New Filing Presents Evidence That John Steele Uploaded Videos To BitTorrent Himself

from the johnny-boy's-in-trouble dept

If you thought Graham Syfert was done with taking on John Steele and Prenda law with the closing of the Sunlust case in Florida, you'd be wrong. Today he's filed an incredible filing not just hitting back at Prenda in another case, First Time Videos vs. Paul Oppold, and asking for attorney's fees, but also including an affidavit from an actual expert (i.e., not a Prenda-style "forensic" expert) named Delvan Neville, who lays out in astounding detail how it's almost certain that John Steele himself uploaded the various videos to BitTorrent that were then used to sue various defendants for either "hacking" or copyright infringement. Oh, and in doing so, Steele appears to have made some choices that are pretty damning, including suggesting that he set up the file to effectively broadcast that it was free for the taking. In other words, there's an incredibly strong argument that the release of the file on BitTorrent was very authorized.

The work builds on some earlier research that Syfert has put out exploring how many of the Prenda-related films seemed to have been initially offered on The Pirate Bay via the same user: sharkmp4. For all the mocking that people have made concerning Prenda's "forensic" investigations into those they accuse of infringement (i.e., finding an IP address and not much else), Neville shows you how an actual investigation is done. You should read the whole thing for the layers upon layers of evidence that all seem to point the finger at John Steele.

Among other things, sharkmp4 seemed to be able to post these works on The Pirate Bay before the works were even mentioned anywhere else, and in at least one case, "sharkmp4" put a video up on The Pirate Bay three days before Prenda shell company Ingenuity 13 had even filed for the copyright. On top of that, the "forensics" company that Prenda uses -- which is supposedly run by Paul Hansmeier's brother Peter, but which had its domain registered and controlled by (you guessed it) John Steele -- apparently identified "infringements" almost immediately after the videos were placed on The Pirate Bay -- meaning they were likely looking for such infringement in conjunction with the upload.

At the end, however, Neville pulls together really damning evidence, tying together a website set up to distribute Ingenuity 13 porn films with the same exact IP address that was confirmed as being used by John Steele to log into his own GoDaddy account, highlighting how Steele -- or someone with access to his logins -- clearly has full access and control over Ingenuity 13 works. As you read through all of the evidence it appears highly likely that Steele is in control of Ingenuity 13, despite all his protests to the contrary.

As the filing notes:
Prenda Law's business structure is such that it is pirate, forensic pirate hunter, and attorney. It also appears that Prenda Law also wants to/has formed/is forming a corporate structure where it is: pornography producer, copyright holder, pornography pirate, forensic investigator, attorney firm, and debt collector. Other than the omission of appearing in the pornography themselves, this would represent an entire in-house copyright trolling monopoly- not designed to promote their own works for distribution and sale, but to induce infringement of their works and reap profits seen from mass anti-piracy litigation.
It remains to be seen if the court bothers to explore this, but I would imagine that it may be of interest in other Prenda and related cases.


Filed Under: delvan neville, graham syfert, john steele, paul duffy, paul hansmeier, paul oppold
Companies: af holdings, first time videos, ingenuity 13, prenda, prenda law


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  1. identicon
    Novus Ordo, 4 Jun 2013 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re: Either I'm missing it, or everyone else is

    Authorization to distribute a copyrighted work is not transferred by someone receiving a free copy of the work, even if their copy if authorized. They do not have the right to turn around and re-distribute that copyrighted content. It doesn't matter what the "nature of BitTorrent" or the "nature of peer-to-peer" is, the Copyright Act of the US does not make an exception for the "nature of BitTorrent".

    There's no reason for you to take my word for it though, look at Prenda's initial filing in the case that would end up putting them before Judge Wright:

    http://www.popehat.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/IngenuityComplaint.pdf

    Some excerpts:

    Unidentified Defendant John Doe ("Defendent"), ... knowingly and illegally reproduced and distributed Plaintiff's copyrighted Video by acting in concert with others via the BitTorrent file sharing protocol and, upon information and belief, continues to do the same.


    No mention of downloading the file, the claim is that he reproduced and distributed the file. There's a mention of downloading here, but look where it leads:

    22. Defendant, using IP address 108.13.119.253, without Plaintiff's authorization or license, intentionally downloaded a torrent file particular to Plaintiff's Video, purposefully loaded that torrent file into his BitTorrent client - in this case, libtorrent/0.15.10.0 - entered a BitTorrent swarm particular to Plaintiff's Video, and reproduced and distributed the Video to numerous third parties.


    Again, reproducing and distributing. An interesting note is the "...without Plaintiff's authorization or license" part, which may not have been the case, but again, receiving an authorized copy of a copyrighted work does not grant you a license to redistribute the copyrighted work.

    But let's move on, to the meat of the complaint. Count I - Copyright Infringement:

    26. Defendant's conduct infringes upon Plaintiff's exclusive rights of reproduction and distribution that are protected under the Copyright Act.


    There it is, that's the accusation. Not downloading, not "stealing" copyrighted content, but infringing on the copyright holder's exclusive right to reproduce and distribute the content. That is what copyright is all about, who is allowed to reproduce and distribute a given work. It's not about who can receive it, it's about who can reproduce it.

    So, back to my original assertion, no one is being charged with downloading copyrighted content, so the claim that the download was authorized has exactly zero bearing on this. It's not the real power of Delvin's investigation. The power of his investigation is showing that Steele is actively working with AF and I13, which is contradictory to his claims. If Steele is involved with Prenda, AF, and I13, then that is the specific fraud that Judge Wright is investigating. That is the power of the investigation, not some assertion that everyone automatically has a right to do whatever they want with some video just because the guy with the right to reproduce and distribute it made it available on BitTorrent. There are other misrepresentations (you can read that "fraud") in the claim, such as this one:

    38. The infringement by the other BitTorrent users could not have occurred without Defendant's participation in uploading Plaintiff's copyrighted works.


    If Steele was seeding the file, then that claim is patently false and is a misrepresentation to the court. In other words, fraud upon the court. That's what Judge Wright is investigating, and that is what Delvin's investigation lends ammo to.

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