Comcast And AT&T Want Their Cut From Prenda Too

from the welcome-to-the-big-leagues dept

Last week, we noted that yet another court had ruled against Prenda. In this case, rather than their own shell companies, Prenda was representing Lightspeed, a porn company which already had a questionable reputation. Also, this was a case where Prenda tried to use a “hacking” claim rather than a straight copyright claim, in an attempt to get the case in state court, rather than the more savvy federal courts. Finally, when the ISPs protested having to turn over names, the brilliant Prenda strategy was to sue the ISPs as well. So, now that the court found “the litigation smacked of bullying pretense,” it’s not just the random guy, Anthony Smith, seeking legal fees… but Comcast and AT&T as well. Late last week, Comcast and then AT&T each asked for John Steele, Paul Hansmeier and Paul Duffy (by name) to each pay their attorneys’ fees as well. And, as you might imagine, they have some pricey attorneys. Comcast’s filing goes into quite a bit of detail about the questionable actions taken by Team Prenda in this case (and in other cases). AT&T’s filing is much shorter and more or less says “you already know what these guys have been up to, so no need to repeat it here.”

Not surprisingly, Hansmeier quickly filed an angry response, arguing that there is no possible reason why he should have to pay attorneys’ fees, and even arguing that there’s still no evidence of wrongdoing… by himself (leaving the others out to dry). Basically, he argues that while he was involved with the case briefly, none of his actions were the problematic ones. He also claims that the requests for attorneys’ fees isn’t timely, since Team Prenda had dismissed the case six months ago — leaving out the ruling from just last week which found Team Prenda’s actions problematic and subject to attorneys’ fees. Amusingly, he also argues that Comcast laying out in great detail all of the bogus actions of Team Prenda in this case, as well as how multiple other judges have called out their behavior and alerted law enforcement about their activities for criminal investigation, is nothing more than an ad hominem attack.

Sorry, Paul, if someone calls you a morally bankrupt scamming loser — that would be an ad hominem attack. Comcast laying out in great detail how judges have ruled that you committed fraud on the court in very similar cases, and ordered you to pay attorneys’ fees (while also alerting law enforcement, the IRS, local legal bars and others to investigate), is presenting relevant information to the court. It might help to learn the difference.

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Companies: at&t, comcast, lightspeed, prenda, prenda law

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Comments on “Comcast And AT&T Want Their Cut From Prenda Too”

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JoeT says:

Remember, phone company lawyers are scary lawyers

The phone company (and the cable company too) are both businesses that stem from highly regulated monopolies. As such, the difference between a profitable phone company and an unprofitable one stems from unusual factors. They didn’t compete on price, because prices were set by the state utility commission. They didn’t compete on service, because the public utility commission set a high bar for service. They didn’t really work at improving their cost structures, because they had large legacy union labor forces, and their capital costs were either sunk costs from time before time, or were rental costs from a competitor (whose rates were set by the public utility commission).

Instead, they competed against one another in the form of hearings/lawsuits against the public utility commission to determine higher rates for themselves, lower service standards, lower payments for leased capital equipment they had to lease, and higher payments for leased capital equipment they leased out to their competitors. Plus lobbying for less regulations on themselves (but more on anyone else).

In short, the success of a phone company (and to a smaller extent cable operator) was determined by the quality and ferocity of their lawyers.

I’d rather be sued by IBM; their lawyers are cute and cuddly in comparison.

norahc (profile) says:

Footnote #1 of Hansmeier's response

“1. The court, for example, determined that Messrs. Hansmeier, Steele, and Duffy were the plantiff’s owners notwithstanding that plantiff’s officer appeared at the hearing and was prepared, but not allowed to, testify as to plantiff’s actual ownership.”

Ummm…that’s generally what happens when you choose to invoke your 5th Amendment rights. You lose your opportunity to testify. You think they would have taught that in a school somewhere, like maybe a law school.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Footnote #1 of Hansmeier's response

Yeah, they’ve been trying that trick pretty much since the case in question, where they’ll claim that they ‘never got to give their side of the story’, and then either hope no-one knows what actually happened, or change the subject if someone tries to point out how such a statement is a complete and utter lie.

Anonymous Coward says:

Prenda is angry that after they made the monumentally stupid decision to tangle with a horde of stampeding bulls, they now have to deal with the horns.

And to think, Prenda and Steve Jones were busily spamming adult industry forums, gloating about how they were dinging people for downloading Steve Jones underage amateur pornography and threatening to bleed them out of house and home. You would’ve thought that experienced bullies and extortionists like them should have known not to take on larger bullies, but looks like the good old combination of greed and stupidity prompted them to bite off much, much more than they could chew.

Not surprisingly, one half of the Steele-Hansmeier duo has began paving the way to throw the patsies under the bus. Maybe if he had stuck to suing people for not having a website viewable by blind people he’d be in less trouble – but clearly scams are in this idiot’s genes, the bigger the better.

out_of_the_blue and horse with no name just hate it when due process is enforced.

horse with no name says:

Re: Re:

So when John Steele demands money from pirates it’s bullying, but when ISPs demand money to shield pirates, it’s reasonable?

You don’t understand what due process means, and clearly no one else on this site does but out_of_the_blue. Why isn’t Masnick doing anything about trolls like you who want injustice?

Anon E. Mous (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Lol The twisted loguic of the Prenda gang. You are sittying there and talking about the ISP shielding pirates? Deny, Deflect, Delay… the Prenda mantra.

The ISP’s want their money and rightfully so due to the legal expenses they occured in fighting to not have to turn over this information because You and Hnasmeier decided to sue for subscribers information to keep the extorion-er- I mean settlements coming.

You and Hansmeier are the ones who brought the ISP’s into this and they have occured expense fighting this and they are entitled to have their fees paid by Prenda and yourselves.

Trying to make your self and Hansmeuier out as sojme saviours and martyrs of copyright justic is beyond laughable given the numerous cpourt proceeding where wrong doing has been found in Prenda cases.

John, Your no more a victim here than Hansmeier is and to play it off as such is beyond laughable. What about all the people you sued that didn’t infirnge or steal anything that settled out of not being able to afford to mount a defense.

What about those you threatend and bullied with phone calls and letters and intimidation tactics like telling them that they could be liable for tens of thousands of dollars if they didn’t settle now.

The only thimng your a victim of is the fact that your scheme has blown up in your face, and your facing a possible RICO indictment and Tax Evasion charges at some point.

Now you guys cry poverty and the “it wasn’t me” defense, but I guess when that $1.9 Mil was rolling in your weren’t feeling too sorry about yourself.

You two are the authors of your own demise, you created the circumstances you find yourself in becausae of pure greed, not because you were out there saving copyrigted works from being pirated.

This has ajnd never will be about copyright abuse, this is about a litigation scheme to extort people for money by fraudlent means.

Yes porn producers can be scummy, but the mere fact that some porn producers you were working with thought something shady was going ojn and wanted out speaks volume about how even they wanted out before they were sharing a cell with you.

So Please John, next time you felll so unappreciated, just go and get a big old cross you can drag behind you for all your sacrifices you have made.

mcinsand (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: I'm sure MPAA would like to sue Prenda

When someone creates, I respect their right to decide how to license and charge for it. I pay for my software, movies, and music if the copyright licenses stipulate such, and I respect other restrictions for the GPL and BSD software that I use. There are people that legitimately go after those users/distributors that do not uphold those license requirements. The EFF is a prime example, in that they have gone after violators. The MPAA is also within their legal rights to act on the behalf of film producers.

The MPAA may have an antiquated business model that is self-destructive in the digital age, but that is the model that they have chosen. In terms of enforcing video copyright, Prenda has harmed them. MPAA now look considerably less legitimate by association. Prenda encouraged piracy by uploading videos in question, which was in violation of the copyright terms attached to the videos. By failing to account for ownership, financial trails, and story discrepancies, Prenda has failed to uphold any legal duties to be ready to answer court questions. Those same story discrepancies also amount to a continuing chronic series of outright lies. If I was in the MPAA, and especially if I was a member of the copyright enforcement apparatus, I would certainly look for any angle to go after Prenda. Through Prenda’s illegitimate and incompetent actions and choices, they have certainly damaged those that work to maintain copyright.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I'm sure MPAA would like to sue Prenda

Too little, too late. The MPAA and RIAA were the ones who began the model of suing children, grandmothers and everyone who couldn’t afford to defend themselves in lawsuits of attrition, and despite multiple claims that their respective industries are dying, Mitch Bainwol and Chris Dodd are paid handsomely. Extremely handsomely, year after year. They paved the foundation for which Steele found a lucrative method of litigation. Hell, Steele and company regularly flash “copyright” and “content owners” in their arguments like some litigious “open sesame”, claiming regularly that precedents set by the RIAA allowed them to do whatever they pleased with the defendants.

Unfortunately for everyone involved in copyright scams, not even claims of disassociation with Prenda is helping. Malibu Media and Keith Lipscomb are finding that to their severe detriment, especially as part of their arguments in court included a long list of hardcore porn titles not covered by Malibu Media and the defendants didn’t download, aimed at convincing the judge that defendants were hardcore downloaders. The judge understandably wasn’t pleased with their shabby attempt and threw the book at them.

The MPAA’s biggest beef is that for the big offenders, sabre-rattling isn’t enough; they actually have to not only do their homework (i.e. prove infringement happened), but are also increasingly asked to show their work (i.e. prove they’re not bullshitting). Prenda has made it such that it’s less feasible and profitable to sue Does en masse simply by waving a copyright around, and encouraging judges and Does to scrutinize copyright claims very, very closely.

The MPAA and RIAA made the bed. It’s been a long time – but they’re finally going to have to lie in it.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I'm sure MPAA would like to sue Prenda

There is still time for something to happen.
The appeals court could kick the argument back down to Judge Howell, she lobbied for the RIAA before getting on the bench.
She’s made many interesting statements on the bench bemoaning how everyone needs to do more to protect copyright holders, despite the law not requiring the levels she implies.
I’m sure that there is no way rulings might go against Pretenda now in her courtroom. I mean its not like Pretenda is a national scandal about the abuse of the copyright law and people might demand the law be changed to try and stop copyright trolling.

Yep no way at all…

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re:

So when I called him an asshat but supported it was that ad hominem or filed under truth hurts?

I am quite confused as well. An ad hominem attack is to dismiss a message based on the messenger. So if I was to say I don’t believe anything that Hansmeier says because he is an asshat would be both an ad hominem attack and a smart move on my part (given his history.)

Hansmeier can’t really even claim libel or slander in this case, because neither exist if the statement is true, and based on the statements and the proof determined by other courts, the statements sure seem true.

Anonymous Coward says:

Looks to me like the courts are becoming family with the owners of Prenda. It also looks like they are beginning to be aware of what is going on. By making the owners responsible there is no out by claiming Prenda is broke. Instead it becomes a personal responsibility to pay up. Once AT&T and Comcast are finished with them, I doubt they’ll have enough money to pay for their defense dealing with the bar, RICO charges, and the IRS.

That’s a long way to fall from wanting to make $10k a day (in the case of Steele) to maybe needing that a day to pay off all the legal fees before the real trouble hits.

Aaron (profile) says:

Sorry, Paul, if someone calls you a morally bankrupt scamming loser — that would be an ad hominem attack.

No, it wouldn’t. If somebody said, “You should disregard all of Paul Hansmeier’s arguments because he’s a lawyer” or even “You should disregard all of Paul Hansmeier’s argument because he has (insert color here) eyes,” those would be ad hominem attacks. Which is to say, those would be arguments that make the ad hominem fallacy of invalidating his arguments based on an irrelevant facts.

Calling Paul Hansmeier a morally bankrupt scamming loser is merely a(n apt) personal attack aimed at him and not an example of argumentum ad hominem.

An observer says:

A Shari Confession...

This was on her facebook yesterday, but was deleted…

“I think Paul and I have may have hit the financial bottom…all the expensive properties are BMW died this year, his clients aren’t paying..and yet somehow we seem to be getting along better lately. When the banks take our home that is soaking wet and filled with mold and we have to rent something small by the girls school I really believe we might even be happier. Never thought I would be a less is more person. Hopefully in 2014 Officer “Matelski” can be the bread winner and Paul can go back to training for Marathons and reading and sleeping. I never changed my name legally …saving that for if my marriage makes it to year ten.”

I think when she says Paul’s clients are paying, she may mean that Prenda hasn’t been able to extort any more people.

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