Law Firm Caught Red-Handed in Piracy Case
More than 1,000 Does were sued by AF Holdings over illegal downloads of their adult video. The suspicions were that AF Holdings was actually a front for Prenda Law, and that massive lawsuit was another case of commercial invoicing.After launching the lawsuit, the studio had asked the court to order ISPs to disclose the names and addresses of their users. The court agreed, but the Internet service providers decided to fight for their subscribers and appealed the decision. As a result, 4 of the lawyers associated with the case received penalties of up to $80.000, with the judge claiming that Prenda Law “outmaneuvered the legal system”. In addition, an investigation was started on the company’s principals. However, the most interesting part was the following.
One of the lawyers representing defendants in lawsuits wondered who uploaded those videos in the first place. It turned out that almost all of them came from an unknown user, serving as a base for Prenda’s copyright lawsuits. The tech-head who developed a BitTorrent monitoring device helped to find out who was that. The files all pointed to one person. It is suspected that he has strings, strings that belong to another user. The puppeteer turned out to be none other than Peter Hansmeier, brother of Paul Hansmeier, and the one who has been monitoring the P2P traffic and pin-pointed the infringement. Hansmeier and John Steele are actually the founders of Prenda Law.
It is also suspected that both mentioned users could be one and the same person. Indeed, proofs that the law firm was uploading the videos pile up, as the uploader shared the videos through The Pirate Bay, which stores its users’ IP addresses, and they appeared to be identical to those of John Steele. The lawyers announced that from all the evidence it can be concluded that John Steele or someone under his control or with access to his account was the most probable candidate for the uploader of the videos.
In response, John Steele denied all the accusations, claiming that he has categorically denied uploading a single torrent in his life. Steele assured that he also doesn’t know anybody who has ever used torrents. He concluded that if someone were to be found uploading the torrent that they owned, the legality of this move is unknown.
In the meanwhile, the industry experts say that the whole fiasco is clearly an eye-opener, and Prenda Law might get what it deserves in this case.