from the same-old-bag-of-tricks dept
So what was Noel's big crime that should get him thrown off the case? Apparently it was giving a talk about copyright trolls and some of the details of Prenda to the Student Federal Bar Association at the University of Minnesota Law School (added bonus: Paul Hansmeier and John Steele are alumni of that school). They claim that the talk is a form of ex parte communication and shows that Judge Noel has "prejudged" them in part because the emailed description of the event mentioned Prenda's "bad behavior." Even as they admit that Noel probably didn't write the email, they say it's guilt by association.
They also claim that the emailed announcement contains details that Hansmeier insists were only filed under seal in the cases -- suggesting that Judge Noel may have revealed that information:
The e-mail further discloses information about the settlement demands in this case. Yet, Plaintiff’s settlement demands were filed under seal by order of the district court. The e-mail’s author appears to be in possession of non-public sealed information, which a reasonable person might conclude was furnished by the Magistrate Judge, even if it was not.Of course, the information on settlement demands by Team Prenda can be found widely online. Hansmeier leaves that bit out, of course.
Hansmeier continues to flail wildly around, arguing that Judge Noel has clearly been reading blogs including those "created by individuals who have been caught infringing" because "many of his comments echoed criticisms" on those blogs. Of course, what Hansmeier leaves out is that those same criticisms have now been validated by multiple federal courts. It is not, in any way, out of turn for Judge Noel to make note of that. Later, Hansmeier argues that the cases have generated "notoriety" and uses the example that a letter he sent the judge "was the subject of an immediate feature story on several pirate websites." As far as I know, we here at Techdirt were actually the first to write about that letter. I know Ars Technica picked up on our story and wrote one as well. Neither of our sites are "pirate blogs." We're both media organizations that cover a variety of issues. Earlier in his filing, Hansmeier argued that these pirate blogs were all set up by people who had been accused of infringement. That's a blatantly false statement regarding us, and one hopes that Hansmeier will correct the record, though that seems unlikely.
Back to the issue at hand, it does seem a bit strange, and perhaps unwise, for a judge to give a talk about a case that is still ongoing. But whether or not it actually qualifies for being disqualified from the case seems like a stretch. But, it is the Prenda way: flail and flail and flail some more.