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“designed to chill free speech by burying [Prenda's] critics in massive legal fees.”
In what is becoming one of the strangest, most unbelievable and over-broad farces in the history of United States copyright trolling, the ante has just been upped yet again. In a direct attack on the troll defense blogs FightCopyrightTrolls and DieTrollDie, Prenda Law has just ordered WordPress to hand over all IP addresses of users who accessed either site in the last two years. Just to be clear, that’s everyone’s details.Copyright trolls, wherever they try to do business in the world, meet resistance.Their work is appreciated by few outside of their inner circle and often frowned upon by fellow law firms, copyright owners and the public, who see their work as one step away from outright extortion.While they have enemies everywhere, some of the trolls’ greatest adversaries are their victims. Once you’ve threatened to turn someone’s life upside down with a claim for thousands of dollars, pounds or euros, relationships aren’t really the same ever again. And an enemy empowered by the Internet, one of the greatest game levelers today, soon gets momentum.In the United States some of the most motivated troll fighters are to be found on two sites, FightCopyrightTrolls and DieTrollDie. Their aims are simple. To keep the public and fellow victims informed and to ensure that through activism, trolls make as little money as possible.Needless to say, trolls do not like this kind of opposition. It hurts their bottom line. And now, in the middle of what is probably the most bizarre case there has ever been in troll history, one outfit is coming out fighting – possibly for its life.Prenda Law is in the middle of a mess so massive that to adequately describe the case in enough detail one needs to write many thousands of words. Fortunately, for those who want to catch up, the sites mentioned above have been keeping up to date, complimented brilliantly by Techdirt’s Mike Masnick and Ken’s excellent summary over at Popehat.The TL;DR is that there is going to be an unprecedented showdown in a Los Angeles court on Monday that could lead to someone associated with Prenda going to prison.“Based on the evidence presented at the March 11, 2013 hearing, the Court will consider whether sanctions [for Prenda Law] are appropriate, and if so, determine the proper punishment. This may include a monetary fine, incarceration, or other sanctions sufficient to deter future misconduct,” Judge Wright explained.But while the blood of trolls may indeed flow on Monday, in the last few days Prenda have been going on the offensive.Earlier this week FightCopyrightTrolls and DieTrollDie had a nasty surprise. Prenda decided to file three defamation lawsuits which according to FCT’s SophisticatedJaneDoe are “designed to chill free speech by burying [Prenda's] critics in massive legal fees.”Two of the targets in the lawsuit are people involved in the proceedings due to go ahead on Monday, but also listed were a total of 10 John Does. So who are these mysterious characters?Well, none other than the operators of DieTrollDie (DTD), FightCopyrightTrolls (FCT) and commenters on their sites. The beef? Seems Prenda don’t like criticism, or ‘defamation’ as they prefer to frame it.
The copyright trolls of Prenda Law have kicked back against a judge who ordered them to appear before a Los Angeles court this coming Monday. The hearing has the potential to lead to prison for some of those involved but not if Prenda have their way. In a letter sent to the court, Prenda argues several points for canceling the hearing including that the judge lacks jurisdiction, they haven’t been given enough notice, and arrangements haven’t been made for them to get paid. The hole is getting bigger but they keep on digging.trollAs reported yesterday the copyright trolls of Prenda Law been attempting to bully the owners and users of anti-troll sites FightCopyrightTrolls (FCT) and DieTrollDie (DTD).They ordered WordPress to hand over the IP addresses of everyone who has used both sites for the last two years. But, after a little panic, WordPress stepped in to calm the nerves.“No cause for concern. As a matter of policy, we closely review all subpoenas, don’t respond to overly broad requests, and push back on fishing expeditions,” WordPress’s Paul Sieminski told DTD.“Here – dietrolldie has already let us know that the subpoena will be challenged. In cases like this, we don’t turn over any information until the user’s legal challenge has played out.”What is becoming apparent is that for every heavy-handed and/or suspect action taken by Prenda, even more adversaries come on board. Lawyer John Whitaker from the Whitaker Law Group deliberately ‘outed‘ himself as a DTD and FCT user yesterday, and BitTorrent defense lawyer Robert Cashman is more critical than ever before.As yesterday’s article outlined, Monday will see Prenda hauled before a Los Angeles court on the orders of Judge Wright after he appeared to become somewhat tired of the firm’s apparent shenanigans.Well, that was the plan. Unsurprisingly, Prenda have other ideas.
In the last episode of the astonishing story of Prenda Law, a judge ordered the copyright trolls to appear in court Monday to face allegations of misconduct. At the last minute the law firm tried to squirm out of the hearing and true to their word failed to appear in court yesterday. The hearing went ahead without them and according to those present they now face the wrath of an angry judge, who at one point essentially referred to Prenda as liars.It’s been a long time coming but finally the highly questionable actions of copyright trolling company Prenda Law are being laid bare.The company has subjected hundreds of individuals to intense misery with their actions so it was no surprise that a few hours ago Twitter was alive with people eagerly waiting news of a Prenda bloodbath.Although there was no immediate execution, the crowds didn’t go home disappointed. Developments were relayed in detail by Ken at Popehat who described the Los Angeles courtroom as playing host to “one of the most remarkable hearings I have ever witnessed.”The subject of the hearing was Judge Wright’s Order to Show Cause, which gave former Prenda counsel Brett Gibbs opportunity to show why he and other members of the Prenda outfit should not be sanctioned for misconduct.Ken reported a packed courthouse with the press, Electronic Frontier Foundation and former Prenda victims all in attendance. Gibbs turned up too but John Steele, Paul Hansmeier, Paul Duffy and paralegal Angela Van Den Hemel of Prenda did not, despite being ordered to do so by the judge.Proceedings were started by Judge Wright who turned to a deposition submitted by Prenda’s Paul Hansmeier. “There was so much obstruction in this deposition that it’s obvious that someone has an awful lot to hide,” he said.