In light of the recent excellent news of the legal sanctions facing copyright troll Prenda Law, here are some things I wrote on the subject a couple months ago. Originally posted on Brontoforumus, 2013-03-07, 2013-03-12.
...so have you guys been paying attention to the Prenda Law case? Because it's pretty amazing.
Prenda Law is one of those copyright trolls that sends people threatening letters alleging that they've illegally downloaded porn. The idea is that people would rather pay a settlement than be a named defendant associated with downloading porn.
It's extortion. Which is bad, and was bound to catch up with Prenda sooner or later.
But that's actually the tip of the iceberg. Popehat has an exhaustive rundown, but the highlights are that Prenda Law is most likely run by people who own the rights to the porn videos in question and who have not disclosed that interest, and also they appear to have stolen a guy's identity and named him as their CEO. (He's suing them.) The lawyer who's been representing them in court appears to be distancing himself from the organization now and blaming his bosses for everything; the judge seems righteously pissed and has dropped the word "incarceration" into his list of potential sanctions.
A followup post indicates that the company's entire business strategy appears to be to buy up cheap rights to porn movies that are cheap because they're frequently pirated, and then pursue pirates, ostensibly to reduce piracy and increase the value of their investments.
I'm just astounded by the combination of stupidity and balls involved in this scam. I mean, at least people who run Ponzi schemes put some effort into appearing legitimate.
I understand the greed part. I just don't understand how they thought they could get away with it. Like I said earlier, if all they'd done was shake people down for blackmail money they could have gotten away with just having their business shut down; it's the layers of incompetent and half-assed fraud that are really breathtaking and liable to lead to disbarment and possible incarceration.
I am very much looking forward to seeing this organization dismembered and its corpse hung out as warning for all the other copyright trolls and would-be copyright trolls to see. Some prison time for the principals would be a bonus.
The bad news just keeps piling up for Prenda; now its owners/lawyers are facing potential disbarment and criminal investigations.