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 “” — quite similar to Prenda’s existing “” 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.

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Companies: anti-piracy law group, prenda, prenda law

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Comments on “Prenda Law Accused Of Trying To Start Over Again Under A New Name”

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sophisticatedjanedoe says:

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 and

That One Guy (profile) says:

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)…

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

HoustonLawy3r (profile) says:

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.

Michael (profile) says:

Re: 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.

anon says:

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.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

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.

Trails (profile) says:

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

sophisticatedjanedoe says:

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.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

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 or

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. 😀

John Fenderson (profile) says:

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.

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