Prenda Spoofs Identity, Wants Bad Publicity Gone

Earlier today we reported on how the group collectively refereed to as ‘Prenda’ (despite having reformed under a plethora of other names, and Prenda wound down) were not only seeding the files they were suing over, but actually uploaded them to The Pirate Bay. But that wasn’t the only interesting thing in that filing.

There’s more in this cracking filing (Number 61 on the docket) though, including some more fun over the Alan Cooper business. For those that don’t know, Alan Cooper is the name of one of the principles in the case who has signed a lot of the copyright paperwork. It’s ALSO the name of John Steele’s former caretaker, who has sued over having his identity stolen, to which Prenda counter-sued

In the exhibits filed there are some nice audio snippets featuring conversations with GoDaddy. Included in there are some people claiming to be John Steele, and in one (PDF with embedded audio), the same voice is calling himself Alan Cooper.

Is it any wonder that Alan Cooper sued for fraudulent use of his name?

There’s also audio of Steele trying to fix his site when a javascript redirect sent visitors along to the Pirate Bay, sounding rather worried and being admonished that he needed to keep his sites software (mainly wordpress) up to date.

This filing comes hard on the heels of a motion by Prenda’s Craigslist-advertising Georgia counsel, Jacques Nazaire, the day before. In Nazaire’s motion, also heavy with exhibits, he shows upset at the discovery undertaken by the defense (some of which we’ve just talked about) as well as the public comments on the case, including comments by the two other people appearing before the judge that day – Defense attorney Blair Chintella, and his expert witness Andrew Norton (Disclosure, Mr Norton is TorrentFreak’s researcher and community manager, better known as K`Tetch).

Mr Nazaire included posts describing the July 2nd hearing, where discovery was granted, by those two, plus comments on Techdirt, popehat, and fightcopyrighttrolls (although in those last three, the article itself was not included), all as part of a request to put the case under seal, meaning nothing further in the case would be public. His reason was as follows.

Additionally, the Plaintiff is respectfully requesting that any future filings in this case may be filed under seal. This case has generated much unneeded attention on the internet. Please see Exhibits N-S. While the writers listed in exhibits N-S have the right to post these articles, unfortunately, these articles and blogs have created an embarrassment, misleading characterizations and perhaps an unsafe environment for plaintiff’s counsel and third parties. As such, plaintiff is respectfully requesting that all future filings be permitted to be made under seal.

The embarrassment is mainly due to an earlier filing in the case, where Mr Nazaire suggested that the court ignore Judge Wright’s Star Trek order, because states have different laws, just like California allows Gay marriage, and Georgia doesn’t. In the same filing, he also alluded to the EFF being terrorists, and how Mr Chintella was a member, presumably to sway the 83yo judge who sat on the FISA court in the 1980s. It didn’t work.

Likewise the unsafe environment argument was reportedly shot down at the hearing, when Mr Nazaire was asked why some of the contact details on the original complaint were not his, but those of Brett Gibbs, at that time Prenda’s local counsel in California. This is a big no-no under Federal rules, and the threatening behaviour Mr Nazaire was worried about? A single mocking email, he admitted to the court; we at TorrentFreak get trolled more by Piracy fans…

He has since doubled-down on these arguments as well, filing this morning that any sort of discourse or discussion (as required by law for certain things) is impossible, because

The telephone and live conversations will more than likely be taped and played on the internet. The confidential matters discussed via email will more than likely be posted as a publicity campaign on the internet.

It’s a reiteration of a claim made by Nazaire to the judge in the hearing – that of the poor bullied lawyer – and was dismissed by the judge at the time. Unfortunately it’s a technique they are too well associated with, having basically bullied thousands of defendants into paying settlements, or else have their names ‘posted as a publicity campaign on the Internet’.

While the evidence in so far is convincing, it’s by no means conclusive. Discovery won’t end until September 5th, so there’s bound to be more revelations. However, few can probably be as disturbing as the thought of a lawyer having on one hand, and on the other. Meanwhile a crowdfunding effort is in progress for depositions to be made of Mark Lutz, and others, to really get to the bottom of things.



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