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Judge hands copyright troll an epic smack-down

Prenda Law lashed by US court

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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 descriptions of Prenda Law's actions and the personnel involved in its cases.

Prenda Law's modus operandi was simple: file lawsuits en masse against individuals it accused of downloading copyrighted X-rated movies. Defendants had the choice of handing over money – typically a few thousand dollars – or be outed as the kind of person who would torrent porn.

The outfits it claimed to be representing as plaintiffs had already been identified as organisations that Prenda Law itself established, placing the outfit on both sides of the case. That ploy had already received unflattering attention from US District Court judge Otis Wright II of the Central District of California.

In Judge Wright's latest missive, practically every aspect of the operation is slammed, right from the start of the judgement (with a head-note quoting Spock's “needs of the many”):

“Plaintiffs have outmaneuvered the legal system. They’ve discovered the nexus of antiquated copyright laws, paralyzing social stigma, and unaffordable defense costs.”

At one point the judge accuses counsel Brett Gibbs of “a blatant lie” in giving evidence against one of Prenda's hapless defendants, and states that this was characteristic of Prenda Law:

“Gibbs’s statement is a blatant lie. His statement resembles other statements given by Plaintiffs in this and their other cases: statements that sound reasonable but lack truth.”

But wait, there's more:

“It is clear that the Principals’ enterprise relies on deception. Part of that ploy requires cooperation from the courts, which could only be achieved through deception.”

The court has ordered Prenda Law to pay more than $US80,000 towards defendants' legal fees, but there's even more:

“Third, though Plaintiffs boldly probe the outskirts of law, the only enterprise they resemble is RICO. The federal agency eleven decks up is familiar with their prime directive and will gladly refit them for their next voyage. The Court will refer this matter to the United States Attorney for the Central District of California.”

Among the US government agencies the Judge thinks should take a look at Prenda Law is the Internal Revenue Service. ®

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