Judge Wright Sentences Prenda To Poetic Justice

from the a-little-something-extra dept

Yesterday we covered Judge Wright’s order against Team Prenda, noting the key points and the healthy serving of Star Trek references. However, in that post we left out one beautifully comedic bit of just desserts that Wright placed in the ruling, which H. Poteat was kind enough to point out. In the introduction, Judge Wright clearly lays out the basics of copyright trolling and why it’s so nasty. In particular, he calls out the nefarious nature of the “settlement” offers:

Then they offer to settle—for a sum calculated to be just below the cost of a bare-bones defense

Okay. Remember that line. Because then, at the end of his order, where he awards the attorney’s fees of $40,659.86 and then doubles them “as a punitive measure” to $81,319.72, Judge Wright adds a little footnote after that amount, which reads:

This punitive portion is calculated to be just below the cost of an effective appeal.

Well played, Judge Wright. Well played.

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Companies: prenda, prenda law

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Comments on “Judge Wright Sentences Prenda To Poetic Justice”

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Anonymous Coward says:

However, in that post we left out one beautifully comedic bit of just desserts that Wright placed in the ruling, which H. Poteat was kind enough to point out.

I pointed it out in the comments before that: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130506/16340322966/judge-wright-tells-team-prenda-to-pay-80k-refers-their-activity-to-state-bars-feds-irs.shtml#c145

Pats self on back.

RD says:

Re: Why?

“Why does out of the blue hate it when criminals get (a portion of) their just deserts?”

Because according to ootb, the arrow of guilt only points one way: infringers/pirates/sharers. These are the only guilty parties in any copyright dispute. The robber barons, the *IAA’s and all the other corporate fraud and malfeasance is just hand-waved away as “outliers” and “anomolies” but a SINGLE instance of infringement is painted as a foolproof example of utter devastation to entire creative entities and industries.

Anonymous Coward says:

Raining on parades

This punitive portion is calculated to be just below the cost of an effective appeal.

Don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade right now, when y’all are erecting statues of Judge Wright.

But perhaps, oh, maybe next week ?when everyone’s sober again? can we discuss whether this is exactly proper? Oh, sure, it’s probably fair, very fair, I don’t dispute the fairness here…. But is it proper? I have a doubt.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Raining on parades

Yeah, that’s why I said “I shouldn’t laugh” yesterday when commenting on this.

Is it actually improper? That depends. Did he decide on the amount and then calculate that, by coincidence, it would be just below the cost of an appeal? Or did he calculate the cost of an appeal and then set the punitive damages?

Since the punitive damages are exactly equal to the fees, I think it’s the former instead of the latter. Which makes it just funny and not an improper amount.

Kind of like how he incorporated Star Trek references into the document. Making the references is fine. But setting the damages equal to the star date on his favorite episode would not be fine.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Raining on parades

… should they appeal.

News via Popehat comments…

XBiz reports:

Steele on Tuesday told XBIZ that he plans on appealing Wright’s order with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

As I said originally, we can discuss this later. There’ll probably be a story when they file their appeal, and we can discuss their arguments then.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Raining on parades

One point of contention I have with the opinion is with this part:

Plaintiffs can only show that someone, using an IP address belonging to the subscriber, was seen online in a torrent swarm. But Plaintiffs did not conduct a sufficient investigation to determine whether that person actually downloaded enough data (or even anything at all) to produce a viewable video. Further, Plaintiffs cannot conclude whether that person spoofed the IP address, is the subscriber of that IP address, or is some one else using that subscriber?s Internet access. Without better technology, prosecuting illegal BitTorrent activity requires substantial effort in order to make a case. It is simply not economically viable to properly prosecute the illegal download of a single copyrighted video.

That to me makes little sense. The only information they could have to start their investigation is the IP address. They would not be able to determine whether the IP address was spoofed or the subscriber is the downloader until after they filed their complaint, revealed the Doe’s identity, and commenced discovery. Judge Wright makes it sound like they have to have evidence they could not possibly have in order to file suit–which can’t possibly be the case. Nor do I think his argument about downloading “enough data” makes sense. I don’t think the test for reproduction turns on whether the entire file is downloaded. Downloading a part of the file is still a reproduction.

But, yeah, it’ll be interesting to see if they actually appeal this.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Raining on parades

Then it’s a problem with the law, because with the way torrent technology is set up, (at least as far as I understand) you can’t get the evidence until after you file the complaint, reveal the identity and so on. Anyway, that wasn’t what Prenda tried to do. They just saw the IP address and ran with it, saying in their letter to the Does that they have been caught infringing and the case can go away for a “small” fee.
There needs to be laws written on how to deal with evidence gathering in relation to P2P. At the very least, it needs to be set in stone that you can’t simply grab a log of IP addresses and say that that alone amounts to guilt on the part of the accused. At that point, you’re seeing the licence plate number on a camera and suing the car’s owner, without bothering to check who was actually behind the wheel.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Raining on parades

Exactly! “You would need to sue to find out who….”
Not “send letter demanding money or else we will sue you for illegal download of porn and have your name associated with porn on public record”

Lawsuit cost substancial money
Letter costs just a few dollars condidering envelope, paper and certified delivery.

Lurker Keith says:

Re: Raining on parades

When I read Popehat’s coverage, I think I recall reading someone speculating that footnote could be schmuck-bait, goading them to appeal, which will only increase the attorney’s fees to be paid in the end.

It’s also possible that, on appeal, it’s determined that the original $80k was too low, & Judge Wright could’ve fined them more, but erred on the safe side.

Jay (profile) says:

But what about Six Strikes

While I understand that a lot of copyright trolls are scared in their boots from Judge Wright’s order, I have to wonder about the other issues that this raises.

In the US, we should be concerned with Six Strikes and educating judges about these issues of copyright. The problem comes in that copyright continues to hamper innovation and learning while giving publishers immense incentives to pervert the law and get money from people.

But we’ve seen that the trade industries will go through any lengths to try to conflate piracy and their poor business sense with being entitled to money, whether that’s Chris Dodd using the same stump speech to argue for more legal wrangling in how the movie industry works against public interest or Germany’s unions suppressing artists and making Youtube ,difficult to work with in that country.

For me we have to ask how does this affect Six Strikes? How can ISPs be told to prevent piracy with soft-SOPA while HADOPI didn’t work nor did it work with other types of piracy alternatives?

Does this kill Six Strikes? Expand it? Is public wifi in danger? How about the public’s right to decide how they want content?

At this point, there is a major victory for the side of common sense, but the battle is far from over.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: But what about Sick Strikes

The RIAA started the copyright trolling business. Prenda is engaging in it after courts are recognizing it for the extortion racket that it is.

So the RIAA, realizing the failure earlier than doofuses like Prenda, switches from copyright trolling to the Sick Strikes plan.

It won’t be that long however before this ends up in a court, and judges get wise to it.

The RIAA / MPAA want anything but actual judicial review and due process. Copyright accusations cannot stand the bright light of day. All of this, like much of their business, must be done in secret in the darkness. I’m sure they try to keep Hollywood Accounting as opaque as possible.

OldGeezer (profile) says:

Re: The Jidge should gone a step further

He probably would have done that had they not dropped their lawsuits. He is reporting them to the I.R.S. This step alone will probably result in serious Federal prison time for them. I believe this judge did not state anything here that cannot be substantiated. He said they made millions that they did not pay taxes on. These guys should be buying cases of “Soap on a Rope” because they sure won’t want to drop it where they are going.

Anonymous Coward says:

Slightly OT - how does the finding of fact impact Cooper?

Last I heard, Alan Cooper’s lawsuit is still ongoing – since one judge has issued a finding of fact stating that they “fraudulently signed the copyright assignment for ?Popular Demand? using Alan Cooper?s signature without his authorization”, how will that affect Cooper’s suit?

Can he introduce that as evidence? How much weight will it carry with the judge? Will the judge in that case be required (or predisposed) to accept it as fact, or can Steele argue it away?

Internet Zen Master (profile) says:

Remember that statue idea?

So in the previous article I suggested (in a half-joking manner) that the Internet should consider crowdfunding the construction of a statue for Judge Wright to honor him for taking down Prenda.

I mentioned the idea over at Ars as well, and apparently someone over there has started a campaign on indiegogo for that very statue!


I’d be pretty amused if this project actually met its goal, to be honest.

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