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.”

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Companies: duffy law group, prenda

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Comments on “Thought Prenda Was Dead? No, It's Up To Its Old Tricks… And More”

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Scote (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

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?

fogbugzd (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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?

That One Guy (profile) says:

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.

madasahatter (profile) says:

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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