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."