Latest Prenda Filing: John Steele Knows Who Alan Cooper Is, But Won't Say, Plus Almost 300 Pages Of Tap Dancing Around Important Questions

from the who-is-alan-cooper dept

The hits just keep on coming in the Prenda situation today. The latest is a filing from Morgan Pietz, the lawyer fighting against Prenda, which includes an incredible 300 page deposition of John Steele's law partner, Paul Hansmeier, acting as a representative for AF Holdings, one of the shell companies that people have been arguing is really owned by those associated with Prenda. The deposition actually happened back in February on a different case and it's quite a read. Acting as the lawyer for Hansmeier, by the way, is Brett Gibbs, and his role appears to be the resident pain in the ass, objecting to nearly every question. Hansmeier continues the standard operating procedure of Prenda Law in trying to tap dance his way around pretty much anything that looks really bad. If you want to skim the "good parts," Pietz helpfully highlighted the parts that directly pertain to the hearing on Monday in yellow, but there's much, much more. I've spotlighted some key parts here.

A quick summary: John Steele knows who Alan Cooper is, but won't tell anyone. No one seems to know who owns AF Holdings, but it's a trust, and that trust has no human beings as beneficiaries (zombies? aliens? we don't know). No one ever seems to get paid. AF Holdings makes no revenue, but holds money in a trust. Hansmeier represents AF Holdings but doesn't get paid. Mark Lutz is the sole employee and CEO for AF Holdings, but doesn't get paid. There is no clear financial relationship (i.e., no money being paid) between AF Holdings and the companies it supposedly gets its copyrights from. Since Lutz is the only employee, he handles the "not very complicated" books, but when asked to discuss how much cash AF Holdings has, well, that's too complicated.

These guys really think they've set up a system where they can basically hide everything. Eventually, a court is going to call bullshit on all of this. Perhaps on Monday...

I'd jump straight to the "Alan Cooper" question, since that's a big one, but Hansmeier's tap dancing there requires some other details first. So, let's go back to the question of who actually controls AF Holdings. The answer, apparently, is "a trust." Who's in the trust? We don't find out. But who works for AF Holdings? Apparently the sole employee has been Mark Lutz all along. Except that he's not paid anything and it's unclear if there are any actual records that he works for AF Holdings. Yeah. A snippet from the deposition:
Q. And who is AF Holdings -- who are AF Holdings' employees?
A. AF Holdings' sole employee is Mark Lutz.
Q. When was Mark Lutz hired?
A. He was hired very shortly after the incorporation, within a day or two, so May 2011.
Q. And does AF Holdings maintain employment records that would reflect Mr. Lutz' employment?
A. Could you specifically describe some of these employment records.
Q. A W2 for example.
A. It does not maintain a W2 for Mr. Lutz.
MR. PIETZ: How about a 1099?
THE WITNESS: It does not maintain a 1099 for Mr. Lutz.
MR. PIETZ: What can kind of records does it maintain for Mr. Lutz?
THE WITNESS: I guess -- which topic is this again so I can refresh my recollection?
MR. PIETZ: I'm not going to answer that, but it's on the list.
MR. GIBBS: Objection. It's not on the list.
MR. PIETZ: I disagree. You can go ahead and answer.
MR. GIBBS: Which one is it? I disagree.
MR. PIETZ: It's not our job to tell you.
This goes on for a bit with them arguing over whether or not they're allowed to ask about this, and Hansmeier eventually saying that he's sure that they "could get... some form of document" to prove that Lutz is employed by AF Holdings, though he also says:
I guess what I can say on behalf of AF Holdings is that I do not review any documents that would fall within the category of documentary support. Does that mean they have them, perhaps. Perhaps they don't have them. It wasn't one of the noticed topics. I inquired of Mr. Lutz as to who the employees of AF Holdings were and Mr. Lutz said that he was the sole employee.
Incredibly, they're arguing that the documentation of Lutz's employment was not previously "noticed" as a topic that would be covered, even though the list of topics included "identity and terms of employment for any and all AF Holdings' employees and independent contractors utilized by AF Holdings." So, as the sole employee, and "essentially" the CEO, he must make some money, right? No.
Q. To be more specific. Could you elaborate on the terms of Mr. Lutz's employment with AF Holdings?
A. He is the -- well, he's essentially the CEO of AF Holdings.
Q. How much is he paid?
A. He does not receive a salary for duties as CEO.
Q. Does he receive a salary for any other role that he fills at AF Holdings?
A. He does not receive a salary from AF Holdings.
Okay, so Lutz is the guy for AF Holdings, even though there are no records of him actually working there and he doesn't receive a salary or any other compensation (they later asked about other non-monetary compensation as well). Hansmeier chooses his words carefully so they keep repeating the question, and even directly pointing out to Hansmeier that his choice of words is clearly "leaving open an exception" in terms of how Lutz is compensated.

Then we get back into a long bout of tap dancing around the structure of AF Holdings itself, which is owned by a trust, but Hansmeier refuses to provide any more information, insisting that the details of the owner of AF Holdings were not on the list of topics to be covered. He says that the trust itself has no beneficial owner, and when questioned about how a trust can have no beneficial owner, Hansmeier gets snarky: "I would suggest that your experience is not complete when it comes to trusts." Then they go around and around and around again in circles with Hansmeier coming up with new and unique ways to refuse to answer the basic question. He even claims he doesn't know the name of the trust that owns AF Holdings.

At one point, they bring up "Salt Marsh," which in one document is listed as the "owner" of AF Holdings. Hansmeier again is tap dancing, saying:
My testimony was that I don't know what the exact name of the trust is. If the name of the trust is Salt Marsh, then Salt Marsh is the owner. If the name of the trust is not Salt Marsh, then --
Very useful. They then ask if a trust can read, followed by pointing out that in another filing AF Holdings claimed that "Salt Marsh" had read an ADR certification handbook. Then, they note that if the owner is a trust, and the owner is Salt Marsh, then to claim that the trust read a handbook doesn't make much sense. They even present him with the ADR certification that has a signature for "Salt Marsh" and he still refuses to answer the question. Even when asked directly, he states flat out that despite being the representative for the company he doesn't know who owns it.
Q. But your testimony as AF Holdings corporate representative who has been subpoenaed to appear and testify on the noticed topics, which include as No. 6, AF Holdings' corporate structure, your testimony is that as the corporate representative for AF Holdings, you do not know the name of the trust that owns AF Holdings?

THE WITNESS: Yes. My testimony is that in preparing for this deposition, I did not expect the name of the trust to fall within the scope of this. I did not review the history of the name of the trust.
That does not seem particularly believable, but we'll see what some judges have to say about that eventually, I imagine. He keeps insisting that the owner of AF Holdings is and has always been a trust, and not an individual, and implies that Salt Marsh may be the name of the trust though he does not know. That becomes important later... because the name Salt Marsh (or, rather, Saltmarsh) returns, but we'll get there.

From there they go on to an equally long and equally unenlightening conversation about what happens to money that is paid into AF Holdings in the form of settlements. Again, it's all about the tap dancing. AF Holdings apparently never recognizes revenue because they use "mark to market" revenue recognition based on the "value of their assets" and how much they appreciate, rather than actual cash flow in. And even if they did use cash flow in, Hansmeier can't say where the cash goes, other than that individual attorneys have it put in trust and it's used to pay for legal costs because piracy is such a big problem and they have to keep fighting it. Or something along those lines.

Eventually, however, they get Hansmeier to admit that he has an interest in the Alpha Law Firm, who has represented AF Holdings in some cases, and Hansmeier is asked how they got paid... to which he notes that the money actually went to Prenda's trust account. He's asked if, as a representative of AF Holdings, he's concerned that his own client (based on his earlier statements) does not appear to be getting paid, and he responds:
Well, I can say as an attorney I have no concern over how the proceeds are handled.
They keep pressing him on where the money goes, and he keeps saying to fund further litigation, and then finally he says this:
THE WITNESS: Yes, that's correct. The purpose of the litigation isn't to generate money for AF Holdings. The purpose of the litigation is to generate a deterrent effect in stealing its copyrighted works.
Yeah, sure. Very believable. Of course, he then admits that part of the "litigation fees" being paid goes to the lawyers. And after some more tap dancing, he admits that they are paid on a contingency basis (i.e., whenever money is collected) though he claims his own firm, Alpha Law Firm, has no contingency fees and is not paid by AF Holdings, despite representing them. He keeps dancing around what others might be paid.

So then they start asking about how much Gibbs makes from these cases, since he's in the room too. Not surprisingly, Gibbs does not like where this is headed and ramps up even more objections than before. They finally give up.

Then... finally, we get to the big question: Who is Alan Cooper? As we've been noting for months, it seems like a fairly straightforward question. Except if you're associated with Prenda Law and don't want to answer it. And... once again, the tap dancing begins pretty quickly.
Q. Who is Alan Cooper?

A. Alan Cooper is an individual who was designated as a corporate representative of AF Holdings, LLC. The circumstances that led to Mr. Cooper's designation as a corporate representative to acknowledge the copyright assignment agreement on behalf of AF Holdings, LLC, is that Mark Lutz -- we're backing up a little bit. AF Holdings makes use of corporate representatives, the reason for that is that obviously you guys know that there's a lot of people out there who don't like what we're doing, specifically to people who have infringed on works and want to retaliate against people who are enforcing copyrights.
Notice he hasn't answered the question. Just claiming that they have to use "representatives" because their critics are so, so mean. And so Alan Cooper's role was to protect Mark Lutz from the mean people out there.
AF Holdings makes use of corporate representatives to help prevent the -- I guess the officer, Mark Lutz, himself, from being targeted by these individuals. The manner in which Mr. Cooper was designated as a corporate representative was Marks Lutz asked attorney John Steele to arrange for a corporate representative to acknowledge the assignment agreement on behalf of AF Holdings. Mr. Steele did so and returned the assignment agreement to AF Holdings bearing the signature of Mr. Alan Cooper.
Other important point in there: John Steele is the one who "found" Alan Cooper. Not a surprise, but just confirming officially what most people expected. So then, Hansmeier discusses a conversation between Lutz and Steele in which Steele insists the Alan Cooper signature is real, but which provides no more insight into whether or not Alan Cooper actually exists.
When this whole -- I guess the first time we heard about any form of controversy with respect to -- the first time AF Holdings heard about any form controversy with respect to the assignment agreement was when an attorney named Paul Godfread, G-O-D-F-R-E-A-D, contacted AF Holdings and said that -- I can't remember the exact text of the e-mail, but something to the effect of he's representing someone named Alan Cooper and they're concerned that Alan Cooper is being held out as AF Holdings CEO.

And so when that occurred, we -- or AF Holdings and Mark Lutz specifically, he asked, you know, what is the exposure of AF Holdings here and there were two specific concerns. One specific concern was the issue of fraud. Namely, that if AF Holdings is distributing agreements that have someone's signature on it, but he didn't sign it or somehow his identity was coopted, then obviously that's something that AF Holdings would have to -- once it became aware of that issue -- stop doing -- shut it down and make sure it didn't happen anymore, because obviously there's no reason to distribute an assignment or any agreement bearing someone's signature if there was a forgery or some sort of fraudulent action involved in that sense.

And so to address that issue AF Holdings -- well, spoke to Mr. Steele -- Mark Lutz spoke to Mr. Steele and said, Well, I understand that there's an issue with this Alan Cooper and asked Mr. Steele point-blank, Is the signature a forgery. Mr. Steele said the signature is not forgery. And he asked him, Is the -- is this signature authentic. Mr. Steele says, yes, the signature is authentic. Based on Mr. Steele's representation, we have no reason to believe from what Mr. Steele said, at least, that the signature is a forgery or there's some sort fraud going on with respect to the signature.
Got that? Steele says Cooper is real, so he must be real. So they turned it around and demanded evidence from Cooper that there was fraud. And then he suggests that even if Cooper did turn out to be a forgery, it wouldn't really matter because the original copyright holder has confirmed that he wanted to assign his copyrights to AF Holdings.

But he never says who Alan Cooper is. So he's asked again, and the response is basically that only Steele knows and he's not saying:
If you're talking about the guy who's in Minnesota and was John Steele's former caretaker, all I can say is that AF Holdings -- the only person who knows who this Alan Cooper is is John Steele and we asked Mr. Steele, is this the same guy, is this not the same guy, is there another Alan Cooper and Mr. Steele declined to respond on the basis that Mr. Cooper has sued Mr. Steele and they're actively involved in litigation.
That may be the most ridiculous answer yet. The whole reason they're "engaged in litigation" is because Steele hasn't produced the Alan Cooper who signed the documents representing AF Holdings. The best way to end the litigation is pretty simple: have that Alan Cooper show up. Which should be easy enough... if he existed (ah, there's the rub...).

Later on, Hansmeier denies that Cooper works for AF Holdings, insisting that Lutz is the only employee who ever has worked for AF Holdings, which creates some trouble for Gibbs, but we're getting there.

Of course, now that Steele has been brought up, Hansmeier is asked why Steele found Cooper since Steele is supposedly not an employee of AF Holdings. The answer, apparently, is that Lutz is too busy ("there are a certain number of hours in a day") and so he needs to "rely on third parties" to help him "accomplish various tasks." There's a discussion on whether or not Hansmeier and Steele "take orders" from Lutz (Hansmeier implies yes) and the fact that Lutz used to work for Steele, though Hansmeier refuses to say in what role.

Then... another document comes out and the spotlight is back on Gibbs, because it shows a signature from Gibbs, saying that he is "in-house counsel" for AF Holdings. Gibbs quickly realizes where this is going and is not happy about it.
Q. I believe you testified a moment ago that throughout the entire duration of AF Holdings, the only employee or officer -- the person wearing all of the hats was Mark Lutz.
A. Uh-huh.
Q. Based on this document that appears to be incorrect because isn't Mr. Gibbs now in-house counsel for AF Holdings?
A. No. I think it's -- I don't know why it's here. I don't think it's --
Q. So Mr. Gibbs is not in-house counsel for AF Holdings?
A. That's correct.
MR. PIETZ: Well, shoot. I'm just going to ask you, Mr. Gibbs. Did you prepare and sign this document?
MR. GIBBS: It's not my deposition. I'm not quite sure why I would be answering questions.
MR. PIETZ: Well, there's an E-file document here with your signature on it that says you're in-house for AF Holdings. I thought I'd give you the opportunity as a courtesy to clarify for the record.
MR. GIBBS: Okay.
MR. PIETZ: You're not going to address it?
MR. GIBBS: I don't think I need to address it.
I get the feeling he may need to address it on Monday.

As they delve into who else might be involved in AF Holdings, the question comes up as to why Mark Lutz, a paralegal for John Steele, suddenly is running a company that has 20 lawyers working on cases, and is supposedly now employing his former boss, John Steele, as well as Hansmeier. And then... the return to the Salt Marsh, as it were:
Q. So returning to these corporate representatives. Have there been any other corporate representatives other than Alan Cooper, Mark Lutz for AF Holdings?
A. I can think one of other corporate representative.
Q. And who is that?
A. And that would Anthony Saltmarsh.
Q. Where does Mr. Saltmarsh reside?
A. I don't know where Mr. Saltmarsh resides.
Q. Was Mr. Saltmarsh ever compensated for acting as a corporate representative for AF Holdings?
A. Not that I'm aware of.
Q. Exhibit 101 and 102. Those are both the ADRs that are signed by Salt Marsh. I believe you testified you thought that that might be of the name the trust that owns AF Holdings. Could that be a misspelling of Anthony Saltmarsh?
A. The only thing I can say about these documents is that if you wanted me to come prepared to testify about them, you may have included them as exhibits to the notice or supplement the notice with the documents. You're asking me is it possible that Salt Marsh as spelled on here is a misspelling of the name Anthony Saltmarsh?
Q. Perhaps an alias would be a better word for it.
A. Or an alias for Salt Marsh. I'm a bit skeptical of that theory because it says AF Holdings owner and Anthony Saltmarsh is not an owner of AF Holdings.
He's skeptical? Fascinating. The lawyer explains to Hansmeier that Steele's sister lived with Anthony Saltmarsh and Hansmeier insists he knows nothing about all of this.

They then move on to questions about AF Holdings' relationships to the copyrights in question, focusing on Heartbreaker Productions and the copyright over the porn film, Popular Demand. Hansmeier claims that Hartbreaker assigned the entire copyright to AF Holdings and that AF Holdings is not doing anything with the film -- not distributing it or performing it or anything. Hansmeier says that the only distribution is infringing distribution. The lawyers then present him with an article claiming that a new distribution agreement has been reached over Popular Demand, and Hansmeier -- who basically has just been proven to either be ignorant or a liar -- goes with the snark:
Well, I know from reading the blog sites that you two participate in that I shouldn't believe everything I read on the Internet.
Much later in the deposition, there's a bit of an argument over the "financial relationship" between AF Holdings and Heartbreaker. Hansmeier complains about it being unclear what "Heartbreaker" company they're referring to, but eventually notes that the agreement they have shows no actual financial relationship. They then ask Hansmeier over and over and over again if any money changed hands, and Hansmeier refuses to answer other than to say he's already answered, saying that the document is the entire agreement. When asked if that means there was no financial relationship, he just repeats what he said before. It's quite an incredible exchange.

Next up: a long discussion that goes absolutely nowhere concerning Paul's brother, Peter Hansmeier, and the various firms he's worked for who provide "technical services," in which they claim to be able to identify infringers. Paul repeatedly claims ignorance of some key things about his own brother, including what kind of degree he received from college. They then discuss the process by which "infringers" are uncovered, using Peter's company 6681 Forensics.

Further discussion leads to questions about who handles AF Holdings "books" and again it's Mark Lutz. Hansmeier claims that the books are "not complicated" so they don't need a bookkeeper or an accountant (they also don't pay taxes, apparently). Yet a few minutes later, when asked about how much cash AF Holdings has received, it's a very different story with Hansmeier saying it "would be a very difficult topic" because "it's very complicated." Oops. The response from both Gibbs and Hansmeier is to complain that Pietz is not being professional. You can't make this stuff up.

A further discussion is had on how AF Holdings chose to sue the account holder in the particular case at hand, which is handy because part of Judge Otis Wright's concerns is the weak evidence that Prenda has been using in its cases.

Eventually, we get to the other mysterious character we had mentioned this morning: Allan/Alan Monay/Moay/Mooney/etc.
Q. Do you know anybody by the name of Alan Moay, M-O-A-Y?
A. Do I personally know anybody by the name of Alan Moay? I'd have to check my contact list and anyone I've ever talked to in my entire life, but sitting here right now, do I know anybody named Alan Moay, no, I do not.
Q. Do you know anyone who is a principal or an officer or a corporate representative of Guava, LLC, with a first name of Alan?
A. Do I know anyone, principal or an officer --
Q. Or a corporate representative.
A. I'd to have check my records as to who does what at Guava, LLC. I couldn't tell you that answer for most of my clients.
Q. Do you know anybody by the name of Alan Mony, M-O-N-Y?
A. Again, I'd have to check my records to see who I've corresponded with in the past.
Q. Do you know anybody by the name of Alan Mooney, M-O-O-N-E-Y?
A. I have represented an Alan Mooney before, yes.
Then we're back to tap dancing. A lot of "I'll have to check my records..." Later on, they ask him to identify a recording and whether or not it's Lutz, and he claims he can't tell, even though he talks to Lutz all the time:
Q. Is that Mark Lutz?
A. Well, if I don't recognize the voice that's on the voice mail, I can't make an identification of who it is.
Q. How many times would you say you have spoken to Mr. Mark Lutz in the course of your life?
A. Too many to count.
Q. How many times would you say you've had phone calls with Mark Lutz?
A. I can't answer the question, but several times.
Q. Several or lots?
A. I would say several to mean many times.
Q. And you're telling me that you can't definitively say that the voice we just heard is Mark Lutz?
Q. Who might it be if it's not Mr. Lutz?
A. I guess anyone in the world.
And... that's basically it. 291 pages of Hansmeier doing his damnedest not to actually answer rather important questions. And all of that is now on the record for Judge Wright to use on Monday.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    G Thompson (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 10:28pm

    I can't... the stupids... the spin... the "OMG its 290 pages of Shoving Lutz under a bus"!

    to paraphrase Gibbs [p21] "stop the stupids.... please stop the stupids"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    G Thompson (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 10:32pm

    Oh and Mike, if you noticed throughout the depo that EVERYTHING they do for each other in a professional or otherwise capacity is for no consideration or from the goodness *cough splutter* of their hearts ie: for FREE!!

    See Even Trolls like the "Economics of Free" ;P

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    S. T. Stone, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 10:55pm

    Great, now I have to spend my weekend buying up all the popcorn on the Eastern Seaboard in preparation for Monday.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    S. T. Stone, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 10:56pm


    No, this looks more like 290 pages of ĎI donít want any part of this, but I still need to cover my ass to stay out of jailí.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Zem, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 11:04pm

    Time well spent

    Every young aspiring law student faces a difficult choice. Study hard, or watch the Monty Python parrot sketch on endless loop.

    No points for guessing what choice these guys made.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Jay (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 11:13pm

    Re: Time well spent

    Or the cheese shop sketch.

    "Tell me, how do you know this is the best law firm in the city?"
    "Well, it's so clean."
    "Yes, it's certainly uncontaminated by an understanding of the law."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 11:28pm


    I can't... the stupids... the spin... the "OMG its 290 pages of Shoving Lutz under a bus"!

    Not so much Lutz, though, if Steele actually shows up in court on Monday, I get the feeling he may be expected to give answers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    G Thompson (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 11:39pm

    Re: Re:

    Oh Lutz was shoved under the bus at most turns, though Steele was placed as the main controller/puppetmaster of Lutz too in his own right.

    There is so much in that depo there is no way anyone can touch on it all in one post. The Investigation side amuses me - no contemporaneous notes, no one as primary investigator, only using Accurint (an offshoot Lexis/Nexus), vague findings, using Sex and Age and "has touched computer" as designators of suspicion.. WOW! I'd be laughed out of court and NEVER hired again if I did anything even similar to one part of all that.

    Think Ken does a good job on the "consideration or lack thereof" in his latest article and you did a great job too.

    As for Monday and anyone including Steele answering... only time will tell, but any answers given will be now analysed by a lot more people worldwide than if they hadn't been silly enough to initiate defamation action against the internet. And that, no matter what the court says, is going to be the real downfall of Steele and cohorts professionally, and maybe personally.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    alanbleiweiss (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 11:50pm

    I have never before read an entire full day's Deposition. Ever. I just spent how many hours reading this one. Wow. Beyond captivating.

    Among all the other points brought up, I think it's extremely important to note that toward the end (somewhere around page 240ish) the recording is played that leads to the discussion of how they harass people with legal threats - going after people they didn't originally name as a defendant - using FUD against family members.

    Coupled with the obvious notion that it's all a shell game designed to propagate copyright troll revenue, and how this is all just a group of about a half dozen guys all sleeping with each other and well, I hope they all get thrown in jail.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 11:50pm

    And the best that out_of_the_asscrack and average_joe's heroes of morality and copyright can do is dance, dance, dance.

    If it wasn't such a farce it might've been almost adorable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 12:04am

    I'm sure at least one of the people involved with this mess has looked up if they can legally retroactively change their to Alan Cooper

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 12:16am

    I know it's wishful thinking but...

    I just hope Steele and Hansmeier show up Monday, call the Judge a cock, and get tossed in the clink where they belong.
    The End

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Jamie, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 12:24am

    My question is, do any of these clowns think they can actually get away with this? If I were one of them, I think I would start ratting. But maybe they all have homes in havens, bribes bigger than god, or space ships.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 12:35am


    They have been getting away with it for years, why worry now?
    At worst they expect a slap on the wrist and to walk off into the new version of the firm.

    I expect no funds will be found, a series of transfers to unknown shells based in foriegn lands with laws designed to hide who owns what.

    One might think they were emboldened when there were these bankers that tried to destroy the global economy and instead of regulation, rules, retribution we handed them more cash.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 2:40am

    Re: Time well spent

    is it known for a fact these guys are actually lawyers? because this theater is beginning to make me wonder...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    Avantare (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 3:12am


    I wonder how much interest this whole fiasco has them looking at?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 3:15am

    Re: Re: Time well spent

    Either way, awards are in the works...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Mr. Applegate, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 4:45am

    Oh what a tangled web we weave,
    When first we practice to deceive! --Sir Walter Scott

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. icon
    Vidiot (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 5:06am

    Re: IRS

    That's all I keep thinking... the Al Capone effect. Three rows back, in the gallery, a bespectacled man with a yellow pad scribbles notes throughout the hearing...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. icon
    DannyB (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 5:32am

    epically disasterous

    From yesterday's Popehat article...
    What will happen now? Here's what I expect:
    1. Some individuals object jurisdiction . . . epically disastrous . . .
    2. Some could appear assert fifth ammendment . . .
    3. Some could assert exigent circumstances . . .
    4. Some could show up and answer Judge Wright's questions
    I'll take epically disasterous for $1000 Alex.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    out_of_the_blue, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 5:47am

    Insane Mike with WALL OF DULL TEXT.

    Anyone else obsessed with such a minor anomaly in which he has no stake, nor does the public here, would be laughed off "teh internets". Mike not only gets a pass from fanboys, but they seem to like it.

    Take a loopy tour of! You always end up at same place!
    Prenda Law! A staple in the "At The Bench" series. Mike sez (short version): "Wow. Wow. Wow. ... The story is gripping." .shtml

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. icon
    DannyB (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 5:50am


    Considering that they represent clients who produce artful motion pictures, could compensation be non monetary, in the form of favors from some of the boy actors?

    Just asking.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 5:57am

    Re: Insane Mike with WALL OF DULL TEXT.

    such a minor anomaly in which he has no stake, nor does the public here

    That's pretty much the basis of the entire internet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 5:59am

    What to do...

    ...when asked if Mark Lutz is your employee:

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 6:02am

    Re: Insane Mike with WALL OF DULL TEXT.

    And the molested choirboy runs to the defence of his fallen heroes, right on cue.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. icon
    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 6:25am


    And boy is it a tangled web.

    You'd need the Mongol Horde to cut through it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 6:25am

    Re: Insane Mike with WALL OF DULL TEXT.

    "Anyone else obsessed with such a minor anomaly in which he has no stake, nor does the public here, would be laughed off "teh internets"."

    Well, considering that ArsTechnica, PopeHat, The Verge and numerous other tech/news sites are all discussing Prenda Law and writing and posting articles as events unfold and no one besides you is mocking or laughing at them, I'd say you're as wrong as can possibly be. (Par for the course with you.)

    " Mike not only gets a pass from fanboys, but they seem to like it."

    Please see my response above regarding other sites also updating as events unfold and people having no problem with it. This is news. This is about technology, copyright and abuse of the courts. All three things which have significant impacts and importance on the every day person.

    The only one with any issue regarding this article is you. The only one who post a "WALL OF DULL TEXT" here is you. Each and every single fucking day, in each and every single fucking article.

    Get a goddamn life already. Or at least write comments that are based in reality and that show some level of reading comprehension.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. icon
    WDS (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 6:35am

    Tap Dance

    Paul Hansmeier missed his true calling. After spending way too much time last night reading the depo, I haven't seen tap dancing that entertaining since the duet by Gregory Hines and Mikhail Baryshnikov in "White Nights".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 6:46am

    By becoming lawyers, Hansmeier and Gibbs deprived the world of probably the best bricklayers ever, as their stonewalling is epic.

    Say what you want against them (and I do want to say a lot against them), but they know how to block.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    twilightfog, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 6:58am

    Who is Allan Cooper?

    Alan Cooper is the CEO AF Holding deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we'll hunt him. Because he can take it. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark deterrent in stealing its copyrighted works.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 7:46am

    Thanks for writing this up, Mike.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Pixelation, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 8:14am


    "By becoming lawyers, Hansmeier and Gibbs deprived the world of probably the best bricklayers ever, as their stonewalling is epic."

    I'm thinking they should go into the fertilizer business.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. identicon
    davnel, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 8:18am

    Just bought me a case of Orville's best for Monday. It just keeps gettin' better!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. icon
    WDS (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 8:24am

    Getting Paid

    According to this the only one getting paid is the forensics company at a flat $6,000 a month. You got to be providing a lot of very good IP addresses to be worth $6,000 a month.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 8:29am

    i'm probably gonna need a ton of popcorn on Monday....oh and a stream of the court proceeding too, Thank you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. icon
    sorrykb (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 10:04am

    The books

    You left out Hansmeier's great response about the financial records:

    Well, in the financial records I reviewed there were some Excel spreadsheets, I guess if you're going to call them books, that had some sort of numbers on them. They weren't very complete and they weren't very well labeled, but they were in Mark Lutz's possession.

    The whole deposition is a work of inspired comic and tragic genius.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 10:41am

    Re: I know it's wishful thinking but...

    And then they can go on tosh.0 and make rape jokes!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. identicon
    Digitari, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 10:51am

    Re: Insane Mike with WALL OF DULL TEXT.

    OOTB is a fucking freetard and ADMITS it sorship-just-stands-its-claim-that-site-broke-law.shtml

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. icon
    Yakko Warner (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 10:51am

    Re: Time well spent

    Looks more like the argument sketch to me.

    Q: Who is Alan Cooper?
    A: I told you once.
    Q: No, you didn't.
    A: Yes, I did.
    Q: When?
    A: Just now!
    Q: No you didn't!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. icon
    dudhit (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 3:48pm

    Re: Insane Mike with WALL OF DULL TEXT.

    No, I have no stake in this. Iím not even a mehrican
    Then I consider the larger picture that this behaviour is not isolated and I need further understanding of how it happens and how to stop it.
    I'm more than annoyed that so much time and resources appear to be wasted in getting a single person to be transparent if not accountable.
    If the public were just that fraction more aware, maybe the institutions might be refined faster and the whole Prenda model would be prevented from happening.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. icon
    btrussell (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 7:40pm


    Now we know why Dizziness has all those lawyers on set.

    This must be made into a movie. This could be the most entertaining movie ever created.

    I'm sure it would turn into the highest profit earning movie ever within a week. Even at a cost to make at $100 000 000.

    Ozzy would probably allow Crazy train as title and theme song.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. icon
    DannyB (profile), Mar 8th, 2013 @ 1:16pm

    Re: Insane Mike with WALL OF DULL TEXT.

    We all have a stake on copyright trolls.

    A Gordian Knot of shell companies, and lying about it in multiple courts, is not a minor anomaly.

    Oh, wait. You work for Hollywood. Okay, I could understand how you see that as a minor anomaly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2013 @ 6:29pm

    this cracked me up

    Q. Is it AF Holdings' policy before threatening
    someone with a copyright lawsuit to have some factual
    basis to support such a threat?

    MR. GIBBS: Objection. Mischaracterizes priortestimony.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44. identicon
    Jonathan, Mar 9th, 2013 @ 10:40am

    Bravissimo! Cue the rotten tomatoes!

    At a deposition, you can't win, so you just try not to lose. On that count, Prenda's principals' performance was almost pitch-perfect.

    If any of you are ever faced with a deposition, this is the performance you should seek to imitate.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45. identicon
    Dal Jeanis, Apr 13th, 2013 @ 7:05pm

    They never owned the copyrights to anything

    If no money exchanged hands for the copyright, then the suits were all void.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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