things slide, and I would love nothing more than to read an article sometime in the future all about the lot of these parasites getting slapped with so many fines, and so much jail-time for their actions that it sets new records for such things, but until then my rather low opinion of the 'justice' system the US seems to have these days will keep me from being too optimistic about their chances to face all the punishment they so richly deserve.

     

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

  29.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Apr 25th, 2013 @ 9:34pm

    Re:

    or maybe pay off some judgements against him... IIRC (and I coudl be wrong, by all means correct me) he owes a whole buncha money to people right now...

     

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

  30.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Apr 25th, 2013 @ 9:50pm

    Re: Re: I couldn't help but notice

    This is the case where I thought the defendant might be dead right?
    His entire web presence hit a dead end after some posts about medical issues.
    They served random unrelated female at an address they claimed was his, but that address never appeared in his name in any searches?
    I tried doing a search on that name to bring up the research postings again and got no hits on FCT or DTD...
    Do you have the link handy?

     

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  31.  
    icon
    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), Apr 25th, 2013 @ 10:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: I couldn't help but notice

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2013 @ 11:50pm

    Re:

    "No, Johnny Sn--Paul Duffy, you are not my nemesis. My nemesis is New Zealand."

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2013 @ 12:07am

    Insane? Maybe not. If, say, you're planning on fleeing the country it would be smart to gather up as much cash as you can as quickly as you can.

     

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

  34.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Apr 26th, 2013 @ 2:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I couldn't help but notice

    Ok thank you.
    Yep kept hitting dead ends looking into the person, sadly we never did find someone local to that area in FL to check obits....

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Apr 26th, 2013 @ 4:04am

    Finally!

    Some good news for a change!

     

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

  36.  
    icon
    RyanNerd (profile), Apr 26th, 2013 @ 5:24am

    Not so much as a wrist slapping

    Why are we suprised? Team Prenda so far hasn't so much as had their backsides spanked. They are hiding behind the 5th right now.
    So why not keep on making money the same way they have been? Just because they are remaining silent to not incriminate themselves doesn't mean they are doing anything criminal. Right???

     

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


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