Prenda Tries Yet Another Loophole; But Entirely Plagiarizes Someone Else's Failed Attempt

from the not-particularly-shocking dept

Prenda Law seems to be the gift that keeps on giving if you’re writing about absolutely ridiculous attempts at copyright trolling. If 2012 was the year of Righthaven as the representative of brazen, hubristic, bullshit copyright trolling getting its due, 2013 looks to be the year of John Steele / Prenda Law (or whatever he’s calling it these days). It is clearly going above and beyond what Righthaven only dreamed about. The latest is that Prenda has sought out yet another questionable loophole in trying to force ISPs to hand over subscriber info without having to first go to court. It’s using a misreading of a Pennsylvania state law to do so (it’s tried a similar move under a Florida state law, which flopped). However, as the good folks at FightCopyrightTrolls have noticed, the argument it’s using in Pennsyvania has failed in the past as well. And not just that the general argument has failed but the specific, word-for-word argument. That’s because Prenda or its local-lawyer-for-hire, Isaac Slepner, appears to have copied word for word (and stylistically too!) a filing for Liberty Media (represented by Jordan Rushie), and simply slapping the Prenda shell company Guava’s name at the top. Rushie confirmed with FCT that he had nothing whatsoever to do with this new filing.

Plagiarism and copyright infringement are not quite the same thing — and there have been discussions of whether or not you can really infringe on copying a legal filing (it happens often enough, though usually in snippets, rather than wholesale). Not that anyone took Steele’s claims of “protecting” copyright seriously, but it really says something when the law firm billing itself as protecting against piracy chooses to copy top to bottom someone else’s legal filing. Check out both filings below.

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Companies: prenda, prenda law

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Comments on “Prenda Tries Yet Another Loophole; But Entirely Plagiarizes Someone Else's Failed Attempt”

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sophisticatedjanedoe says:

Re: Jordan Rushie's comments

I liked Raul’s comment (not public, but he’ll forgive me):

(Context: the state case Liberty Media v. Does 1-441 was removed to the federal level after Charles Thomas petitioned, and the case was subsequently voluntarily dismissed.)

That is funny, the only way to complete this comedy is for another attorney to copy Charles’ petition to remove and coincidentally find it assigned to the same federal judge.

sophisticatedjanedoe says:

It is a bit strange that I advocate this way, but to be fair, it’s not the pleading itself that failed. Moreover, judge granted the motion yesterday (admittedly, it was not a known fact at the time this TD article was written).

I would love to attribute this event to the ignorance of the judge regarding Prenda and copyright trolls in general, but if it was a shitty memorandum, things may went a different way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Not infringment

It’s not infringing.

First, no lawyer writes a motion because of copyright. Therefore it does nothing to “promote the progress”.

Second, legal filings are not meant to be creative works. They are functional, not creative.

Third, it would be inherently unfair to preclude a lawyer (or non-lawyer) from writing a particular motion in a particular way just because someone else did first.

sophisticatedjanedoe says:

Re: Not infringment

Did anyone here claimed that any copyright was infringed? Professional integrity is being discussed here, not infringement.

FYI lawyers are OK with borrowing legal arguments, but there is a line, and crossing this line is bad-bad for a purported professional.

Copying a pleading word-to-word is a long shot from “writing a particular motion in a particular way.”

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