As I see it: Prenda's behavior is criminal extortion. Whether you are guilty of copyright violation or not, requesting cash in exchange for silence is extortion (No, I'm not a lawyer. If you're involved in such a case, ask a bona fide lawyer.) If they have evidence against a perpetrator of a crime, it's their duty to report the crime to the authorities. Similarly, if you receive one of their letters, it's your duty to report same. To your local DA, I guess. Understandably, if you think you may be guilty of their allegation(s), you may not want to involve the law immediately. But if you simply refuse their demands, the ball will now be in their court (Tennis, not judicial.). If they pursue a civil action, they will have to take you to court and convince a judge that they have the preponderance of the evidence on their side. As the TechDirt stories make clear, Prenda is having a hard time convincing judges (in more than one state) to award them any damages. If I understand correctly, you could have some success winning an award for your legal fees, if the presiding judge is convinced their suit is ill-founded, abuses the judicial system and you, and diverts the courts from doing their real job.
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