I've covered Prenda Law off and on here for quite some time; they're the sleazy "law firm"/copyright trolls who use the courts to get the names and addresses of people whom they allege have downloaded pornographic videos with embarrassing names, and whom they then threaten with public humiliation and a lawsuit unless the victims pay a quick cash settlement. One of the great mysteries about Prenda is who the firm actually is -- which individuals are behind it? In past, Prenda's representatives have claimed to be working for "Alan Cooper" -- a former caretaker for one of the Prenda reps who claims they have stolen his identity.
A recent deposition in the Northern District of California of
Morgan Prietz Paul Hansmeier -- another Prenda rep, apparently -- sheds no light on the mystery. Indeed, Hansmeier's deposition is a wonder of obfuscation, coyness, and mind-boggling protestations of ignorance that will baffle and delight you. Ken from Popehat has teased out the juciest bits:
In reviewing this deposition, bear Pietz' theories in mind. he alleges that (1) Prenda Law is secretly both lawyer and client — that its principals are behind the entities purportedly owning the copyrights it is suing upon, and that Prenda Law is concealing its lawyers' interest; (2) that Prenda Law has concealed who is actually running and directing its cases; (3) that Prenda Law is not actually vindicating copyrights of valuable properties, but is using copyright to extort defendants, and (4) that Prenda Law has defrauded courts with fabricated executives by, for instance, stealing the identity of "Alan Cooper" and using the identity as a fictitious client representative.
Consider those theories as you review the deposition. I could re-read it a dozen times and still discover more things about it. I will confine myself to some high points.
Deposition Reveals Prenda Law Business Model: Monetizing Squalid Douchebaggery
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