For years, John Steele has been half of a criminal enterprise masquerading as a copyright law firms, "Prenda Law," whose owners, clients and employees were a mix of lies, impersonations, and crumbs of reality. In a guilty plea, John Steele admitted that the whole thing was a con, that they stole $6,000,000 from innocent internet users by threatening them with draconian copyright lawsuits, and then laundered the money.
Steele also implicated his business partner Paul Hansmeier, who is awaiting trial.
Steele and Hansmeier created pornographic movies, uploaded them to file-sharing sites, then spied on the downloads and abused copyright law to uncover the identity of the downloaders in order to send them copyright threats. They repeatedly lied to judges about what they were doing, and forged documents implicating people in their circle, from a hapless handyman to a housekeeper to Steele's own mother-in-law.
The saga of Prenda's trolling lasted for more than half a decade, during which thousands of people had their lives turned upside-down by these fraudsters.
Steele will be sentenced by US District Judge Joan Ericksen of the District of Minnesota. The sentencing hasn't been scheduled yet.
His alleged co-conspirator, Paul Hansmeier, was also arrested and charged at the same time as Steele. Hansmeier's case hasn't yet been resolved. Hansmeier lost his law license last year after legal regulators accused him of the same types of activity that the FBI and IRS have investigated.
It’s finally over: Mastermind behind Prenda Law porn trolls pleads guilty
[Joe Mullin/Ars Technica]
Abbott Labs makes a continuous glucose monitor -- used by people with diabetes to monitor their blood-sugar levels -- called (ironically, as you'll see below) the Freestyle Libre.
As pranksters target skeezy t-shirt sellers that mine Twitter for replies containing "I want that on a t-shirt" and then put the original Tweet on a t-shirt and shame online t-shirt sellers for underpolicing copyright, let's not lose sight of what happens when they overpolice copyright.
We love DJ Rijo's annual Merry Mixmas albums, and for the 18th consecutive year, the legendary mashup DJ has released an album-length mashup of Christmas rarities (MP3), just in time for your holiday parties!
This holiday season, give the delivery man a break. Who needs the extra cost and uncertainty of shipping anyway? Here are 10-holiday gifts that cut out the middleman and go straight to the nicest ones on your Christmas list. Winc Wine Delivery Okay, we might be cheating a little with this first one, but a […]
For some folks, writing notes by hand is just plain easier, but having to re-type them later can be a huge bore, not to mention time-sink. The guys from Rocketbook successfully merged the best parts of analog and digital note-taking with their Everlast notebook awhile back. And now, that tech just got a lot more […]
There are fast-paced card games, and some of them even require enough dexterity for a mini-workout (like Skip-Bo or Snap). But there’s nothing quite like the Mokuru® Card Game, which uses an already addictive fidget toy as the centerpiece for a cutthroat game of tabletop challenges. The game is named for the toy that gets […]