Prenda Lawyer Claims Judge 'Abhors' Copyright Holders After Judge Becomes Curious About Who Alan Cooper Really Is

from the discovery dept

We’ve been covering the bizarre situation surrounding some of copyright troll Prenda Law’s cases that involve two companies — AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13 — where a mysterious person named “Alan Cooper” was listed as CEO. That, alone, isn’t so mysterious. But what made it odd was that a guy who took care of one of John Steele’s homes reached out to some of the courts hearing cases involving those two companies to note that his name is Alan Cooper, and he had reason to believe that Prenda had used his name illegally as the pretend CEO of these companies. A lawyer in California fighting some of these Prenda / Ingenuity 13 cases, Morgan Pietz, called this to the attention of the court. In response, Prenda’s California lawyer, Brett Gibbs, threw a bit of a hissy fit in which he refused to answer some simple questions concerning who actually runs Ingenuity 13, and who “Alan Cooper” really is. Gibbs then sought sanctions against Pietz, which were quickly rejected (pdf) by Judge Otis Wright.

Pietz then asked the court to basically put the case on hold and to order Gibbs / Prenda to respond to his questions concerning AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13:

This motion is made on the ground that “good cause” exists to authorize the limited discovery requested, per Rule 26(d)(1), because, very recently, deeply troubling factual allegations have been made which suggest the plaintiff is engaged in a widespread and systemic fraud on the Courts affecting thousands of ISP subscribers. Specifically, very troubling questions have been raised as to whether Prenda Law, Inc., has misappropriated the identity of one Mr. Alan Cooper of Minnesota, holding him out in federal court filings as the principal of plaintiff Ingenuity 13, a shell entity organized in St. Kitts and Nevis, without Mr. Cooper’s knowledge or consent. For weeks, undersigned counsel, and others, have sought answers from Prenda Law, Inc. and its clients AF Holdings, LLC and Ingenuity 13, LLC, to try and put these concerns to rest. None of the answers proffered to date have been at all reassuring; to the extent Prenda has engaged on the issue at all, the only answers provided have been evasive to a degree that is almost comical.

The filing goes on to point out that Prenda could have avoided all of this by simply producing the Alan Cooper in question and showing that it’s not John Steele’s housekeeper.

If Prenda Law would simply identify the “Alan Cooper” who it claims is the true principal of Ingenuity 13, LLC and AF Holdings, LLC, or even confirm that such a person actually exists (notwithstanding the allegations of Alan Cooper of Minnesota), this ex parte application would not be necessary. Essentially, whether or not there is another Alan Cooper is the million-dollar question. However, Prenda Law has explicitly stated that it will not address any of the troubling factual circumstances raised by Mr. Cooper, or answer any questions on this topic, unless it is compelled to do so.

Courts don’t often grant this kind of thing… but this time it did. Right after Christmas the judge granted the order in full, meaning that Gibbs and Prenda are now required to answer the following questions:

  1. Other than the Alan Cooper of Minnesota who is represented by attorney Paul Godfread, is there another Alan Cooper who is currently the principal of Ingenuity 13, LLC — yes or no?
  2. If the answer to the first interrogatory is yes, state all contact information for this Alan Cooper, including current home address, business address, and telephone number.
  3. Other than the Alan Cooper of Minnesota who is represented by attorney Paul Godfread, was there ever another Alan Cooper who was, in the past, the principal of Ingenuity 13, LLC — yes or no?
  4. If the answer to the third interrogatory is yes, state all contact information for this Alan Cooper, including all known home addresses, business addresses, and telephone numbers.
  5. Other than the Alan Cooper of Minnesota who is represented by attorney Paul Godfread, is there another Alan Cooper who is currently the principal of AF Holdings, LLC — yes or no?
  6. If the answer to the fifth interrogatory is yes, state all contact information for this Alan Cooper, including current home address, business address, and telephone number.
  7. Other than the Alan Cooper of Minnesota who is represented by attorney Paul Godfread, was there ever another Alan Cooper who was, in the past, the principal of AF Holdings, LLC — yes or no?
  8. If the answer to the seventh interrogatory is yes, state all contact information for this Alan Cooper, including all known home addresses, business addresses, and telephone numbers.
  9. If the answer to the third interrogatory is yes, state each position this Alan Cooper held at Ingenuity 13, LLC and the dates such position was held.
  10. If the answer to the seventh interrogatory is yes, state each position this Alan Cooper held at AF Holdings, LLC and the dates such position was held.
  11. Eleventh Special Interrogatory: Was the Alan Cooper of Minnesota who is represented by attorney Paul Godfread ever a principal, even unwittingly, of Ingenuity 13, LLC?
  12. Was the Alan Cooper of Minnesota who is represented by attorney Paul Godfread ever a principal, even unwittingly, of AF Holdings, LLC?
  13. On November 26, 2012, when undersigned counsel emailed Brett Gibbs to ask for a routine extension request, Mr. Gibbs responded by email “I would have to check with our client about that request. Just an FYI, our client usually does not like to grant these types of requests on short notice unless there is a reasonable chance that settlement may occur in the case.” Later, Mr. Gibbs purported to have an answer on his query to the “client” regarding an extension. Who is the client contact at Ingenuity 13, LLC that Mr. Gibbs spoke with on this matter? Note, no details of the communication are being requested, just the name of the client contact.
  14. Reference is made to the following civil actions filed by AF Holdings, LLC and Ingenuity 13, LLC in the Northern District of California: 4:2012-cv-02049-PJH; 3:2012-cv-02393-CRB; 5:2012-cv-02394-LHK; 3:2012-cv-02396-EMC; 3:2012-cv-02404-SC; 4:2012-cv-02411-PJH; 3:2012-cv-02415-CRB; 4:2012-cv-03248-PJH; 3:2012-cv-04218-WHA; 5:2012-cv-04219-LHK; 5:2012-cv-04446-EJD; 5:2012-cv-04447-RMW; 5:2012-cv-04448-EJD; 3:2012-cv-04982-CRB; 3:2012-cv-04216-JSW; 3:2012-cv-04217-RS; 5:2012-cv-04445-LHK; 3:2012-cv-04449-SC; 3:2012-cv-04450-MMC; 3:2012-cv-04976-JSW; 3:2012-cv-04977-WHA; 4:2012-cv-04978-PJH; 5:2012-cv-04979-LHK; 5:2012-cv-04980-EJD; 3:2012-cv-04981-RS. With respect to the copyright assignments attached to the complaints in these actions, as Exhibit B thereto, which all appear to have a similar signature by “Alan Cooper,” please state whether the person who signed these assignments was the Alan Cooper of Minnesota who is represented by attorney Paul Godfread — yes or no?
  15. If the answer to the fourteenth interrogatory is no, then state all contact information for the person that did sign these documents, including all known home addresses, business addresses, and telephone numbers.

The order also requires them to produce identification documents for the people identified in the questions above, along with proof of their employment at the companies in question. Oh yeah, and also to produce the “signature” of Alan Cooper on documentation which Gibbs had claimed (in earlier court documents) that he had seen on various other court documents.

Given that the judge has, in short order, denied Gibbs’ request for sanctions while granting Pietz’s request for such discovery, it would appear that the judge isn’t buying Prenda’s story and is at least curious as to whether or not Prenda can turn up an actual Alan Cooper who is not John Steele’s housekeeper. It appears that Prenda has until January 10th to produce the information. Of course, instead of doing that, Prenda appears to be throwing the judicial equivalent of a shit fit.

On New Year’s Eve, Gibbs filed one of the more extraordinary motions you’ll see, arguing that Judge Wright, in merely asking Gibbs to answer who the CEO is of Ingenuity 13, is impossibly biased against copyright holders and should be removed from the case. I am not joking.

The story Plaintiff now sets forth is rather simple: Honorable Judge Otis D. Wright, II simply abhors plaintiffs who attempt to assert their rights with respect to online infringement of pornography copyrights. Honorable Judge Wright’s abhorrence of such assertions of right under the Copyright Act has risen to a level such that a neutral observer would have reasonable grounds to question Honorable Judge Wright’s impartiality. Indeed, in light of Honorable Judge Wright’s conduct, Plaintiff contends that it would be impossible to convince a neutral observer that Honorable Judge Wright regards this particular type of case impartially.

What follows is a rather ridiculous diatribe, in which Gibbs argues that somehow Judge Wright has it in for companies like the ones he represents, because they dare to enforce their copyrights. He points to an earlier ruling from Judge Wright in a Malibu Media case in which the judge is clearly aware of how copyright trolling works, and says it’s somehow unfair for the judge to actually call these companies out on the fact that they’re using the court system as part of a business model, rather than for a legitimate judicial purpose. More importantly, he never points out why this absolves him from having to identify just who is Alan Cooper, and whether or not Prenda lied to the court about Alan Cooper and the various companies he’s associated with. Of course, nowhere does the evidence show that Judge Wright is biased against copyright holders — merely concerned that those who are engaged in copyright trolling have a legitimate purpose for what they’re doing. His actions, to date, have all revolved around requiring such companies to prove that they’re not just in the legal shakedown business — but rather than do that, Gibbs is throwing a temper tantrum. Crazy.





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Companies: af holdings, ingenuity 13, prenda, prenda law

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Comments on “Prenda Lawyer Claims Judge 'Abhors' Copyright Holders After Judge Becomes Curious About Who Alan Cooper Really Is”

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69 Comments
Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Insult the judge?

I don’t claim to be some great legal mind, but insulting the judge so directly in your case doesn’t seem to be a good way to win it. Or is Gibbs intentionally trying to provoke the judge into saying something he can then use to then show that the judge isn’t impartial? Even that seems destined to failed miserably.

Manabi (profile) says:

Re: Insult the judge?

If the allegations about Alan Cooper are correct, insulting the judge to try to avoid answering those questions might actually be the only thing Gibbs can do. I suspect that if they are true (and given Gibbs’ reaction, it’s looking highly likely they are), he’s in deep, deep trouble. As in contempt of court, going to jail trouble. Committing fraud on the courts is much, much worse than simply insulting a judge.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Insult the judge?

Committing fraud on the courts is much, much worse than simply insulting a judge.

But that’s the thing, insulting the judge only makes it worse. Continuing a fraud on the court after being called on it, while pissing off the one person that could be lenient to the mistake is sheer lunacy.

Manabi (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Insult the judge?

Yes, but this is apparently a “Hail Mary” pass attempt. I believe Gibbs is thinking “If I can get this judge kicked off, maybe the next one will ignore this whole Alan Cooper thing.” I believe this is the only change he’s got, and it’s a mighty slim one.

I don’t think it’s a particularly smart one, but smart people don’t get themselves into situations like this in the first place.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Insult the judge?

Pretty much, the fact that there has been no mention of who Alan Cooper is looks very bad. If he did exist, it would be fairly easy for the company he runs to simply state “he exists” and give some simple contact information and put the entire thing to rest.

This run around makes it look very much like the entire company is a fraud and they’re F’d.

out_of_the_blue says:

WOT = wall of text.

But this legal dullity* is appropriate place to use a bit of text ran across last night — attributed because I don’t steal:
————–
http://archive.org/details/UnknownWorld

Reviewer: Vic Demise – 1.00 out of 5 stars – January 4, 2011 Subject: No….Just, no. More boring than watching C-SPAN on a slow day, as they discuss “HR162-B Amendment L” on House Sub-committee expenditures for the second fiscal quarter, and related allocations pertaining to National Park restroom paper toilet seat cover dispensers, and the requisite height at which they should be fixed to walls, including which gauge anchor bolts are to be used, based on average humidity in the off-season, not withstanding previous resolutions already passed concerning the diameter of washers in use since 1958 for said purpose… (More boring than that)
————

[* dullity is a nonce-word, but you know what it means]

Take a loopy tour of Techdirt.com! You always end up at same place!
http://techdirt.com/
A “safe haven” for pirates. Vulgar weenies welcome.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: WOT = wall of text.

Again, more insanity. I have no idea, none, of what OOTB is trying to idea. At least with previous posts, he was somewhat responding to the article. This one? What does restroom toilet paper have to do with Prenda?

FYI, dullity is not a word, at least not one in a reputable dictionary. I also don’t know what you mean by “wall of text”. A wall of text is a long, well, wall of text, with very few spaces or no paragraphs at all. Which this article clearly has.

How is Techdirt a “safe haven” for copyright infringers? Do you honestly believe that someone who infringes can just go to this site and magically be safe from law enforcement?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: WOT = wall of text.

Why do you people still bother with ootb?

He has no interest whatsoever in discussing the issues. He’s just here to criticise everything. And then, when someone points out that he might be wrong, he labels them weenies, ankle-biters or whatever other weird name he comes up with, while at the same time accusing US of only resorting to ad homs.

He’s a lost cause. Ignore (or report, if you like) and move on.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: WOT = wall of text.

I think a part of replying to some of these trolls is informing people who might otherwise fall for their comments and agree with them for their use of inflammatory words or emotional appeals.

It’s kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t thing.

If we don’t reply some who aren’t as informed might believe them and further spread misinformation. If we do reply they get the “attention” they want and keep posting.

I’d rather respond and point by point or sentence by sentence debunk their brand of stupidity than let it slide just for the people who MIGHT believe the nonsense they spew. bob and OotB are particularly horrid in what they post. Neither has ever heard of facts and if they have they refuse to acknowledge them, much less cite them.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 WOT = wall of text.

I think a part of replying to some of these trolls is informing people who might otherwise fall for their comments and agree with them for their use of inflammatory words or emotional appeals.

When I reply to the trolls, it’s with this in mind. However, the vast majority of their comments don’t need such a rebuttal. They’re so obviously nutty or incoherent that they won’t be taken seriously by very many people at all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: WOT = wall of text.

Yeah, I agree with this.

Just report and move on. It’s what I do. I never read his posts.

He doesn’t deserve to be responded to. At all. He’s admitted before that his sole purpose for being here is to pollute the discussion and try to derail it.

I know some don’t like that posts can be so easily buried here, but I enjoy the discussions here and I hate, hate, the troll spam and that is exactly what ootb is.

RD says:

Re: WOT = wall of text.

“But this legal dullity* is appropriate place to use a bit of text ran across last night — attributed because I don’t steal:”

You copied an entire quote from the site. According to your corporate masters (such as the AP) you are a defacto thief. Attribution does NOT absolve you of the crime of theft, according to Big Copyright. You are NOT allowed to just lift an entire piece of someone else’s work and use it any way you see fit without either a) getting explicit permission first or b) paying the proper licensing fee. If you are denied, you just have to LIVE WITHOUT. If the cost is too high, you don’t get to just use it anyway. You are a hypocritical thief and your masters will be cutting you off soon.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: WOT = wall of text.

“But this legal dullity* is appropriate place to use a bit of text ran across last night — attributed because I don’t steal:”

This boy has to be paid per post by his media mogul masters.
It’s the only explanation for seeing him here where, as usual, he adds absolutely nothing to the discussion.

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Porn copyright

Whether or not pornography is actually covered under copyright is actually up for debate. An individual being sued by one of these copyright trolls is attempting to test this theory in court: https://torrentfreak.com/can-porn-be-copyrighted-120817/ The basic argument is that pornography does not promote the sciences or useful arts.

G Thompson (profile) says:

>> but rather than do that, Gibbs is throwing a temper tantrum. Crazy.

You might have hit the nail on the head Mike, Especially with that last word.

Since that whole diatribe by Gibbs is basically to any reasonable observer who has had even the slightest contact of anything to do with courts anywhere ever of stating in no uncertain terms “with all due respect to the Honourable officer of the court.. Go and get Stuffed” and liable to make the court and it’s honour be very swayed into creating major sanctions up to and including contempt charges (and even ethics violations that could remove licenses) maybe Gibbs in his infinite wisdom *coughs* is trying to play the mental incapax card..

ie: I’m going to act as crazy as a loon and make everyone take pity on me and then go find that River in Egypt called De Nile

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I think it is well played…

When he gets convicted he can be placed in a loony bin instead of a prison.

On the other hand, I think he has to be careful about what mental illness he tries to fake. Psychosis, depression, Tourettes and phobias seem like Hail Marys as defences. A bipolar disorder or schizophrenia diagnosis, is probably his best bets but those are very serious and incurable ones.
You can always fake an autism spectrum disorder, but a case lawyer with that is a masochist.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I don’t think that the US has this

We do, unfortunately.

I don’t think we have the “you must be a pirate” tax on all blank media in the US. I believe we have it on blank audio/video tapes, but not on optical media (yet.)

OTOH I could be mistaken; I seem to remember someone saying that it only applies to CDs that are marketed for burning “music” and “video,” so some brands can save a buck by marketing them as “data” CDs, even though they all do the exact same damn thing.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I seem to remember someone saying that it only applies to CDs that are marketed for burning “music” and “video,” so some brands can save a buck by marketing them as “data” CDs, even though they all do the exact same damn thing.

This is correct. The tax applies also to blank magnetic media as well as recorders and CD burners. It does not apply to DVDs (yet).

John Fenderson (profile) says:

That sounds familiar

Honorable Judge Otis D. Wright, II simply abhors plaintiffs who attempt to assert their rights with respect to online infringement of pornography copyrights.

Hey, that rings a bell! It’s one of the standard retorts various trolls use here, and is just as specious.

To oppose the manner in which a thing is done is not the same as opposing the thing itself.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Gibbs tells the Judge to goto the den of evil copyright haters, and then gets pissed off the Judge learns how they are scamming the system?
I’ve left a few messages for Judges and Clerks on FCT (fightcopyrighttrolls.com) inviting them to ask questions and to read up on all of the problems in these cases.

I mean it isn’t like Pretenda isn’t in good standing in IL, having avoided filing reports and just jumping ship to a new name… er wait.

Its not like Pretenda retained criminal council to defend themselves in another court after their agents were put under oath… er wait.

Its not like statements to the court were filed under penalty of perjury that were then retracted and replaced with new stories that were conflicting…er wait.

There is no way any of their clients might be facing charges that could pierce the corporate veil because of wrong doing with sham copyright transfers and suing for content not actually owned by the plaintiff at the time of filings…er wait.

There is no way that an expert in their cases has left not a single footprint to show they are a real company as they claim…er wait.

They never ever considered colluding with a defense council in a sham case just to try and hide a mass doe case in sheeps clothing…er wait.

They are so fucked, the light from fucked will take 10,000 years to reach them.

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