Last month, Paul Hansmeier was sentenced to 14 years in prison and ordered to pay $1.5m in restitution for the copyright trolling his firm, Prenda Law, engaged in: the firm used a mix of entrapment, blackmail, identity theft, intimidation and fraud to extort millions from its victims by threatening to drag them into court for alleged infringement of copyright in eye-watering pornography, thus forever associating their victims' name with lurid pornography in the public record.
This week, Hansmeier's accomplice, John Steele, was sentenced to 5 years in prison. Steele cooperated with authorities, while Hansmeier fought the system for longer before entering a plea. Like Hansmeier, Steele has to pay $1.5m in restitution. Both men have also been disbarred.
Hansmeier is appealing both the conviction and the sentence.
“Unlike co-defendant Hansmeier, Mr. Steele accepted responsibility for his actions and immediately began zealously and passionately cooperating with the Government,” the prosecution said previously.
“Even before the Government shared the evidence with the defense, Mr. Steele was in their office speaking to numerous law enforcement agents
and prosecutors about everything he did. He never lied and never minimized his actions.”
According to the US Department of Justice, Steele deserved a significant prison term. However, his cooperation and genuine remorse should be taken into account.
Cooperative ‘Copyright Troll’ Lawyer Sentenced to Five Years in Prison [Ernesto/Torrentfreak]
In 2016, EFF sued the US Government on behalf of Andrew "bunnie" Huang and Matthew Green, both of whom wanted to engage in normal technological activities (auditing digital security, editing videos, etc) that put at risk from Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
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