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back to article Judge hands copyright troll an epic smack-down

In a judgement peppered with criticism for the various entities clustered around the troll-machine known as Prenda Law, a US judge says the court “went to battlestations” and has passed information to various US agencies for investigation. The judgement is peppered in equal parts with Star Trek references and unflattering …

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Tee-hee.

Mayhap the legal system is starting to catch a few clues :-)

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Holmes

Fraid not

All it proves is that Prenda Law wasn't smart enough and rich enough to bribe the right (AKA cheapest) politicians. I'm not saying that most businesspeople are bad. Most of them just want to play the game by the rules--but the rules are encoded into law by the most cheaply bribed politicians working for the greediest and least ethical businessmen... If there were only enough law firms of the ilk of Prenda, you can bet they would have lobbied to legalize their scam. Their only "sin" was that they weren't big enough. You know, to the point where you're basically compelled to become more evil over time just to survive.

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Meh

Blackmail

Pure and simple coercion.

Jail time perhaps?

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Anonymous Coward

Same thing

Same thing happened here in the UK, and that can to a sticky end.....

I believe he is being sued.

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Pint

Re: Tee-hee.

"Born in Tuskegee, Alabama,[1] Wright received a B.A. from California State University at Los Angeles in 1976 and a J.D. from Southwestern Law School in 1980. He was in the United States Marine Corps from 1963 to 1966, remaining in the United States Marine Corps Reserve until 1969. He was a deputy sheriff in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department from 1969 to 1980. He was a deputy attorney general in the Office of the Attorney General, California Department of Justice from 1980 to 1983. He was in private practice in Los Angeles, California from 1983 to 2005." -- wikipedia

Given his place of birth, and subsequent career, Judge Wright probably has plenty of clues.

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Stop

Re: Fraid not

"All it proves is that Prenda Law wasn't smart enough and rich enough to bribe the right (AKA cheapest) politicians."

What do politicians have to do with the judgements made under Common Law?

If you're going to slate your legal system, at least try to understand it first.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Same thing

Same thing happened here in the UK, and that ca[me] to a sticky end.....

Wait... are you talking about the lawsuits, or the torrenting of porn?

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Happy

Re: Fraid not

"What do politicians have to do with the judgements made under Common Law?"

Surprising question. Is it what do politicians have to do with judges, or what do politicians have to do with any law? And if it is both as you have worded, wouldn't it be everything? Yeh, so I'm bullshitting you a bit, but I can't see how politicians wouldn't be able to pull the strings of judges.

With verdicts like this, it could be very quickly chalked up as a win for Mrs. Justice. However, if I stop and look around, I'll notice an alarming sum of patent lawsuits happening. Some of these lawsuits have billion dollar price tags on them, seems like they are Weapons of Massive Corporations (W.M.C.'s :-). So I have to wonder, is it really that the courts didn't know of such corrupt business practices, or is that the big boys want a bigger share of the pie, so time has come to knock out the little players?

As you can tell, I like to play antagonist. But can you state honestly, positively and undoubtedly that you don't at all think or feel, for even a second, that there is something a little "off" about the timing of all this?

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Pint

Beers for all...

As per title.

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The IRS...

Now it's Prenda Law's turn to prove their innocence.... I get the feeling the IRS was thrown in there to make them squirm, the real pain is still coming.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The IRS...

"I get the feeling the IRS was thrown in there to make them squirm, the real pain is still coming."

You are kidding. I'd rather have ebola. If the IRS get serious they'll get stuck so up your ass that anyone managing to extract them will be crowned king of the Britons.

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Re: The IRS...

King of the who???

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Happy

Re: The IRS...

I was wondering when they would get around to following the money trail. Then we might find out who Salt marsh actually is.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The IRS...

Funny some things unite us ... HMRC have a similar reputation in the UK. I really would rather have root canal treatment sans anaesthetic than have them sniffing around again (3 years and £3,000 pounds spent by me that resulted in absolutely nothing).

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Re: The IRS...

I assumed it was a picturesque reference to removing Excalibur from the stone

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Re: The IRS...

Arthur. Python.

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Re: The IRS...

re: "3 years and £3,000 pounds spent by me that resulted in absolutely nothing"

You should have told them you worked for Goldman Sachs (or Vodafone, etc...) - they'd have bent over backwards to help out then!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The IRS...

"I assumed it was a picturesque reference to removing Excalibur from the stone"

But it wasn't Excalibur that was removed from the stone - Arthur got Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake - a.k.a. the "sword-flinging watery tart".

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Mushroom

"They’ve discovered the nexus of antiquated copyright laws, paralyzing social stigma, and unaffordable defense costs.”

I think we need Judge Wright to take a look at the MPAA's and RIAA's *legal* abuse .."the only enterprise they resemble is RICO."

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Anonymous Coward

The scum fleecing the dumb

There is no end to what unscupulous paid liars will do for money. As for those viewing pirated porn or any other copyright protected works, they too will be held accountable. Just because a patent troll is repremanded doesn't mean those viewing or downloading pirated porn will escape punishment and public exposure. If you're dumb enough to pirate you're dumb enough to go to jail. Japan has the proper approach with mandatory jail time of 2 yrs. for piracy plus large fines.

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Re: The scum fleecing the dumb

Wow.

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Once more, with feeling (was: Re: The scum fleecing the dumb)

WOW!

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FAIL

Re: The scum fleecing the dumb

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Fail.

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Re: The scum fleecing the dumb

As for those viewing pirated porn or any other copyright protected works, they too will be held accountable

First off, I don't think Prenda actually prosectuted anyone for copyright infringement, so none of its targets have been found guilty in a court of law. I believe that once a defendant started to put up a defence, they backed off. (Sorry, can't find the source for this right now)

Second, the Ars Technica has an interesting excerpt from the Judge's order:

"[Prenda] offer to settle—for a sum calculated to be just below the cost of a bare-bones defense."

Prenda's aim does not appear to have been to prosecute people for copyright violations: It was just a scheme to make money. Hence the Judge's suggestion that:

"[Prenda] boldly probe the outskirts of law, the only enterprise they resemble is RICO."

No mater what you think of the current copyright rules and the MPAA/RIAA, copyright violation is a crime. But so is blackmailing people.

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Paris Hilton

Re: The scum fleecing the dumb

Isn't one of the questions as yet unanswered by courts in the US is whether porn actually even is a copyrightable work?

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@Buckaroo_Banzai (Re: The scum fleecing the dumb)

"Isn't one of the questions as yet unanswered by courts in the US is whether porn actually even is a copyrightable work?"

No. Porn is, in general, an "original work" (::snort::), and thus if I take a picture (or a series of pictures) of one or more people doing whatever local custom declares "porn", I own the copyright.

Even if the "porn" variation of the day is illegal in any given jurisdiction, I might ad.

I'm not a porn aficionado, but that's one hell of a slippery slope ...

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Coat

Re: @Buckaroo_Banzai (The scum fleecing the dumb)

I'm not a porn aficionado

Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more.

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Re: The scum fleecing the dumb

....Coo... Someone rode the special bus to the forum today, didn't they. Would you like some crayons for your next post?

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Pirate

Re: The scum fleecing the dumb

So is entering the US illegally, yet they propose amnesty, its not IF its a crime its IF and which political party can gain by it.

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FAIL

Re: The scum fleecing the dumb

Just because a patent troll is repremanded doesn't mean those viewing or downloading pirated porn will escape punishment and public exposure.

Who said anything about patents?

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Re: The scum fleecing the dumb

<troll alert>

MAFIAA stooge alert

</troll alert>

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Re: @Buckaroo_Banzai (The scum fleecing the dumb)

@Jake

"I'm not a porn aficionado, but that's one hell of a slippery slope ..."

As the actress said to the bishop.

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Re: The scum fleecing the dumb

"First off, I don't think Prenda actually prosectuted anyone for copyright infringement, so none of its targets have been found guilty in a court of law. I believe that once a defendant started to put up a defence, they backed off. (Sorry, can't find the source for this right now)"

Wrong.

I know of at least one case where they went for it, and got a default judgement. Of cours,e less than a week later, the defendant had got his stuff together, hired an attorney and filed a response and a request to re-open the case. That was 2 months ago. Then Prenda decided to drop the suit (after getting a default win, just after the March hearing, and before the judge ruled on re-opening) so there was a sanctions motion filed. that's still ongoing, with the prenda lawyer firing any and all personal attacks on the defendants lawyer possible. The latest document there should be filed today

*disclaimer* I've been working with said defense lawyer.

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JLV
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Re: The scum fleecing the dumb

> Japan has the proper approach with mandatory jail time of 2 yrs. for piracy plus large fines

Happy to see your tax dollars/pounds/euros/drachmas providing shelter for 2 years for what is essentially the equivalent of petty shoplifting? Followed by a criminal record that will ensure the guilty party will only get crappy jobs and be a burden to society?

Who benefits, except the incarceration industry and an entertainment industry too thick to provide digital content in a customer-friendly way?*

* Four effin' years and I still cant' get mp3s legally from Amazon, since I live in Canada and we need to protect our Celine Dions.

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Stop

Re: The scum fleecing the dumb

We could just refer to the honourable Judge in the discussion of whether or not they did much actual prosecution:

"5. For defendants that refused to settle, the Principals engaged in vexatious

litigation designed to coerce settlement. These lawsuits were filed using boilerplate

complaints based on a modicum of evidence, calculated to maximize settlement

profits by minimizing costs and effort.

6. The Principals have shown little desire to proceed in these lawsuits when

faced with a determined defendant. Instead of litigating, they dismiss the case. When

pressed for discovery, the Principals offer only disinformation—even to the Court.

[...]

10. The Principals ordered Gibbs to commit the following acts before this

Court: file copyright-infringement complaints based on a single snapshot of Internet

activity; name individuals as defendants based on a statistical guess; and assert a

copyright assignment with a fraudulent signature. The Principals also instructed

Gibbs to prosecute these lawsuits only if they remained profitable; and to dismiss

them otherwise."

So yeah - they'd threaten with lawsuits until you paid up, or the balance tipped to the point of it becoming a waste of their time.

Also not that they did not conduct sufficient investigations before threatening a lawsuit and - for those of you seeking infaaarmation on copyright issues in general the good judge includes this nugget:

"Without better technology, prosecuting illegal BitTorrent activity requires

substantial effort in order to make a case. It is simply not economically viable to

properly prosecute the illegal download of a single copyrighted video."

Make of it what you will.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The scum fleecing the dumb

"No mater what you think of the current copyright rules and the MPAA/RIAA, copyright violation is a crime."

Downloading -civil offence.

Uploading (including torrents ) - criminal offence.

Which is why Prenda can try stunts like this.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The scum fleecing the dumb

I don't see a logical reason why spelling errors should be so much more grating in a sanctimonious rant than in any other text, but somehow ...

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Re: The scum fleecing the dumb

You might find the reference here: http://www.popehat.com/

They have covered this saga very well.

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Re: The scum fleecing the dumb

If you are working with a defense lawyer, I woud assume you know exactly what a default judgement is:

One party shows up, the other doesn't. The one that showed up automatically wins.

When the other party DID show up, they dropped the suit. That sounds EXACTLY like: "I believe that once a defendant started to put up a defence, they backed off."

yes, there where declared guilty, but decided to drop when there was even a whiff of a defense. In that case Prenda would have been in a BETTER position, because they already had a default judgement. I've never heard of a judge allowing a case to be re-opened after a default judgement exempting cases where notice was improperly (not)given or possibly some kind of act of god.

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Trollface

So when can we get this judge on the US supreme court? Having people with a clue there might be a good idea...

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Gav
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Facepalm

I don't know. He speaks good sense, but I think he might find himself taken a whole lot more seriously if he didn't fill his judgements with dorky Star Trek references.

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Upvoted because IMHO the Star Trek stuff devalued the comments.

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Only nerds would think that phrase originated from geeky movies.

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It's called "Suing for peace," as anyone whose read the novel "Edged Weapons" would know

And on this scale I'd say these guys are a Racketeering Influenced or Controlled Organisation.

Remember Al Capone went down for tax evasion, not killing or having killed anyone.

Thumbs up to the judge. The IRS should be involved.

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Re: The IRS should be involved.

The only words in the US more feared than

"I'm from the government and I'm here to help you,"

are

"I'm from the IRS and I'd like to see your tax return."

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Coat

"...or be outed as the kind of person who would torrent porn."

There are people who don't torrent porn?

This is the same internet we're talking about, right?

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@TeeCee(was: Re: "...or be outed as the kind of person who would torrent porn.")

"There are people who don't torrent porn?"

I don't. In fact, I can't remember exactly the last time I actually viewed porn online. Probably 1985ish, and that was accidental. As a human, pixels have never titillated me.

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Joke

Re: @TeeCee(was: "...or be outed as the kind of person who would torrent porn.")

The resolution has increased dramatically since then; you won't even notice the pixels!

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@Esskay (was: Re: @TeeCee(was: "...or be outed as the kind of person ...))

They are still only pixels, Esskay, and not even close to a substitute for reality.

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Re: "...or be outed as the kind of person who would torrent porn."

I remember a porn star saying that she only felt exploited when people pirated her work.

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